Do you lack the time to get things done because you don’t take time to pray? Doesn’t sound logical does it? Peter Kreeft once wrote, “Lack of prayer is the cause of lack of time.” Could it actually be possible that taking more time to pray will give you more time in the day? It sounds like one of those science fiction time distortion deals. I don’t think that’s what it’s about though.
The Time Benefits of Prayer
I read an post by Matthew Warner yesterday on the benefits of taking time for prayer. It’s a powerful post for what it says and for what it does not say. Keying off the above quote from Kreeft, Warner comments:
“I had to read this one a few times to make sure I was understanding it properly. At first I was thinking, “Yep, my lack of time leads to lack of prayer. I just don’t make enough time for prayer in my life.”
But upon proper reading, Kreeft is actually saying the exact opposite – which is far more profound.”
What the post says is a healthy prayer life helps you prioritize your work to accomplish what matters and gives you peace about the things you don’t have time to finish. What it doesn’t say, at least explicitly, is, “Why aren’t you praying more, goofball!” At least, that’s what it says to me.
Fulton Sheen and the Challenge of Prayer
I really love Fulton Sheen. He had this engaging, over-the-top flamboyancy that really worked. He explained Catholic doctrine on national television and beat Milton Berle one year! My hero! I’ve thought a lot about Sheen lately because the Diocese of Peoria where I live is promoting his cause for sainthood. As part of that, they released a prescreening of the film on his life to show at select places in the diocese.
The thing that challenges me about Sheen is his “Hour of Power.” Fulton Sheen did an hour of adoration every day despite a heavy workload! He attributed all his success in writing and speaking to his time before the Blessed Sacrament. He would prepare his talks in adoration! Once someone told Sheen she was too busy for an hour of adoration a day and Sheen said she was probably right…she should do two hours instead!
Now I have tried hard to do an holy “hour of power” a day, and I’ve never quite been able to make it work. I’ve gone stints of doing holy half-hours. Sometimes I get more but often it’s less or I miss all together. I did find out that Sheen also worked incredibly long hours and only got four hours of sleep a night. I don’t have that luxury or that kind of health. So, that made me feel a little bit better. But still, I struggle with having enough time to do everything and with success in my work. Perhaps I should take a lesson from Fulton Sheen and pray more?
Everyone involved in catechetical ministry, including bloggers and podcasters, should take up Sheen’s challenge and make an effort to put prayer at a higher priority. There’s a great quote from The Soul of the Apostolate on Eucharistic spirituality that fits with this idea and sure was true for Fulton Sheen:
“The efficacy of an apostolate almost invariably corresponds to the degree of Eucharistic life acquired by a soul. Indeed, the sure sign of a successful apostolate is when it makes souls thirst for frequent and fruitful participation in the divine Banquet. And this result will never be obtained except in proportion as the apostle himself really makes Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament the source and center of his life (p. 186).”
Opening up your schedule to spend time with God is the first step in telling him that you love him and want to receive more of him. If you can’t get in a full “hour of power,” try a half hour, but make time for God in your schedule. Then, God will make time for you in his schedule! Now that’s a huge return on investment! I’m going to recommit myself today. What about you?