This morning, while saying grace, my toddler prayed for the green beans on her plate.
I chuckled, of course. But deep down, I felt a bit envious of the simplicity and innocence behind a child’s prayer.
Why can’t it be that simple for me?
Somewhere along the line of my re-conversion to the Christian and Catholic faith, I fell into a deep hole of overwhelming prayer. There were just so many options for powerful prayer and, inspired by the actions of deeply devout Catholics around me, I didn’t see why I couldn’t do them ALL.
A daily Rosary – heck, why not just make it a 54-Day Novena instead? A Chaplet of Divine Mercy every day at 3:00 PM. A prayer that you say every day for 12 YEARS?! I’ll do it. Plus, I’m already signed up for the 9-Day Novena e-mail subscription.
Do you think that was sustainable?
I look back at myself and say “Why, Anna?!” because what followed was a huge withdrawal from prayer. I still said prayers, but I didn’t actually say them. This lasted for a year or two.
Every time I thought about coming back around to a new routine of meaningful prayer, I was scared away.
Maybe you can relate?
Eventually, though, I toughened up and realized that I needed that time with God. There was just one minor difference: I was now a mom. What?! How was I going to fit a new routine of prayer when I can’t even go to the bathroom alone?
So, I revisited a favorite book of mine by Father Larry Richards, and in that book he suggests a “prayer formula” that only takes 5 minutes a day.
5 minutes a day! I know that so many of us, especially parents, have plenty of “5 minuters” that eventually add up to 24 hours. But, prayer should DEFINITELY be one of them, do you agree?
The way I see it – if I can spend 15-30 minutes on Pinterest or Facebook, then there is absolutely no reason I can’t give 5 minutes of dedicated, uninterrupted time to Jesus every day.
If you’re still with me – here’s how to do it:
1.) Schedule time for Jesus.
That 5 minutes needs to fit in somewhere! Write it down on your calendar, set a reminder on your phone – do whatever you have to do to remind yourself of your daily time with God. Hold yourself accountable. Remember, it’s only 5 minutes.
2.) Find a place.
You may like to have a dedicated space for your prayer. Some people like to set up a sacred spot in their homes and light a candle during prayer to remind them of Jesus’s presence.
For me, I will sometimes nurse, rock, or walk my baby during prayer, so I prefer to have the whole house be a sacred spot. We have crucifixes in every room so I know that wherever I am, Jesus is right there with me.
3.) Pray for 5 minutes using the following plan:
1 Minute: Tell Jesus “I’m sorry.”
Ponder your day for a moment and ask the Holy Spirit to help you find your moments of sin. This isn’t time to get overwhelmed with every little detail.
Personally, I focus on the first 3 that come to mind, unless it’s obvious there are more.
Repent. Invite God’s forgiveness and let Him be your Savior.
1 Minute: Tell Jesus “I surrender.”
What are your worries? Did you know that Jesus wants you to take ALL of your worries, concerns, anxieties, etc. and give them to Him?
Say “Jesus, I trust in you.” Give Him your worries. Let Him take control.
I find that it is helpful to actually picture yourself giving your worries to God. Sometimes, for example, I get really stressed about blogging, so I picture myself running to Him with my laptop and mouse and saying “Here, take it from me!” Lol. I actually feel a lot better, too.
You’ll notice that after this step, if you truly give your worries to God, your mind will calm and you will begin to feel the weight lifted off your shoulders.
3 Minutes: Be with Jesus.
Father Richards recommends to say to Jesus “Hold me.” Be still, and just let Him hold you and love you.
I know the intimacy of letting Jesus hold you, as a grown adult, can be a little uncomfortable at first. At least for me, it felt a bit strange.
If this is also the case for you, I found it very helpful to close my eyes and picture myself as a child. I picked the 5-year-old version of myself who always carried around a Simba stuffed animal (from the Lion King). I climb into Jesus’s lap and let Him hold me as I listen to the beat of His heart.
It sounds corny… I know. But when I think about my own children and all other children that I have cared for, I realized that they do the exact same thing when they need comfort, or want to be rocked to sleep.
Reverting back to the innocence of childhood helps me to break away from all of my pride and independence. Jesus said “Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3).
Extra: Thank Him and say the Our Father as a closing prayer.
I know technically the 5 minutes was up in Step 3, but I think that stretching it for just one more minute to give thanks and say the Our Father, just as He taught us, is a great way to close your prayer time.
This might be a time that you could state special intentions.
And that’s it! See? That wasn’t too bad, right? I encourage you to try it. As Father Richards says in the book:
“If you do this every day, you will begin to see a change in your life – I promise. But will you do it?”
Before you put this on the back burner…!
Remember, it’s just 5 minutes (maybe 6)… and it CAN change your life. Soon, like me, you’ll start to crave this time. Then, you won’t need to schedule it in because it will happen naturally and you will begin to look forward to your time with Jesus.
How do you pray when you’re busy or overwhelmed? Share in the comments below!
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Hi! I’m Anna, co-founder of Healthy Habits Reset. After managing my own autoimmune diseases using lifestyle, habit, and mindset changes, I now work to teach others how to navigate the treacherous and confusing journey of chronic illness living. I firmly believe YOU hold the power to question, think critically, and become your own rock-solid advocate in a world full of unhealthy habits. Consider me, and my husband, Frank, your autoimmune disease health coaches. Are you ready?!