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4 Ways to Pray Without Ceasing

4 ways to pray without ceasing

In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, St. Paul exhorts us to “Pray without ceasing.” Upon first read, that is a TALL ORDER! How in the world can we pray ALL the time? Don’t you feel as though you struggle to work in any prayer at all sometimes? You’re not alone!

After a year of being a full member of the Catholic church, I’ve put much thought to this call and I’ve got some ideas for you to meet this challenge… some of my own and some gratefully learned from others.

1) Offer it up – As a new Catholic I heard “offer it up” a lot early on without really understand what it meant. Essentially it means to offer any work or suffering or good deeds to Jesus — OR to Jesus through Mary — that it may benefit another in accordance with God’s Will. Just Friday, I found in the Bible a great explanation of this, or what’s similarly called “redemptive suffering,” that I wanted to share:

“For whenever anyone bears the pain of unjust suffering because of consciousness of God, that is a grace…For this to you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps.” — 1 Peter 2: 19-21.

While this verse addresses suffering specifically, you can also offer to God EVERYTHING you do for his glory. In this way, you are praying continually because everything is literally an act for God and you make your ENTIRE life a prayer before God.

2) Ask the saints to pray for you – While it is pretty much impossible for humans to always be moving our lips or even thinking prayer, because of all the other activities we have to do to in order to live, it’s NOT impossible for the saints in heaven standing before God. Get to know some of the saints and find a few to whom you feel called. Pray to them every day and ask that they pray for you continually before the throne of God.

3) Listen to Christian music – While it’s not technically praying without ceasing, listening to Christian music while working or driving can significantly increase the time your thoughts are directed to God and the Cross of Jesus Christ. Instead of singing the often horrifying lyrics of the latest pop song, enjoy contemporary Christian, or gospel or whatever floats your boat and sing about the glory of God whenever you have a chance. As St. Augustine said, “He who sings prays twice.” Read more about making the switch to Christian radio.

4) Pray throughout the day – Instead of devoting an hour in the morning to prayer, spread your prayer time throughout the day. Not only does it make it less daunting to give up this hour (or more!) to God, but it helps you pray continually and brings your thoughts back to God all throughout the day. For example, I often pray my rosary decade by decade. I may start in the morning when I wake, say a decade when taking the dog for a walk, say another while driving in the car, say a fourth at mass and say a fifth in the shower before bed. Some prefer to pray their rosary all at once, but I find this helps make sure I work in a rosary every day and reminds me where my focus should be all throughout the day. Another good practice to develop a routine of daily prayer is the Liturgy of the Hours, which you can pray at 6 a.m., 9 a.m., Noon, 3 p.m., 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.

What ways do you pray without ceasing? I’d love to hear more ideas!

Making the Switch to Christian Radio

Christian Radio

Even just six short months ago, I would have seen the title to this blog and probably run screaming :). I distinctly remember laughing and rolling my eyes about a ride in the car with someone who listened to “Jesus music” even after I had begun my entrance into the Catholic church. My how we should never say never! I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had to eat my words and ended up doing things I never could have imagined.

So what caused me to take an interest in Christian music? A book I was reading, “Ordinary Lives, Extraordinary Mission,” a guide to becoming the saint you were meant to be, introduced the idea of being aware of what we surround ourselves with. What TV shows do we watch? What music do we listen to? Who are our friends? All of these choices can help us or harm us. The author, John Wood, shared how he switched to Christian radio, specifically K-LOVE, which is available in most major markets, for his family. That stuck in my mind for some reason because it was such a specific suggestion.

Doesn’t every one feel like if they hear the same song on the radio ONE more time, they just can’t stand it? I was having moments like that where I was sick of all the overplayed songs and ready for something new. Plus, I was becoming more aware of some of the lyrics and how I did not want my young boys to hear inappropriate language and innuendos, which are so common in Top 40 music.

I’d already started listening to Catholic Radio (talk radio), but I found that playing it with my boys in the car was sometimes challenging. Abortion is mentioned quite often, and it’s not a topic I’ve figured out how to address with them yet. Sometimes the conversations even get graphic and I just don’t want them exposed to that. Plus, they find it quite boring 🙂 and I’d rather they have something pleasant to fill their ears and make them happy.

SO, I thought… maybe I’ll give this K-LOVE a try… I scanned the radio and found what I thought was it and decided just to listen to the music for a bit and see what I thought. I’d listen for 5-10 minutes here and 5-10 minutes there until I started to get to know the songs. I found I REALLY liked them. It didn’t take me more than a week or two before I knew enough of the songs that it felt familiar and comfortable. Well, I’ve never really turned it off, except to switch back and forth to Catholic Radio.

The songs and the conversations are so uplifting and inspiring and truly give you a boost if you’re having a challenging morning. When you listen to the lyrics, just like when reading scripture or Catholic books, you’ll find messages that you need to hear RIGHT THEN. Plus, there are NO commercials, which is so lovely. Occasionally, I will switch over to Radio Disney, because I feel like they are the least likely to have offensive lyrics, but I’m still hearing the songs I was sick of several months ago and switch back pretty quickly.

I never even mentioned this switch to my kids and they’ve never made any comment or acted like they noticed. Suddenly their lives are just filled with positive songs, and a couple of times, they’ve even said “I like this song!”

Here are my tips for making the switch:

1) Just try it.

2) Promise yourself to listen just for 5 minutes a day for the next week.

3) At the end of the week, if you haven’t found a song or two you like, I’ll be very surprised! The music is really good and reminds me of singer-songwriter type music, which is very soulful, pure and lets the singer’s voice truly shine.

Take the Christian Radio challenge and tweet about it using hashtag: #SwitchtoChristianRadio. I can’t wait to hear what you think! Anyone else made the switch? How has it changed your life?

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