A few years ago I heard Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, talk about prayer. He shared a small prayer discipline that he does every morning, and that I’ve implemented since I heard that speech; pray before your feet hit the ground. You know those few moments between when you open your eyes and get out of bed? That brief period will set the tone for the rest of your day.
Let’s take a look at two simple ways you can implement this routine in less than five minutes a day:
1. Ask the Holy Spirit for help. In Romans 8:26-27, St. Paul tells us that “we do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us,” St. Paul says this is done “because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (“CCC”) confirms this truth: “The Holy Spirit, whose anointing permeates our whole being, is the interior Master of Christian prayer” (CCC 2672). Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to remember to pray, and then ask Him to help you how to pray. And let it be the first thing you do after you wake up. Start simply with “come Holy Spirit, come.”
2. Be authentic. Remember that you are not talking to some obscure being somewhere out there. Your relationship with Jesus is an intimate relationship between friends, between lovers, between Father and child. This kind of relationship demands authenticity. The Lord knows your heart already. There’s nothing that you could say that His inscrutable Being doesn’t already know about you.
In a previous post I mentioned the honesty of Elijah’s cry to God in 1 Kings 19:4. Elijah tells the Lord to take his life as he says: “I have had enough Lord.” Elijah’s crisis is a result of being persecuted by Queen Jezebel who wants him dead.
Like Elijah we are pursued by many things. We get tired. We doubt. We worry. We are afraid. We sin. And also like Elijah we should cry out to the Lord with vulnerability and honesty trusting that the Holy Spirit is interceding for us.
On a personal note, there have been many mornings where after multiple night-feedings, diaper changes and snuggles all I can mutter is “come, Holy Spirit, come. Lord, I’m so tired.” And then I’m reminded of what the Lord told St. Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” And with that I start my day.
Come Holy Spirit, come, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.