How to Turn Up the Temperature on Your Prayer Life

A Bible and a coffee together

How to Turn Up the Temperature on Your Prayer Life


My wife and I were at one of our favourite conferences on the weekend, the New Evangelization Summit.

Though the conference focuses on the call to be missionaries in the world, the theme that spoke to us deeply was the corollary call- to be holy.

Holiness and mission go hand in hand, as Andre Regnier articulates so clearly in his book on the topic. It can feel a little more comfortable to lean into one more than the other, but we are called to be uncomfortable and lean into both!

Like the masculine and the feminine, they are complimentary.

My wife and I both felt convicted at the conference to pray more deliberately in our daily lives. And we spoke a lot about how any inspiration is doomed without resolutions.

If you are reading this post you probably share in our desire to pray more. So let’s make resolutions together.

Here are 3 resolutions that can help anyone pray more in their daily lives:

1) Get up at a set time to pray

Oh the dreaded alarm, right? Why does it make so much sense when you set it at night, and seem totally illogical in the first moments of the day?

I wrestle with this. Being a father of 5 means there are a lot of variables in my sleeping patterns, but more often than not it is quite possible to get up at the alarm.

But I still inwardly rebel!

But let’s think of the why behind praying first thing in the morning:

  • it is the most controllable time
  • it is the most quiet time
  • it frames the day, giving it a sense of its deeper meaning
  • it allows for grace to flow into your day (before you desperately need it!)
  • it let’s you outline your priorities for the day and pray for them
  • it is easier to listen to God’s voice before all kinds of other information have come into your headspace
  • it shows God we feel he is the most important and deserves the “first fruits” of our day
  • it puts me in a better space to deal with whatever happens that day

All this should make it a no-brainer, right? But I still fail a lot. So here are some concrete resolutions:

  • set the alarm at a realistic and strategic time that you can get used to
  • put it in your calendar! Seriously
  • go to bed at a regular time
  • pray right before bed for grace to respond to the alarm
  • read over why you are setting it (see above)
  • set up whatever you need in the morning the night before (eg. clean space to pray; clean coffee maker/mug; Bible/spiritual reading and journal; etc)
  • tell someone else what you are doing, and see if you can find a prayer partner (someone with the same resolution who you can report to and encourage each other)

In his great little book Appointment with God, Fr. Michael Scanlon encourages us to regard morning prayer like we would any other appointment. i.e. prepare what is necessary and show up!

Because God will.

Start Small Tip: Set your alarm now for 20 minutes earlier than you regularly get up.

2) Visit a church at some point of your day

Can you make it to daily Mass regularly? Because that is a big win if you can!

If not, can you make a visit to sit before the tabernacle and pray in the presence of Jesus?

Actor Mark Wahlberg speaks about this commitment:

"I don't go to Mass necessarily every day, but I definitely go to the church every day. That's how I start my day. I like to get in there for about 15 to 20 minutes. Say my prayers."

What does it bring him?

"A very clear focus on what's important, expressing my gratitude for all the blessings that have been bestowed upon me, and a reminder every day of what I need to do, of what I need to focus on, and what I need to stay away from."

Amen to that!

And again, if you want to build your visit to a church into a habit:

  • choose a time that is doable and put it into your calendar
  • bring your prayer journal, spiritual reading
  • have a pen ready and expect God to speak into your prayer time

Start Small Tip: Choose one weekday to go to Mass or visit the Blessed Sacrament and put it in your phone now.

3) Do the evening examen

Right before bedtime, instead of just one more show on Netflix, set a hard stop time on media and look back at the day and how things went. Were you aware or unaware of God’s presence in your day? Did you face challenges or temptations, and how did you respond? Did you see Jesus in the people you encountered? Based on today, what can you thank God for, ask forgiveness for, and ask for grace for for tomorrow?

If this is new to you, there is an app in my list of recommended apps to assist in the practice. My wife loves it.

Start Small Tip: Download the Examen app and set a time to do it tonight.

There are a lot of things you can integrate into your day to turn up the temperature on your prayer life. Devotionals like the Rosary or Divine Mercy chaplet are wonderful for doing in a quiet moment or even on the run. Praying the Hours is a great habit.

But I wanted offer resolutions to encourage an increase in prayer that are doable and not overwhelming. You decide what you want to do to spend more time in conversation with God.

But do yourself a favour and be specific!

When you are praying, say a prayer for me, and I’ll say one for you.

I love those who love me,
and those who seek me diligently find me. (Proverbs 8:17)

PS. a book that really has helped me in this area is Time for God, by Fr. Jacques Phillipe. If you are looking for a good spiritual reading to start with, there it is. 

Any inspiration is doomed without resolutions. — Josh Canning

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