Finding Pockets of Time to Pray
Maria Riley describes how she has learned to turn tiny pockets of time over to God.
When I run into other moms at church, in the neighborhood, or the grocery store, I find that I am having the same conversation over and over. I say, “Hi! How are you?” and she replies, “Busy!”
She then delves into her litany of appointments and tasks that fill her schedule, and I reply in kind by agreeing and sharing my own over-scheduled obligations. We end our rushed conversation and run off to get something else done. Sometimes there are things in our lives that we need to purge. It may not always be easy to remove it from our life, but oftentimes we are aware of the things that consume our time and give us nothing in return.
I find in my life those things are typically self-centered, and when I choose to live the way Christ wants me to, I am given the strength to remove those things which take up too much of my life.
As mothers, though, so much of our life is spent in service to others. We are chefs, nurses, house cleaners, and chauffeurs, not to mention boo-boo kissers, storytellers, snuggle buddies, and disciplinarians. Then our mother-in-law comes to visit, and we must be the perfect hostesses. The list goes on indefinitely, but the hours in the day do not.
How do we find time for Christ when we are pulled in so many different directions? It is especially difficult when these many different directions are for good things for our families. I have found myself wishing for the seemingly simple life of a nun from time to time, especially when I am craving time and intimacy with our Lord but finding the demands of my vocation of motherhood to be standing in my way. But then I remember the beautiful gift of my calling, and I have worked to grow in my relationship with Christ within the demands of my schedule.
I rarely have large blocks of time, but I am gifted with what I call "pockets of time" regularly throughout the day.
I have five minutes here or there, often while I am waiting for something, that I used to spend scrolling on my phone or otherwise distracting myself. Now, I try to be purposeful with these pockets of time and turn to God in prayer, even if I don’t have time to read the daily readings or journal in my bible study workbook.
I used to get stuck in my growth toward Jesus because if I didn’t have 20 or 30 minutes to sit down, read, pray, and reflect, I wouldn’t do anything at all. Then by the end of the day I would feel like a failure because my spiritual time was just something else that I didn’t get done today (along with a shower or getting that laundry from a week ago folded). Somewhere along the way I realized that God never gave me a set of expectations for how and when I have to pray. That came from my own unrealistic expectations, compounded by comparing myself to other women who seem to have it all together in their faith journeys.
- Now, instead of dedicating 20 to 30 minutes to God in the morning, I turn to Him for a minute or two 20 to 30 times per day.
- Before I get out of bed in the morning, I say hello and offer my day to the Lord and ask Him to show me his will.
- When I begin a household chore, I offer it for someone in need.
- I pray for a moment before I start a workout, thanking God for the gift of my body, the temple which houses my soul and the Holy Spirit.
- I have learned that just a few moments are all it takes to recenter my day and draw closer to Christ.
The best part about approaching my prayer life in this way is how my spirituality has deepened and grown. Previously, once I had completed my morning prayer time and reflection, I would check the “Time for God” box and then go on with my day. Now, by regularly recentering myself and refocusing on God many times throughout the day, I am able to let him work in me and through me all day long. It is such a gift that God has helped transform my life so that my entire day has become a prayer.
Copyright 2022 Maria Riley
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About Maria Riley
Maria Riley is a passionate Catholic writer and editor who loves volunteering when she’s not writing or mom-ing. Maria is the author of a new Catholic children’s chapter book series: Adventures with the Saints (releasing Fall 2022). Visit her at MariaRileyAuthor.com or on social media @mariarileyauthor.