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DEAR FATHER | ‘Give God Five’ is a step to prioritizing God

I want to put God first, but there are so many things that take up my time and attention. How do you strike a good balance?

“Give God Five.” If you give God five hours of undivided attention each week, you can be quite confident you will grow close to Him. Just think of what this might look like — each week, you will spend about 1.5 hours on Sunday Mass (including preparing for Mass and commuting). If you pray 20 minutes a day, that is another 2 hours and 20 minutes, bringing us up to 3 hours and 50 minutes. That leaves about one hour for an additional prayer-related activity, which could be going to a prayer group, reconciliation or making a Holy Hour in adoration. If each week, you resolve, “I will give God five hours of attention this week, no matter how full the schedule is!” you can be quite certain He will come first in your life.

Practicing our faith is simple, but it takes good prioritization and focused energy. Spiritual growth comes when we both make time and make that time count. The precept to attend Mass every Sunday is, in reality, a small ask — to be in a certain location, nearby your house, for one hour on a certain day of the week. It just takes making it a non-negotiable priority over sports, vacation and (sometimes, at least) our own sloth for it to happen.

When you are engaging in a spiritual activity, make it count. It is possible to waste hours at the gym without getting a real workout. Give God Five with energy and purpose. Think: “What will maximize my spiritual growth in this time? Is there a sin? I will go to confession. Is there a big decision? I will speak to God about it in prayer.” Even a short check-in with ourselves often reveals what is most important for our spiritual growth.

The five intentional hours focused on God will change how you approach the other 163 hours of the week — you will have greater interior peace knowing God comes first, you will be more mindful of His presence and your capacity to love your family and friends will grow. If this sounds like a doable challenge for you, get a few friends together and resolve to Give God Five each week this next month, and check in with each other on Sunday mornings. You will not be disappointed with the results!

Father Charlie Archer is associate pastor of St. Peter Parish in Kirkwood.

This column appeared in a previous edition of the Review.

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