The blogger Pater Familias speaks about having a routine of prayer. And like many of us, summer vacations interrupt and throw us out of our routine. The result? We don’t pray much at all, as he says:
It’s only been three days, and I already feel out of sorts and not in the best frame of mind. I know I could have gotten up early and found a quiet spot in the house to meditate on the readings, but I just haven’t. It’s like I took a “vacation” from prayer. I even ended up eating meat on Friday, and neglecting to pray for the people who I had asked me for prayers.
It starts slowly, innocuously. And you don’t really realize how far you’ve gone until you look back.
Some might think that describing prayer as routine or rote is a negative, but perhaps we should disagree. Prayer is a habit, and those routines and so-called “rote” prayers can keep us in the practice of prayer; as he says:
Prayer doesn’t always just happen, just like acts of love in a marriage don’t always just happen on their own–sometimes we do have to work at it. If prayer is a muscle, like our bodies, we can neglect to exercise it.
We have to be intentional and take responsibility for our prayer life. It will be harder when you’re on vacation, and maybe our prayers needs to be adjusted when we’re out of our normal routine, but don’t take it as an excuse to be lazy or negligent – we should never take a vacation from our spiritual lives. Don’t fall for the emptiness and wordly stimulation that promises contentment but doesn’t deliver.