Taken from: 8 Ways to Jump-Start Your Prayer Life by Matthew Leonard



Prayer isn’t optional. It’s the way we relate to God. We are created to be in union with Him for all eternity, but that union doesn’t start later. It starts now through prayer and the sacraments.


  1. Make Prayer a Non-Negotiable: One thing is for certain, if you don’t make prayer a priority it will be the first thing crossed off of your “to do” list when things get busy. This means you have to make it part of your daily schedule.  Because we’re so busy, we often feel like there’s no time to pray. But I’ve learned that if you make time for God, He’ll make time for you. He’ll multiply your time so that you can get everything finished that He wants you to get finished. In fact, the busier I get, the more I know I need to pray.

  2. Set the Stage: When entering the presence of God, environment is key. That means trying to pray at a bar during Happy Hour or during a bridal shower isn’t going to cut it. Given all the roadblocks that Original Sin already throws up when we try to pray, it’s crazy to allow more distraction to compete for our attention.Most people pray best in the morning, because it’s when we’re most fresh. It doesn’t do any good to try to enter into God’s presence when we’re falling over tired.

  3. Silence: In today’s world, we’re constantly assaulted by images and sound. We need quiet. I think the absolute best place to pray is an adoration chapel. But there are plenty of other quiet places to pray. Even so, sometimes it’s really hard to quiet my mind even when I’ve achieved exterior silence. One “trick” I use to help calm things down is repeating the name of “Jesus” over and over. Repetition is a great tool to help our minds slow down and focus. Another option is to read a Gospel passage about Our Lord’s Passion.

  4. Quality Not Quantity: The spiritual life isn’t a sprint. It’s a marathon. Regardless of the manner in which we’re praying, quality is always better than quantity. What’s the point of racing? Imagine if we tried to converse with our spouse or friends by racing through the conversation without even thinking about what we’re saying? Not only would they not appreciate it very much, but our relationship with them wouldn’t deepen. It’s the same with God. Don’t rush through your prayers. St. Francis de Sales said that one fervent Our Father or Hail Mary is worth more than hundreds you say without focus. The goal isn’t to finish. The goal is God.

  5. Don’t Be Afraid of Change: One reason we often get into a prayer rut is because we keep doing the same things over and over. If you find yourself having trouble making progress, change things up. Remember that prayer is a movement of the heart toward God. The tools we use to help that movement are simply that – tools. Take a break from your normal routine. Oftentimes this will help you “jump start” a conversation with the Lord.

  1. Resolve to Act: At the end of the day, prayer is meant to bring about change. There are no plateaus in the spiritual life. We’re either moving toward God, or away from Him. This means that movement must be the end result of praying. Resolve to act on whatever it is the Lord is telling you, so as to draw closer to Him.

  2. Practice Ejaculatory Prayer: Simply thanking or praising God as we go about the day is one of the most powerful weapons in our prayer arsenal. It keeps us in the presence of God. As St. Philip Neri says, “It is an old custom of the saints of God to have some little prayers ready and to be frequently darting them up to Heaven during the day…He who adopts this plan will obtain great fruits will little pain.”

  3. Ask for Prayer: One of the first things we do when we’re in trouble is to ask others to pray for us. Why not when we’re having trouble praying? Of course, we don’t only ask people alive on earth. We’re Catholics! We’re part of the Communion of Saints. Anyone and everyone who is in Christ-no matter in what epoch-is available to help. Revelation 5:8 says our family members in Heaven are interceding for us by offering up “golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” So instead of being cut off, they’re actively engaged in helping us grow closer to our family in Heaven. You could say that one of their jobs is to pray for us. The saints “constantly care for those whom they have left on earth,” says the Catechism (n. 2683). Your brothers and sisters want to help you. Let them!