Prayer is like exercise. The more you do it, the better you get at it, the more it benefits you, and the more you want to do it. As anyone who has ever tried to get in shape can tell you, starting to exercise or getting back into it after a lapse is very hard to do. It’s the same way with prayer.
Prayer exercises spiritual muscles. The better those “muscles” perform, the stronger your spirit is, and the more intimate your contact with God and divine power becomes. So how does one begin to have a prayer life—being to “exercise”—if they’ve never done it before, or if they’ve lapsed and haven’t prayed in a long time? Here are four tips that may help.
Step 1: Remember that Jesus calls us “friends.”
“I no longer call you servants…I call you friends” -John 15:5
God is your friend. A friend won’t berate you for a long absence but will celebrate your resurfacing from out of nowhere. Neither will God. Have confidence in that. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to return to God after a long lapse or when you are just starting your relationship with him in prayer.
Step 2: God is a person, not a mystical cloud or space dust.
Talk to him plainly like you would talk to any other person. He is listening. Don’t worry about being eloquent or sounding sophisticated. Just talk to him. Tell him what’s on your mind and what’s in your heart.
Step 3: Start simple but try to be consistent and persistent.
Prayer is a habit and a skill. When the spiritual muscles have atrophied and become weak, it takes time to strengthen them. It happens by effort, not by magic. Start simple. Challenge yourself a little, but don’t stress or make it difficult. And don’t be discouraged if the weakness of your spiritual muscles (at first) makes your prayer seem difficult or clumsy. Just stick with it. Prayer warriors are built, not hatched. Step 4: when you begin your prayer, ask the Holy Spirit and the blessed Mother to help you pray. Prayer is a response to God’s call; it isn’t we who initiate it. We merely respond to God’s initiative. And the Holy Spirit guides and informs our prayer while the Blessed Mother, His well-beloved spouse, is a perfect mother who teaches her children to pray. So start with “Holy Spirit, in the name of Jesus Christ, please help me to pray now. Blessed Virgin Mary, help me, your child, to pray.” Start that simply, then pray.
These four steps will get you started, but keep a look-out for more articles and podcasts that will help you to become a seasoned prayer warrior.
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