My morning prayer is one of the best parts of the day. The house is quiet.I set my cell phone to the side. The television, radio, and music are all off. I read the bible and pray, and I do my best to focus on God. I look forward to this time. I enjoy it. I miss it if I can’t do it.
If that time is all it is, though, that’s not enough. I hope that time of prayer will lead me into a spirit of prayer through the day. My focusing on God’s presence then should help me focus on God’s presence throughout the day. It’s similar to musicians practicing scales. The point of their practice is not only to be good at scales but that their practice at these basic building blocks of sound will affect their whole playing of music. Prayer is that way too; it’s a practice of the presence of God that will lead us into a more significant experience of God’s presence in all of living.
Brother Lawrence, in his second letter, makes a significant statement: “I have quitted all forms of devotion and set prayers but those to which my state obliges me.” As part of his monastic routine there are set times of prayer, but he says he has quit praying at other times. Instead, Lawrence says, he hopes to cultivate an all-the-time experience of prayer. His focus is a “habitual, silent, and secret conversation of the soul with God” which happens not only in times of focused prayer but throughout the day.
I hope you have, like me, a time of prayer each day, and I hope it’s the treasured gift for you that it is for me. I hope, too, that prayer doesn’t end with an “amen” but leads you into a prayer that never ends.
"In drawing up its regulations, we hope to set down nothing harsh, nothing burdensome." - Rule of St. Benedict