By Mariah Schultz
Happy summer, y’all! Here in Duluth, it’s starting to get warm out, and the sunshine is begging to be soaked up. If you’re like me, when school ends, your schedule kind of goes flying out the window and your brain feels like: “WOOHOO! SUMMERTIME!” So, if you’re with me on this, then you know how difficult it can be to build a new routine or even to keep an old one. And that probably means that any prayer you do in a regular day kind of also flies out the window. But we don’t need to be discouraged in that! Just because something is difficult doesn’t make it impossible. (Maybe you’re thinking, “Duh, Mariah…” but stick with me here.)
Summer is a great time to start praying or to deepen the prayer life you already have, even with an unpredictable schedule. I want to encourage you to pray every day this summer. One of the most important things about prayer I can tell you is that if you’re praying, it’s because the Lord called you first. Prayer is more like answering the phone than picking it up and dialing. “You did not choose me but I chose you,” (John 15:16). God calls you because of the great and intentional love He has for you.
Make time in your everyday life to pray — build a game plan. If you know you’re a morning person, then plan prayer into your morning; if you know that you’re a person who concentrates better in the evening, plan it for the evening. The key word here is “plan.” I know that if I put something into my calendar, I’m much more likely to do whatever that thing is (prayer, going for a walk, eating ice cream… you know, the regular stuff).
I’ve compiled a small list of simple ways you can pray this summer. Don’t feel obligated to do them all or to think that you need to spend a massive amount of time in prayer. As my grandma once told my aunt, feel free to “pray what you know.” But don’t be afraid to try ways of praying that are new to you.
- Roses, thorns, God moments… and acorns. Prayer can be as simple as taking ten minutes at the end of each day to write down a few things: one moment that was particularly good (a rose); one moment that was particularly difficult (a thorn); and one moment when you experienced God (a God Moment); and if you’re me, you might just add in your awkward moment of the day (the women I’m in Bible Study with at college like to call these “acorns”). Honestly, the acorn is a way to get a good giggle out of your day and to find some humility, too.
- Before you fall asleep, simply talk to Jesus about your day. If you invite Him, He will sit with you and listen. He loves hearing your voice. Sometimes, when I’m lying in bed right before I fall asleep, I like to ask Jesus to sit with me. I imagine Him sitting on the edge of my bed, or in my grandpa’s armchair in the corner, listening to me talk about my day. Those are some of the most peaceful moments of prayer Jesus and I have together.
- Pray a decade of the rosary. Our blessed Mother wants to lead us closer to her Son, so let her help you! She is gentle and kind, and she always desires for us to know Christ more fully.
- Pray Lectio Divina. If you’ve never prayed like this, it might sound intimidating, but it’s just meditating on Scripture. As Catholics, we’re blessed to have daily Gospel readings that make it really simple to always have something from the Bible to pray with. Here’s a link to a page I like to use when I’m praying Lectio: https://focusoncampus.org/content/do-the-lectio-3-step-an-easy-illustrated-guide-to-praying-lectio-divina
Before you go and start your summer, pick up these words of encouragement:
1) If you miss a day, start again on the next day!
1.5) To avoid missing a day, make a plan in advance.
2) Find your favorite places to pray! (Sometimes your bed isn’t the best option — falling asleep in the middle of prayer every day might become an issue.)
3) Ask someone to go to the nearest Catholic church with you to pray. Being in the true presence of Jesus Himself can be powerful.
4) Your prayer might not feel super powerful, but trust that it is. The Lord will use your prayer and bless the time you spend with Him.
That’s all I have for now!
Catch you on the flippity-flop, my friends. Know of my prayers for y’all.
St. Thérèse of Lisieux and Pope St. John Paul the Great, pray for us!