A Guide to Prayer for the Busy Young Professional

This week we recognize the importance of prayer in the various seasons of life.

By: Kate Bryan, Guest Contributor

“How to pray? This is a simple matter. I would say: Pray any way you like, so long as you do pray.” — Pope Saint John Paul II

We’re busy all of the time! At least that’s how it feels, living in and around Washington, D.C. There’s always a happy hour to go to, a Theology on Tap, a dinner, a coffee date — not to mention keeping up with our family, friends and simply doing our job. Life is busy.

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So, when do we pray?

Prayer is often the easiest thing to let go of when you’re busy. I’ve definitely found that in my life, and I know that it’s something that many young professionals struggle with. We’re still trying to get used to having a full-time job, while juggling everything else in our life — including friends, relationships, family, hobbies and fun.

How do we do it all? Can we do it all? And how do we do it — and still find time to pray?

Our lives are busy — that’s for sure. But there are other things — less important things — that are also keeping us busy. We’re constantly distracted by our smartphones and social media. It’s easy to continuously check your Facebook on your phone or be at your friend’s beck and call to check their Snapchat.

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It’s funny how we always find time to check social media, but can often go through the whole day without taking a moment to pray.

So, how do we as busy young professionals, change that?

A friend once gave me the advice: “If you haven’t decided by noon when you’re going to pray that day, you probably won’t pray at all.”

Saint Ignatius of Loyola said,

“We must speak to God as a friend speaks to his friend, servant to his master; now asking some favor, now acknowledging our faults, and communicating to Him all that concerns us, our thoughts, our fears, our projects, our desires, and in all things seeking His counsel.”

If we think of God as our friend, who is always with us — and I repeat, He is ALWAYS with us — we can talk to Him anytime and all day long.

Our prayer time doesn’t need to be anything profound — it just needs to be something. Making time for God is important, but even on our busiest days we can find little moments to talk to Him — in the shower, in our car on our way to work, or on our walk to a happy hour after work.

The ideal is to set aside specific time for prayer. We should strive to get up earlier to make time for prayer in the morning, go to daily Mass (even if it’s just once or twice during the week), and spend time in front of the Blessed Sacrament every now and then. But there are also days or weeks where we’re so busy that it’s nearly impossible to make it to daily Mass or adoration. On those days or during those weeks, we should make an effort to give God the time we can find throughout each day.

The little moments in prayer are just as important as the big moments. And God often speaks to us most clearly when we find a few seconds during our most chaotic days. I’ve found that some of my best prayer time has actually been in those little moments. And, it’s in those little moments that God can speak to us most clearly and concisely. So, make time for Him during those days and listen to Him to speak to you.

Saint Teresa of Avila said,

“Much more is accomplished by a single word of the Our Father said, now and then, from our heart, than by the whole prayer repeated many times in haste and without attention.”

Much more is accomplished by a SINGLE word. What a beautiful quote and what an important thing to remember.

Even though life is busy and you forget to pray or feel like you don’t have time — give God every moment you have, no matter how long or short. God is working in your life and He wants to speak to you.

As Saint Benedict reminds us,

“Prayer ought to be short and pure, unless it be prolonged by the inspiration of Divine grace.”

So, give God your time… every moment matters.

Kate Bryan is the Director of Communications for the American Principles Project, and writes broadly on issues related to life, marriage, and culture.  She is a parishioner at St. Charles Borromeo Parish.

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