Scheduling Prayer

Br. John Raymond

I think that in our hectic world of today people would pray more
if they were able to solve the problem of when to pray. Scheduling
prayer-time is very important and we should reflect over it - even
pray about it.
It may be helpful to sit down with pen and paper and look at your
daily schedule. You'll have to look at what you must do, what can be
changed, etc. It is not good to do this with an attitude of "when
can I fit prayer in." This type of attitude reduces prayer to
secondary importance and leads to a prayer-time of trying to "get it
over with." See prayer as a primary and necessary part of the day.
Honestly consider when would be your best time to give God your
Some people are "morning people" and some people are "night
people." Some are able to be more attentive to prayer at one time
than at others. Think about your best time.
For some, long periods of prayer are best. It takes some people a
while to get settled so they prefer to dedicate two or three hours
to prayer all at once. Perhaps for others half-hour periods are
Where you pray will probably affect when you wish to pray. If you
want to pray in Church or if you want to pray when the house is
quiet, etc. then you'll have to plan accordingly.
Consider if you're sleeping too much. Apparently some people do.
When some people reduce their sleeping time, say from eight to seven
hours, the body compensates for lost time by increasing the quality
of sleep. Therefore by "sleeping faster" at night one really does
not lose out. By reducing the time we give to sleep we can pray
more. This is what many of the Saints did!
When you look over your day you'll no doubt see that there are
periods of wasted time or at least periods of time not used in the
best way. When we plan a schedule we become aware of how many hours
there are in the day. There is enough time to pray. We just need to
look for possible time-wasting and eliminate it. The greatest block
of wasted time for many people is from 5:00 pm. until bed time.
Whether you work or are at home this is the period of time to
examine carefully.
Another help is for those who work at home (homemakers, writers
and monks!) to schedule their time carefully to use it best. This
requires more self-discipline as their is no one supervising the
person at home, unlike those who work for others.
By careful planning you can find time for quite a few hours of
prayer each day. One must avoid, however, the extremes of rigidity
or laxity toward one's schedule. For some people rigidity can be a
problem to a relaxed time of prayer. Setting an alarm on your watch
and then forgetting about the time may be helpful. If the alarm goes
off and you feel like praying more, and are able to, keep going. But
if the baby's crying or the house is burning down by all means skip
your prayer-time! For others laxity to a schedule is a problem. They
miss prayer once, maybe twice and they give up on it. A more rigid
adherence to the schedule may be necessary for them. One method of
self-discipline in this regard is to "make-up" for lost prayer. If
you miss a half-hour the next day pray a half-hour longer.
Scheduling our time for prayer is very important. We are careful
to schedule appointments with friends and for other activities. Why
not schedule your time each day for meeting your best friend -
Jesus. You will be surprised to find that there is more time for
prayer than you think!