A student gave me a key chain bearing these words. It was so apropos to the situation in which I found myself at the time, that it made me chuckle. My husband had been unemployed for months. I felt that I was praying continuously, and that my prayers were without effect. Given the circumstances, I certainly did not feel like rejoicing! I have learned that God often uses other people and even things to communicate with us. The key chain was a reminder to me that God was indeed present in my family’s struggles, and that He was challenging me through His Word (1 Thessalonians 5:17) to trust in Him and to remain faithful in prayer, as He is faithful to those who love Him.
So how do we pray continually? There are so many tasks and people who need our attention throughout the day, that it is certainly impossible to remain on one’s knees. Our Heavenly Father wants to walk this journey called “life” with us. He wants us never to feel alone or abandoned. The only way that He can do that is if we invite Him to travel with us. We must constantly remind ourselves of His presence – especially when things are most hectic.
I find it quite helpful to attach prayer to certain routine activities that I perform each day. When my children and I get into the car, before the sun has risen, we immediately say the morning offering. We offer our “prayers, works, joys and sufferings” of the day for the intentions of Jesus’ Sacred Heart. Then we say the guardian angel prayer for safe travel. When I began doing this a couple of years ago, I did so silently – solo. A voice inside urged me to say the prayers aloud. At first, my children thought that I was unstable! Before I knew it, they were joining in. Now, if I ever forget our car prayers, the kids remind me!
As I go through my day, I try to remain conscious of the beauty of God’s creation. Whenever I see a colorful bird, an unusual cloud formation, or a tree swaying in the breeze, I thank God. When I do laundry, I pray a silent prayer, “Lord I’m washing my family’s clothes, please keep their souls clean.” When I have a stack of papers to grade, or chores that I don’t particularly like, I “offer it up.” Headaches, arthritis, achy joints are all excellent opportunities to “pray always.” I find that saying the rosary with Mother Angelica before going to bed is great way to end the day. This meditative, rhythmic prayer has a calming effect on the soul and body. In fact some nights, I fall asleep before finishing it.
Everything we do can be used as a prayer – for our loved ones, for the conversion of souls, for the Holy Souls in purgatory. The simple acts of offering all that we do to God and making an effort to remind ourselves of His constant presence throughout the day sanctifies our labor and allows us to pray without ceasing.