10 Prayer Pointers for busy people

From Sister Mary Ann Walsh
USCCB Dept. of Communications

Long moments when you’re put on hold or stuck in traffic might be God-given moments for prayer. 

That’s what Sheila Garcia, wife, mother, commuter and associate director at the U.S. Bishops’ Secretariat for Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, says in “Ten Pointers for Family Prayer.”

Here’s a quick summary of her 10 tips:

1. Pray as you can, not as you can’t. Lay people can become discouraged when they try to pray like a cloistered contemplative. Be realistic about what’s possible. 

2. Take ten—or twenty. How about ten minutes, or twenty for prayer? Choose a time of day and stick with it and designate a special site so it becomes holy. Spouses can help by minding children during respective quiet times. 

3. Pray as a family. Build upon rituals such as grace before meals. Encourage family members to offer thanks for the blessings of the day and prayers for those in need. Couples can take a few minutes, perhaps before bedtime, to commend to God the day’s joys and sorrows. 

4. Decorate your domestic church. Create an atmosphere for prayer in our home—the domestic church—by displaying a crucifix, icons, the Bible and other holy objects. Take the children to a religious goods store and let them choose a picture or statue for their rooms. 

5. Short prayers count, too. When you’re stopped at a long light or put on hold, consider it as God’s invitation to turn your heart and mind to Him, if only for a few seconds. 

6. Find God at work. Connecting with God in the workplace takes effort. Try to cultivate a few simple habits. For example, offer the day to God as you turn on your computer. 

7. Jump start your prayer life. Praying with Scripture, perhaps the daily Mass readings ( can help us focus. So, too, can an inspirational book. 

8. Ask your Mother for help. The Blessed Virgin Mary offers profound comfort. One family, gathered around the bedside of their dying husband and father, found peace through the rosary. The rosary is ideal for the family since children can be taught the simple prayers at an early age. Instructions on how to pray the rosary can be found at 

9. Read a good story. Children and adults alike enjoy an inspiring story, and few stories are more compelling than those of the saints, such as St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Monica, or St. Thomas More. 

10. Walk with a spiritual friend. A friend can help us to work through the concerns that arise in prayer. Good friends will hold each other accountable for their prayer life, making sure that prayer has not been neglected in the busyness of life. For married couples a spouse is often this spiritual friend, but God also puts other wise and holy people in our path when we need them. They can be the answer to prayer.

Copyright © 2009 Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute, 208 E. North St., Durand, IL 61024. Any part of this newsletter may be reproduced so long as there is full attribution, our web site is listed, and any electronic reproduction includes a link to our site:

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