I recently had the opportunity to read Fr. Benedict J Groeschel’s newest book, Praying Constantly: Bringing Your Faith to Life. As a mother who tends to have perfectionist tendencies, I’m always reading to find out just what praying constantly REALLY means. Obviously, I have my particularly busy station in life and cannot live like I was in a monestary (though, it *IS* nice to do once in a while). It’s hard to wrap my head around what that means for someone in non-consecrated life.
Fr. Groeschel’s book gave me some excellent insights that I didn’t have before. The first couple of chapters cover the basics of Christianity — how to pray, praying in a “dry spell”, and who God is, making this an excellent book for someone who isn’t even very religious or who may not be sure they believe at all. The next chapter (my favorite, for clarity purposes), explains what it means to pray constantly.
There are several ways to respond to God and to keep him in your thoughts constantly. He talks about having a prayer routine, ministering to others (works of mercy), LISTENING for God (hard to do if you are constantly *doing* things), and (seemingly) random God-breezes. Further chapters address topics like the need for reverence, the Mass, Adoration (I sooooo miss this!), and places to pray. He also talks about praying with scripture (Lectio Divina) and listening to God.
There was another chapter that really provided a perspective on constant prayer that I had never considered–Prayer as a part of the body of Christ (i.e. the Church). He discusses how your prayers are more than just your lonely petitions when you are part of the body of Christ. In the Mass itself, the body of Christ is united in it’s prayers. We all join together in the Penitential Rite, the Pater Noster (Our Father), the Apostle’s Creed, and especially in the prayers of Petition. The sacraments bring us together with the other members of the church and the angels and saints are also a part of the body of Christ. All of these things amplify our prayer life, making it easier to think about my meager and lacking efforts being pleasing to God. He concludes the book with a chapter on impediments and aids to prayer, i.e. those things that can hinder or help your efforts.
All in all, the book Praying Constantly, by Fr. Benedict J. Groeschal, CFR is a FABULOUS book on prayer. It is short, easy to read, and makes constant prayer seem like an achievable goal for busy moms. It has a lot of ideas for practical use and can be used by people, no matter where they are starting–from people who only have a vague idea of their beliefs to the fairly devout–I’m sure everyone could glean something useful and/or inspirational from this book.
Disclaimer: This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Praying Constantly-Bringing Your Faith to Life. The Catholic Company is also a great source for serenity prayer and baptism gifts.