Do you ever feel like you’re “just going through the motions” in your prayer life? We know it can be easy to fall into this – it happens to us. It can be a struggle for all – priests, religious, and the laity.
Why does this happen? The main reason why we fall into the trap of just going through the motions is that we have lost sight of the fact that we are communing with God. And when we forget this we lose sight of the magnitude of our actions towards Him.
Here are some practical tips for how to avoid going through the motions:
1. Reverence – We need to restore our sense of reverence to the holy and Divine. We, the created, are communing with the Creator. Reverence is a feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe; veneration.
2. The Best Response – God deserves our best so give Him your best.
- Give God the best – When praying, sacrificing, fasting, almsgiving, are you giving God your best? For example, are you praying at the end of the day when you are tired and falling asleep? Do you fast from easy things to give up? Do you give the food you won’t eat in your pantry to the poor?
- Don’t give God the leftovers – God is to be first. Pray to God when you are awake, dress nicely for Mass, when you donate items for the poor give food you would eat, and clothes that aren’t tattered.
- Give God what costs you – Giving should be sacrificial. So what does it mean to give less than the best? What does it look like to give to God last? What does it mean to make gifts that cost us nothing?
- It’s when we spend an hour reading on the internet or newspaper and then in the five minutes before I fall asleep I pray to God. That’s offering God the leftovers.
- It’s when we give to our careers our best energy, our best talent, our best enthusiasm, but when it comes to serving the Church we either sit on the sidelines or look for something that requires the least amount of energy.
- It’s when we spend a lot of money on ourselves for pleasures and gadgets, but when it comes to giving God an offering we look at the budget and say, “What’s left over here?”
- It’s when we watch sports and cheer in celebration for our team that has scored, but in worship we sit passively.
- It’s when we love our kids that there is nothing we wouldn’t give them, but if we’re honest with ourselves we are not as quick or generous for God.
3. Remember you are in God’s presence – Whether you are at church or you just made the sign of the cross to pray, you are in the presence of God – the Creator of the universe, the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega. We must not forget this.
We challenge you to bring your best and not go through the motions.