Michelle Neitzke

Pray Like it’s 2014: Commit Yourself to Prayer this New Year

Ready or not, here it comes… It’s almost 2014.

I don’t know about you, but this year for me has been a year of challenge, change, and growth with a ton of added mercy and grace. Looking back at the challenges, I am grateful; grateful that the Lord allows me to grow when I suffer and grateful that He never stops loving me.

Maybe you didn’t achieve as much as you wanted to this year. Maybe you set some crazy New Year’s resolution last year and now you are feeling disappointed because it wasn’t achieved.

We measure everything in time today – seconds, moments, minutes, days, and years. Funny thing is, God doesn’t work like that. His timing is not our timing. In fact, God is outside time. We need to measure time, God doesn’t.

Often, we view time as measure of success. So, when a new a year rolls around it is no wonder that we revaluate, analyze, and critique. We ask questions. How can I be better? Do more? Achieve more? In a way, a new year marks a new start and these are really great questions to ask. A lot of times we set really good resolutions for ourselves like getting healthy, quitting an addiction, or spending more time with family.
I want these things for us. I want us to resolve to do better in school, eat healthy, run a marathon, or improve our relationships. These are all good things. But as the New Year rolls around, I want to examine all areas of my life, especially my life with Christ.

I want to ask the questions that bear heavily on my soul.

Am I living the life Christ wants for me?

Am I deepening my prayer life?

Am I growing in virtue?

Am I loving others well?

Sometimes I fool myself thinking that I have “achieved” holiness, that I have figured it all out. And then reality hits. I don’t have this life with Christ thing all figured out yet, and the moment that I think I do is the moment I am in trouble. I always have room for growth. I haven’t achieved sanctity and I need to look to the example of those who have to help me grow.

Saints are faithful. A lot of time that means doing very extraordinary things but I think a lot of times that means simply being faithful in the small things. If the saints weren’t faithful in the “small” things, like prayer, Mass, and the Sacraments, they would have never achieved sanctity. Sometimes it may feel as though these things are tedious or tiring. But these are the things that will lead us closer to Christ, and heaven.

This New Years I am going to resolve to be better. I’m not going to make any crazy resolutions but I will use the beginning of this new year to evaluate where I need to grow in my walk with Christ, especially my prayer life.

All the other resolutions we may make are important, and in many cases needed, but if we aren’t committed to continually growing in love with Christ then we aren’t improving our whole self. Everything stands or falls on our relationship with Christ. It’s 2014, make this year count.I pray that you will consider evaluating this past year and improve the areas that will deepen your walk with Christ.

Here are a few “Prayer Resolutions” to consider as you plan and resolve to deepen your relationship with Christ this upcoming year.

Prayer Resolutions

1. Pray. Simply pray. Maybe you don’t have much of a prayer life, maybe you do. Start one or develop yours further. Make the commitment now to pray daily. Prayer is our breath; it is the foundation of everything we do. But be realistic. Commit to something you can maintain, maybe that is 10 minutes before school or maybe it is an hour every evening. The important thing is to pick something you know you can keep up with.

2. Pray with God’s Word. The Scriptures are a beautiful tool for our prayer. God’s word nourishes and guides us. Commit to including Scripture into your prayer routine. The daily Mass readings are a wonderful way to start.

3. Pray with the Mass. Going to Mass and receiving the Eucharist is the most sacred thing we do as Catholics. Don’t just go to Mass. Pray during Mass, pray the prayers, and listen to the priest.

4. Remember mercy. We aren’t perfect. We fall short and as I mentioned we are constantly growing in holiness. Remember God’s mercy is always there when we seek it. If you stumble in your commitment, that’s ok, the important thing is to always start again.

Michelle Neitzke

About the Author

I am originally from the south but somehow found my way up to the northern tundra (aka Saint Paul, Minnesota) where I live and also work for an amazing parish in the Archdiocese. I love good humor, fall weather, black olives, tea, studying theology, bodies of water, Chick-fil-a, bookstores, and great company. I love sharing my faith with others and I consider it an honor that I am able to participate in the Church’s mission of making the name of Jesus Christ known and loved. Follow me on Twitter @MichelleNeitzke