Newtons’ First Law of Motion as Applied to Prayer
It seems to me that a prayer life moves consistent with the initial part of Newton’s First Law of Motion which states that a body at rest will remain at rest unless an outside force acts upon it. If you don’t pray today, it is unlikely you will decide to pray tomorrow.
For those who have a sporadic or nonexistent prayer life, one way to remain at rest is to ignore the issue. Pretend that Sunday Mass has you covered for the week. No need to feel guilty. Everything is fine.
Once that stops working for you, a “prayer time” is called for. For many, creating a prayer time in a hectic day means trying to get up earlier to create time for it. When you pick this option you likely are forgetting why you are so tired in the first place. Remember, you have a hectic life. After a week to ten days of valiant effort, your resolve begins to fray around the edges, until it collapses.
I live with both a short attention span <oooh shiney> and a frantic schedule, so typically I try to pretend everything’s fine when I fail to make time for prayer. It does not mean I never pray, but I certainly lack the discipline and structure of a regular time devoted to prayer. It never helps when I meet someone who is attentive and disciplined and always gets things done, including that regular time for prayer. Their success highlights my failure and it is tempting to decide it is just not in me, so why bother trying.
Standing Up Again
On the good side, I am also stubborn and persistent. As a result I discovered time I already had, that could be re-purposed into prayer time. Here are a few ideas on how the prayerfully challenged can transform the dead time into prayer time.
1. The Rosary and the Remote – If you use a remote control for a TV, DVR or DVD player at any time during the day, put a rosary with it. Anytime you touch the remote to fast forward or mute during commercials, also pick up your rosary and offer a few prayers till your program resumes.
2. Red Light, Prayer Light – The sanctuary lamp in our church is red. So is every traffic light I come across, especially when I am in a hurry. Let each red light be time for intercession, where you lift up the needs of someone you know. Remember those people who say “will you pray for ….” and we say “sure”. Well now you have time to do it and a reminder of when to do it. Remember their needs at you next intercession intersection.
3. Checkout that Prayer! – Anytime you find yourself waiting in a checkout line or any line for that matter, use that interruption as a time for prayer. I suggest using these time to pray for those you don’t know. Perhaps you will pray for the cashier, or the stranger ahead of you. Perhaps you can consider what you are buying and pray for the farmer of food production worker factory worker, business owner or truck driver who had some role in bringing the items in your cart to you.
These three techniques for turning dead time into prayer time are a good tool to get the ball rolling. Once that happens, the second part of Newton’s Law applies; ” a body in motion stays in motion unless acted on by an outside force.”