Pray Without Ceasing: Inviting Jesus Into Your Daily Routine
“Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
I once had a spiritual director tell me she was surprised that I found so much time to pray as a working mother of three small children. I initially thought she was throwing subtle shade at my parenting — did she mean I should be spending less time with my devotionals and more time doing crafts with my kids? (Of course, that’s not what she meant.)
Upon reflection, I realized that it was precisely because I was a working mother of three small children that I found so much time to pray. Intercessory prayer is a source of profound joy for me, and with practice and reliance on the Holy Spirit, I’ve come to look forward to being stuck in traffic or sitting up with a toddler who refuses to nap, because hey! I get some time all to myself with the Creator of the Universe to chat about ... whatever.
Based on my experience as a busy working mom, here are a few resources and techniques that can help you pray throughout the day, no matter what’s going on.
Liturgy of the Hours
Whenever possible, during the week, I try to wake up early to do the Office of the Readings and the Morning Prayer on my phone. If you have time to lay in bed and scroll through social media, you have time to pray along with the Psalms. If the Psalms on a given day or time don’t speak to you personally, I bet you can think of someone they apply to, and you can offer the Psalms for them.
Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet
Because I usually forget to bring my rosary with me as I head out the door, I often end up praying my rosary or Divine Mercy chaplet silently on my fingers while I drive my kids to school or run errands. Don’t have all the rosary prayers and mysteries memorized? There are apps and podcasts that can help you. Praying along with recordings also makes it easy to hit “pause” when the kids start arguing in the back seat.
There are quite a few great ministries that will email daily devotionals based on the day’s Mass readings. Take a quick break to dive into scripture while you check your email.
This simple prayer is literally as easy as breathing. On your inhale, pray, “Lord Jesus Christ, son of the living God” On the exhale: “Have mercy on me, a sinner.”
If you’re already practicing intermittent fasting for health reasons, offer it up for a person or an intention. Even if you’re not already fasting, it can be as simple as skipping a treat, or an extra cup of coffee, and offering up a quick meditation on Christ’s suffering instead. Or, you can bring back that Lent staple: no-meat Fridays. Denying yourself that stray piece of pepperoni at the bottom of the pizza box may not be a huge sacrifice, but if you do it with intention, it’s all helping to build the Kingdom.
Offering It Up
This one is a favorite of my Irish-Catholic grandmother. Annoying co-worker, pointless meeting, abstaining from gossip ... offer it all up for the souls in Purgatory (or the current election cycle. Or a favorite intention. You get the idea).
St. Paul tells us, “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” Prayer doesn’t always have to look like lighting candles and sitting down alone with your Bible while you listen to Gregorian chant, although that’s great, too. Pretty much anything can be turned into prayer if you do it on purpose.
Maggie Phillips is a freelance writer and military spouse with three small children and an incredibly patient husband. Follow her work at mrsmaggiephillips.com and on Instagram at @maggies_words.