I wish I could say that I said prayers with my children every morning, prayed the rosary with them every day, and remembered nightly prayers at bedtime. I know I should have this routine, but time passes and before I know it each day, breakfast is served and cleared (okay, well not always cleared) school work has begun, boo-boos have been kissed, dogs have been cared for, and various millions of other things have distracted me (usually on the internet); and then with a twinge, I realize as I am putting away the lunch left-overs that it’s too late to say morning prayers.
So I vow to say the rosary that afternoon, but by bedtime, having broken up the last fight and threatened to give away all the toys yet again, I order the kids to bed and forget all about the routine I intended to instill. As I say my prayers alone at night, I am aware I failed, and promise to try harder the next day.
We are not totally without routine though. We all say meal blessings, and it’s so habitual now that the kids even repeat it before dessert. The other day one of the girls came late to dinner because she had fallen asleep on the sofa. I was soon praising her for her diligence because she sat down, rubbed her eyes, and dutifully began saying her blessing quietly alone.
“Good job! That is exactly what you should do. Never forget to pray. Do you know why? Because prayer is the secret to life. You’ll be lost if you ever stop praying.” And I thought, yes, that’s it. Prayer is not just repeating words, it is opening yourself up to communion with God. Without prayer, life does not make sense.
Likewise, my whole day is a prayer too, a constant trying to follow God’s will, even if I fail and try again. I have learned to recognize the temptation not to pray as a thing of Satan. Demons are the ones who whisper that laundry matters more, that other things will not get done if I take time to pray, and I’ve also learned to push aside those thoughts from the Evil One with a quick Our Father, a constant mindfulness. Perhaps someday soon I’ll be praying morning, noon, and night just as routinely as I wish I were now because at least I’m taking my own advice. I know prayer is the secret to life, and I’ll never stop trying harder to be closer to God.