Men, why do we struggle to pray?
We know that our souls need prayer as we need air for our lungs, food for our stomachs, and balm for our beards.
Maybe we’re addicts to technology and the thought of silencing our devices for even a few minutes unnerves us. Perhaps silence seems scary. Maybe we take for granted the love of God our Father who has been, is now, and will always be there, so we naturally neglect him. We can always pray “later.”
Is Prayer a Priority?
Is prayer a priority for you? If it isn’t, first acknowledge that fact: “Prayer isn’t a priority in my life—but I want it to be.” Figure out what your distractions are and recalibrate your priorities accordingly. We will rearrange our schedules for anything we consider important enough. We have to treat our time in prayer with the same discipline and focus that we take with our exercise or work commitments or Netflix binging.
I work at a Catholic High School and my office is about 16 steps away the chapel. I’m amazed at how many days go by and I’m somehow unable to set aside ten minutes to sit before the Lord. Instead of my God’s grace overflowing from me to others, I run on fumes because of my own sloth or workaholism. Praying like a man means that we engage in prayer even when we don’t feel like it or are “too busy.” Carve out the time.
The length of your prayer is second to your habit of prayer. “Pray without ceasing,” St. Paul (who was a very hairy, bearded man) wrote. The slow waits in line, the tedious jury duty, the time in traffic, the sleepless night with your toddler—all are opportunities for quick prayer:
“Lord, I love you. Be with me.”
“Help me to see you today, Lord.”
“Come, Holy Spirit.”
Lead Your Family
If married, your wife and children—especially your children—need to see you pray. Monkey see, monkey do. Kids need to watch their dad take prayer seriously. There are enough depressing studies about how the faith retention of children plummets if dads are indifferent to the household faith. If dad doesn’t care enough to go to Mass, why should I?
I noticed that many of the recent saints, including Therese of Lisieux and Ven. Fulton Sheen, attributed the nightly rosary led by their parents for the kindling that would inflame into their heroic lives. Even if you never had that prayerful witness from your own dad or it feels awkward, to simply say to your kids, “Let’s do a decade of the rosary together” is a beautiful place to start.
Set aside 10 minutes today for prayer—honest, distraction-free, simple prayer. Bring your Bible. Stroke your beard. Allow God the chance to speak and let His love fill your manly heart.
The above post appeared for the 2016 Nazarite Challenge.