I try to pray everyday, but I don’t always succeed. On the days I’m successful, I manage a morning and evening office. Usually, I make myself myself pray as soon as I get up— before I get busy with other things. When I forget to pray, or just put it off, I’m less likely to get back to it later that morning.
Without prayer, I’m more likely to have a bad day. To get impatient, to lose my temper, and to be more disagreeable in general. I suffer, my family suffers, and my work suffers because of it. Prayer anchors me.
And that is why my One Word for 2012 is “pray.” Not just in the morning or before bed, but constantly. Not just every day—one of the four parts of my ongoing New Year’s resolution—but all day. As St. Paul said:
“Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” —1 Thessalonians 5: 17-18 (NAB)
That doesn’t mean I’m going to sit with a prayerbook or a rosary all day and do nothing else—not even monks can manage that feat. My day is filled with responsibilities. I can’t ignore my wife or my daughter. I can’t ignore the accumulating dishes in the sink or the laundry in the hamper. I can’t ignore my writing. But I can make all of those activities a kind of prayer, keeping God at my side at all times even when he’s not at the forefront.
It sounds like I’m setting myself up for failure, and I am. I know it’s going to take a lot of practice given my notorious lack of focus, but by choosing the word “pray” as my One Word for 2012 I am setting a goal that I can strive for each and every day. And each day that I fall short, I can strive to do better the next day.
And in the process I can grow according the will of God for me in Christ Jesus. Which is something I can give thanks for in all circumstances.