Uh, How Do You Pray?

prayer, discernment

I didn’t have a clue how to pray. Seriously, for forty-three years of my life, my prayer was a one-way “asking train” to God. From my youth to my adult personal life and throughout my Executive Career, I just kept asking God for things I wanted and desired. I never asked God for what He wanted for me or what I should desire for myself or for others.

You may know, I “stumbled” into my faith late in my life but when I did fall I fell hard. I fell flat on my face in confession after 26 years of being away and things rapidly changed for me both spiritually and emotionally. It didn’t happen overnight but I dug deep into prayer then I learned about Adoration.

But the LORD is in his holy temple; silence before him, all the earth! (Habakkuk 2:20)

Soon I was meeting with a Spiritual Director for further guidance as I was discerning so much and my life was truly turning upside down from what it was.

Learning How to Pray

But the Holy Spirit was in action quickly and I was very open to Him working in me – it was a fairly quick process for me to learn how to quiet myself and to hear, feel and rest in God. I can feel the liquid love of His peace in quiet, in His presence, in prayer.

Everyone knows this, but it is important to remember that your relationship with God is your very own unique one. Your relationship with God is yours and His timing is always best.

The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth (Psalm 145:18)

So, try not to compare your spiritual experiences, graces, prayer life or holiness to anyone else. Just try more and more to deepen your own relationship with God and bring the light of your love to others around you here on this earth.

Let’s not forget, Jesus was our model of how to act and how to pray. And I am pretty sure His prayer was much more intense as it is mentioned in the Bible the way Jesus prays when he is trying to discern who will be His twelve Apostles. Jesus knows, especially for big decisions, He needs to console with the Father and in this case, he prayed all night long with His Father. Now that is some dedicated time in prayer!

In those days he departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God.When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve (Luke 6:12,13)

Peace and Quiet? What is that?

I hated silence – it was deafening – my ears would actually have a slight ring in them when it sneaked up on me. It was almost piercing. That is probably because I never really heard silence much. When I would walk in the house or get in the car or even go on a walk, I would have the TV, radio or earbuds in my ears piping something into my head.

So, when it was time for me to experience Adoration, it was a powerful moment. When I opened the door to the chapel, there were five rows of pews on each side of the Blessed Sacrament (Jesus – beautifully displayed in this amazing Golden sun ray called a monstrance) and you could feel the holiness in the room. The silence was not deafening this time, it was soothing. But admittedly it was also very strange. I had never been in an Adoration Chapel, what do you do here?

I scanned the room. Some people were looking at Jesus in the monstrance, others were praying the rosary, others were reading Bibles or other spiritual books some were writing in their prayer journals. I just walked in, knelt briefly, signed myself and knelt down on the kneeler and looked at Him.

While it was calming, it was also hard to keep my mind silent. I found it a struggle to sit there for more than 10 minutes. At that time in my life, 10 minutes felt like 10 hours. So, I left, vowing to do it again and again so I could focus on Jesus right there in front of me.

You Only Need 15-Minutes!

People think you need many hours a day to build a relationship with God. Not true! All you need is 15 minutes but you need to make that time focused and consistent. Of course, you will be paying attention to God throughout the day. However, you only need 15 minutes to root it and focus your day around God.

If you have more time that’s great but fifteen minutes is really the minimum. Let’s remember what the goal is here, it is to deepen your relationship with God. The One who can help you with everything in your life. So, think this one over.

When he broke open the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. (Revelation 8:1)

When people ask me how much time to devote to silent prayer, somehow this verse comes to mind, even though I push everyone (including myself) for a full hour: “If a half hour is good enough for heaven, it should be good for us, but maybe two times a week or one full hour at once, at a minimum.”

I feel if you are truly looking to deepen your relationship with God you know that it takes some time to that. Relationships take time – a person, a child, a dog, a pet, a plant – it takes time to get to know each other, how we tick, what we can do to minimize the bad and maximize the good. We learn we grow. We screw up, we ask for forgiveness and we try harder to be better. That’s how it works and hopefully, you will begin to look forward to the time spent with God.

A couple of years ago I was traveling the globe with business dinners at night and breakfast meetings, conferences, etc – it seemed all day long was jammed. I know first hand how difficult it is to juggle the demands of personal and professional life and I know some of you are probably thinking, “I can barely find time to sleep, how do I find time for God? Next thing you know you will want me to go to Mass!”

SQUIRREL Distractions

I wonder if I was tested by a doctor if I would be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder? I really do struggle with focus and completing tasks. I can start a bunch of things, but finishing them, well…

It was a pretty long practice to learn how to quiet my mind (or stay awake if I quiet it too much). When I took on this new prayer life in Adoration, I used to spend my time reading and praying the rosary in the beginning. It wasn’t until the past couple of years where I just wanted to sit and stare at Him. Not to “fill my mind” with other things, but to open my mind, instead, to hear and feel Him in my body and heart in the peace.

I am not so good at making time for Adoration, but when I do, it is always well worth the hour I spend. The day is seemingly so much more focused, productive and purposeful. I almost feel as if He gifts me with sanity and great days when I give to Him my time. And I realize how foolish I am when I think my time is better spent “working” or “doing” things. I must always remind myself, “I can do nothing without God.”

Some tips for calming the squirrel syndrome in silent prayer:

  1. Begin with Prayer, “Come Holy Spirit, Come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well-beloved spouse” Jesus – please fill me with your Spirit so this time together bears fruit that will last
  2. Bring in a notebook or prayer book and pen. Dedicate a few pages to jot down your “to-do’s” so you can write them down and quickly go back and focus on God, repeat #1 as often as needed and ask for a focus of your mind.
  3. Relax the body with some breathing. No, this is not new-age stuff. This is just a way to relax the area most of us carry stress, our shoulders. Breathe in as deep as you can – hold it for a few seconds and then breathe out of your pursed lips while lowering and stretching your shoulders down and your neck/head the opposite direction. Do this as many times as it takes for you to physically feel more relaxed. Then focus on God in front of you wanting your heart, body and mind.
  4. Have an intention to offer to Jesus – be it a prayer for yourself or for others – having the time in prayer dedicated to an intention gives more meaning to the time (do this in Mass as well).
How Prayer Transformed My Life 

My relationship with God has transformed so many aspects of my life. My passion is to share how amazing life is when you live it with God. I learned that prayer is a daily commitment and I went through many different stages of communicating with God. Everyone has peaks and valleys in their relationship with God and we all must surrender and pick up our cross daily to walk with Him in this life.

At the beginning of my prayer life, I became overwhelmed with what I was trying to complete each morning. The emails first thing, prayers and lists at this time I wasn’t even keeping a journal, how could I keep up with this pace? It was not sustainable with work, family and more kept coming my way, I was drowning, but I still wanted to be close to God.

I want you to have an amazing relationship with God – a love affair that will grow stronger! I want you to turn to him and become more trusting, more humble, more of a witness, acting more like Him, giving Him more reverence, becoming more holy, sacrificing more, praying more, giving Him more of you so He can give you more of Him – more, more, more. Yes, Find Something More – in God! Have a Blessed and Inspired Day!

If you have 15 minutes it would be awesome to get your opinion on my Relevant Radio interview, the FREE downloads and I would love to hear any question about my video prayer program, too! https://kendravonesh.com/rr-transformational-prayer

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1 thought on “Uh, How Do You Pray?”

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