Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Abigail's "You Come Too" Prayer Challenge

My Prayer Goal for Day One of "Back in the Carmel Saddle Again"

Get up early
Find the Bible
Read Something in John
Pray "The Prayer of the Quiet" for 15 minutes*

(I'm going back to 15 minutes in morning/15 minutes in the evening because 30 straight minutes is too hard for me right now. If you'd never prayed "mental prayer" before just start with 5 minutes. If mental prayer is super hard for you, try to go 7 to 10 minutes).

Mental Prayer is "placing yourself before God in silence." Try to clear your mind and listen to God. If you get distracted, gently bring yourself back to the task of "listening in silence." When you are still, the intellect will come up with all kinds of "urgent" tasks to do or serious problems to think about. St. Teresa of Avila said "pay no attention to this chatter than you would to a mad woman talking in your attic." DO NOT BEAT YOURSELF UP FOR SUCKING AT THIS PRAYER! Prayer is hard work. Practice makes perfect.

Update: Well, I didn't get up on time. So I prayed alone at 6:05, instead of 5:30 with my husband. UGGH! I'm so weak I can't even sit still physically for more than 5 minutes. I'm a Carmelite who watches the clock--even for only 15 minutes. But at least I did it and got through Morning Prayer, so today counts as a "personal best" right? (That's what my Cross-Country coach, Miss Jane Poundstone used to say to me. The first timed run of a season always stunk, but it counted as a "personal best"--something to track your progress in for future meets.)

Thank you for everyone who is training in prayer with me!!!! Just keep going!


  1. If there was a mad woman in my attic I would be Freaking out!

    That was my first response. I reread it a couple times and now I understand.

    But the thought gives me the creeps. I mean, have you read Jane Eyre? Bertha - the mad woman in the attic - burns down the house.

    This is a good challenge for me, Abigail. Thank you.

  2. Lol Bonnie, your comment cracked me up.

    I'll definitely try to take up this challenge! My prayer life has been basically non-existent lately. I go to daily Mass and then use that as a justification for not praying the rest of the day! I have a long way to go! lol

  3. That is so hard! I hear you on the starting over thing. I use to prayer the prayer of meditation/quiet for 1/2 hour a day when I was young and unmarried and thought of so good of myself. But, no it is all out the window and I too am starting OVER.

    All my former spiritual "progress" gone!

    So humbling!

  4. Thank you so much! I'll try to follow from Uruguay, South America.

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  6. I am coming along too!!

    Summer with 6 kiddies home happened to my prayer life...


  7. Bonnie that Jane Eyre image is the very thing I thought about when ever I read that famous St. Theresa of Avila quote. All our distracting thoughts during prayer ARE madness! It's hard because sometimes they are so "convincing": i.e. (I must remember to do the laundry, email a friend, etc.) Everything seems so "important" and "immediate" whenever we settle down in mental prayer--but there is really almost nothing that can't truly wait 15 minutes while we talk to the Lord who made us.

  8. One of the things I love most about Teresa of Avila is how at at peace she was with a mind that was almost never at peace.

    I love the mad woman analogy - I often refer to my brain as the "crazy Cat Lady" in my interior neighborhood. :)