5 ways to pray better that don’t require more time

5 ways to pray better that don’t require more time

Reading 5 ways to pray better that don’t require more time 6 minutes

For normal people like you and me, what’s the main obstacle to a deeper prayer life?


Yet solving that problem is easier than you think. I’m going to tell you five ways to deepen your prayer life without carving more time out of your day. Each way is so easy to work into your routine, ANYONE can do it. 

Seriously. It doesn't matter if you’re a monk or a mom. 

They’re simple. They’re practical. And best of all, they’re time-enhancing, not time-consuming. 

Let’s get to them.


1. When you wake up or go to bed, read a Bible verse.

You know that feeling when you open your Bible and get paralyzed by those endless columns of text staring you in the face?

Yes, I’ve been there too. So how do we break through that “Bible paralysis?” Easy. One verse at a time.

Yes, it’s that simple. Just read a verse or two. Do it in the morning as you sip your coffee. Or do it at night before you climb into bed. I recommend starting with one of the Gospels, like Luke. If you want to read other parts of the New Testament, try Philippians. 

You can gradually build yourself to reading five or ten minutes a day. I once knew a guy who was reading the complete works of Charles Dickens by reading for five minutes every morning. If it works for Dickens, why not for the Bible?

Get started with:

2. Focus on the Mass.

    As a Catholic, your weekend has built-in prayer time: the Mass! 

    The Eucharist (and by extension, the Mass) is the “source and summit” of your Catholic life. Every response you say during Mass is a prayer. Uniting your heart to the Eucharist being consecrated is a prayer. Receiving Christ into your heart during Communion is a prayer. 

    That means you can deepen your prayer life by being attentive at Mass. It doesn’t take up any more time, since you already plan to go every week.

    Still, it helps to show up a few minutes early. You can read that day’s Scripture readings, or a book about Jesus or the Mass. It’ll prep you to stay focused and prayerful during Mass. (Plus you get to pick your pew!)

    Get started with:

      3. Pray one decade of the Rosary.

        Of course I have to mention the Rosary. What would a Catholic blog about prayer be without it?

        But I’m not telling you to pray an entire Rosary right now. Just one decade. 

        It’s true: the Rosary is a power-packed prayer. But it’s also true that the Rosary is hard to keep your attention on. If I had a dollar for every time I got distracted during the Rosary, I could buy the Vatican.

        Here’s what I’ve realized: It’s okay to scale back. We live in such a flashy, fast-paced world, you have to develop your capacity to sit and meditate on the Rosary. So just start with one decade: an Our Father, ten Hail Marys, and a Glory Be. That’s it. Five minutes slowly praying one decade feels better than twenty minutes praying a whole distracted Rosary. 

        You can build yourself up from there: two decades a day, then three, and so on. 

        Get started with:

          4. Make a prayer space in your home. 

            Jesus said that when you pray, go to your inner room and shut the door. (Or in the words of the old-time translation, “enter into thy closet.”)

            Now you probably don’t have an “inner room” that’s just for prayer. (If you actually prefer to stand in your closet, more power to you.) But you can get the effect of an inner room with a prayer space – it’s really simple to make one. 

            How simple? Just a chair and a little table, or a small display. Or you can light a candle when you sit down to pray.

            The point is to make your time and space for prayer feel distinctive. By doing that, your prayer time will become a kind of micro-retreat. The more deliberate you make your prayer time feel – even if it’s just for ten minutes – the more fruit you’ll see in your life.

            Get started with:

            • Chrism candle (sets the mood)
            • Pieta Statue (a breathtaking visual for praying and contemplating on the sufferings of Christ and the Virgin Mary)

              5. Celebrate your favorite feast days.

                The great part of being Catholic is all the feast days on your calendar!

                Sure, we’ve got the big ones like Christmas and Easter too. But you can also celebrate your baptism day, your favorite saint’s feast day, and Church solemnities like the Assumption. It’s a great way to weave your faith into the rest of your life. 

                You don’t even have to put a ton of work into it. Here’s a simple idea: Make a nice dinner, use your best plates and silverware, and say a special prayer before you eat. 

                Of course, you can get more creative if you want to. If you like to cook or do crafts, the sky’s the limit.

                Get started with:

                  Pick one way and stick with it.

                  Deepening your prayer life isn’t about making more time. You can’t actually “make” time. But you can use your time well.

                  Fortunately, that doesn’t mean cramming in as many devotions as you can. Stick with one or two prayer habits. Let yourself grow.

                  “Less is more” is a lesson I’ve had to learn the hard way. That’s why I always come back to these five things in my own life. They’re so simple, yet they always take me deeper in prayer. Try one and see how God uses it to take you deeper too!