As I've mentioned before I'm in RCIA at St. Charles in Livermore. I'm learning about the Catholic faith and enjoying it a lot. One thing I've begun to do lately is to pray the Rosary. I've done that before, I've owned a rosary for many years, it's made of olive wood from Israel. I've prayed all sorts of different prayers using it, modifying it to make it a "Protestant" rosary. Now I'm praying it in the traditional Catholic way and today as I was meditating on the Sorrowful Mysteries of Christ's Passion, I was struck with sorrow for my sins, for how much I've hurt others and how much I've hurt Jesus, what it cost Him to save me from sin. In the past I was unsure of the value of a prayer like the Rosary, but it's become a part of my daily devotions that helps me to really calm myself and focus on Christ.
Another thing I've found helpful for the last few weeks is praying the Liturgy of the Hours every day. At first it seemed like a lot but as I've practiced it every day I've found that pausing during the day every three hours or so to pray keeps my day from going sideways, if you know what I mean. The prayers during the middle of the day are very short, only about 5 or 10 minutes long, they fit into a work break quite nicely. Doing these prayers regularly has also helped me to remember to pray for others, for my family and co-workers and the world, always in the past I've said I was going to do that but somehow it never became a real habit. It remained sporadic. Having the hours to pray on a set schedule (I've got an alarm set on my iPhone for Terce, Sext, None and Vespers) has made it happen for me.
Here's how I've been doing this for a few weeks now:
Matins (Office of Readings, the longest of the liturgies) prayed first thing when I get up in the morning, usually 4:30 am
Lauds (Morning Prayer) at 6:00 am
Terce (Mid-morning Prayer) at 9:00 am
Sext (Midday Prayer) at 12:00 pm
None (Afternoon Prayer) at 3:00 pm
Vespers (Evening Prayer) at 6:00 pm
Compline (Night Prayer) at bedtime 9 or 10 pm
Occasionally something will prevent me from praying at the hour I have listed here, if I can get to it within an hour or so I'll go ahead and pray it late, but if I miss one it's not that big a deal, and it's really easy to get them all done actually. I don't make a big production out of it either, I usually just go off and do it without saying anything. The prayers are mostly Psalms and other readings from the bible so it's really stopping to listen to God through the day, couldn't hurt :-)
So if I don't "make a big deal out of it" why do I even mention it here? I write in the hopes others might find a regular practice like this as helpful as I have. If you don't have a regular prayer life then making it happen on a set schedule, no matter what that might be, you don't have to do the full hours, can really help a lot.