Eight Steps to the Risen Lord at Easter

“Where’s Angela?” I asked. The rest of our family was slumped on the living room couch. Everyone shrugged. Curious, I went in search of my sister. I checked each room of the house. When I finally found her, she was intensely focused on something. She looked up, revealing the object of her attention—her prayer book. I started to notice that Angela “disappeared” about the same time each day. I wondered how she found time to pray: Between college, friends and  a part-time job. Angela’s one of the busiest people I know. So I asked her. “Well, every day I have to make the choice to spend time with God,” she said. “It’s not easy, but it’s worth it—prayer helps me to get to know God on my own, to have a real, personal friendship with him.” Angela had some great tips on how she formed her good habit. Here are eight of them. 1. Plan a prayer “appointment.” Write a specific time and location on your calendar, or in your planner. You might want to choose a time that corresponds with another daily activity: after you get up in the morning, right after school, or immediately after dinner. Try to avoid putting prayer off until the end of the day. “If I wait until bedtime, I usually end up skipping it because I fall asleep,” Angela says. 2. Choose your “tools”. Some basics include: i. A copy of the Bible or the New Testament; ii. A good prayer book; and iii.  the Catechism – you can get a pocket-sized copy in any Catholic Book Shop. 3. Start with prayer.Ask God to keep you focused and to help you understand what you’re about to read. “Sometimes, my mind just starts to drift. I tell God I’ve set aside this time especially for him, and that I choose to focus on him,” Angela says. 4. Use your Bible and your Catechism. Even if you use a prayer book with verses printed in it, read the passages in your Bible or Catechism anyway. “Prove it to yourself that it’s really there,” Angela suggests. “It helps you to think of that verse as part of God’s Word, and not as just an excerpt from some random book.” Plus, you might spot another meaningful message from the Catechism that wasn’t included in the prayer book. 5. Read it until you get it. First, read verse by verse—read each verse several times until you understand what it is saying, then move on to the next one. Then, go back and read the entire passage, putting its meaning all together in your mind. Even if you’re familiar with a passage, try to read it like you’ve never seen it before—don’t skim over things. God might give you an understanding of something you’ve never noticed before. 6. Don’t just read about our faith—do what it says (James 1:22). Make a list of personal traits (patience, kindness) or spiritual goals (witnessing, prayer) you’d like to work on.Try to find ways to put your faith into action. 7. Make a commitment. On a piece of paper, write these words: “I commit to spend time with the Lord every day for the next month.” Sign your name and tape the paper somewhere in your bedroom where you can see it. 8. And finally number eight: Don’t give up. Let’s face it: There will be days when you skip prayers. Just try to keep it a high priority and do it whenever you can. “God is not going to abandon you if you don’t do a prayer one day—he knows what our days and commitments are like, and he knows our hearts,” Angela says. “Any time that you spend with God, he can use it to teach you and to grow your faith.”


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