Pray Without Ceasing

We spent this weekend at Camp Tepeyac with Arizona State University’s Newman Center. We were expecting to go to serve, but we found out that we were going to be able participate in the retreat. After a busy week, it was such a blessing to be able to just have a lot of time to really enter into prayer. The entire retreat focused on prayer and experiencing different forms of prayer. There was a lot of time specifically designated to individually enter into these different forms of prayer. On Saturday, we had the opportunity to do some spiritual reading. During that time, I reflected upon the following words from Mother Teresa:

There are some people who, in order not to pray, use as an excuse the fact that life is so hectic that it prevents them from praying. This cannot be. Prayer does not demand that we interrupt our work, but that we continue working as if it were a prayer.

It is not necessary to always be meditating, nor to consciously experience the sensation that we are talking to God, no matter how nice this would be. What matters is being with him, living in him, in his will. To love with a pure heart, to love everybody, especially the poor, is a twenty-four hour prayer.

Prayer begets faith, faith begets love, and love begets service on behalf of the poor.
The first requirement of prayer is silence. People of prayer are people of silence.

-Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, In Her Own Words

Recently, I have been really trying to focus on making everything that I do be a prayer, so this reading really stood out to me. Especially when I was a student and was always busy, I so often made excuses that I was too busy. I was always looking for reasons why I didn’t have the “time” to pray, which is ridiculous. There is always time for God and always time for prayer. I love how Mother Teresa says that “Prayer does not demand that we interrupt our work, but that we continue working as if it were a prayer.” It just perfectly described how I have been trying to make my life a prayer. I love my personal prayer time, and in living a life centered on prayer, I get a lot of time specifically set aside to pray. I love my morning holy hours, which allow me to start my day spending an hour with the Lord. It has been amazing to have so much structured prayer time, but I have recently realized the need to carry that spirit of prayer throughout the day. I am still learning what this really means, but I have thought about it a lot recently. Since I have been reflecting on this, Mother Teresa’s words really struck me. In addition, a friend also shared some thoughts and quotes with me this past week that also relates to this idea:

St. Paul tells us to “pray without ceasing.” Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI expounds on this in his book, Jesus of Nazareth. He describes it this way: “The silent presence of God at the heart of our thinking, our meditating and our being, is what we mean by prayer without ceasing.”

There is just so much peacefulness in those words and in that idea of praying without ceasing, and this weekend, I really felt as if I was able to enter into that peacefulness.

Related to that idea of the peacefulness in praying without ceasing is the idea of silence. The last line of the above words from Mother Teresa says, “The first requirement of prayer is silence. People of prayer are people of silence.” Enough said.

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