Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Prayer: What's Your Percentage?

By Danielle Hetzel
Brass percent
Photo courtesy of the user Leo Reynolds on Flickr.
As part of my celebration of the Year of Faith, I identified November as a month to concentrate on prayer.  I have ideas for other months, but I knew that I had to start with a strong foundation, and nothing is as strong as prayer.

As part of that, I started looking for a Catholic podcast for me to listen to on my commute.  I already listen to some about world news, science, and other things, but I figured this would be a good addition.  After doing some searching, I decided to give Discerning Hearts a try.

There is a lot of good stuff there, but one podcast really stood out in particular.  Mark Hart speaks on the First Commandment.  Beyond just defining the commandment, he talks about really living it in what you do everyday.  He tells us to break down your day into percentages and draw a pie chart.  How much of your day is spent in prayer?

Prayer Candles
Photo courtesy of the user Ame Otoko on Flickr.
I tried doing this, and it was difficult.  Writing it down with your own hand really helps you see how much better you could be doing.  And prayer does not have to mean that you have to stop everything else you are doing.  For example, I listen to the rosary on my drive to work every morning.  Maybe you could do something like that while you do dishes, run, or walk to the Metro.

It can go deeper than that, as well.  I can't always be praying a rosary while I am leading a meeting at work.  But I can still do my work as a prayer.  In fact, I can do everything as a prayer.  I can dedicate everything I do that day to God.  I have found that if I do this, I am more likely to live a Christian life.  If I consciously tell myself that my activities are for the Lord, then I am more motivated to live well.

The catechism has a prayer in it that speaks to this as well:
My Lord and my God, take from me everything that distances me from you.
My Lord and my God, give me everything that brings me closer to you.
My Lord and my God, detach me from myself to give my all to you. (CCC 226)
Give my all to you.  Giving your all should be reflected in your percentage.  I have a long way to go, but I hope that my prayer will help.
Lord, today I dedicate __________ to you.
Maybe that's my work, my sleep, my commute, my love for my family.  In the end, it should be all of the above.

Danielle is a parishioner at Blessed Sacrament who previously wrote on her son's Baptism for the blog.

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