If we expect young people to discover God’s will for them then we must teach them how to speak with Jesus in times of silent prayer. In order to prepare ourselves for regular conversation with the Lord where he can speak to us, we need to answer a few questions.
When? This is often the question we struggle to answer the most I think, or at least we struggle to answer it with consistency. The key is to pick a time and stick to it. The morning is typically the best time because the day hasn’t started yet, and we don’t have a thousand issues running through our heads. If you are like me and you are not a morning person, that doesn’t mean you can’t pray in the morning, it just means you might pray a little later than others do, and that’s ok! Just pick a time that’s realistic for you with your schedule and stick to it!
Where? Another question that we can struggle to answer or to have consistency with. It is vital to have a space that is set apart in order to spend time in prayer. This doesn’t have to be your local parish or adoration chapel, but that would be a great place to choose. The key is that it needs to be a quiet space and anything in the room needs to help you bring your mind to God (icons, crucifix, etc.) rather than staying in the things of the world (computer screen, music, etc.). It may be tempting to play ‘mood music,’ but I wouldn’t, even sacred music like chant. We need to learn that being in silence is ok, and though it feels that we are alone, we aren’t – the Lord is here to meet us.
How? Here’s my starter kit – your Bible, a journal and 20 minutes. Read a passage from Scripture slowly, then read it slowly one more time. What word, phrase, action of a character, etc. sticks out to you. (Example: I’m reading about the storm at sea and the fear of the apostles sicks out to me) – talk to Jesus about why that word, phrase, action, etc. is affecting you. Talk to Jesus for about five minutes, or until you’ve said all you want to say. Then allow the silence to come back into your heart and wait for the Lord to respond. Sometimes he responds with a feeling or a thought that bubbles up, sometimes you’ll feel nothing, but this is all about consistency. It is about allowing God the space to act in your life. After your time of silence, write in your journal what you spoke to Jesus about and what you think he said back to you.
Please share this article with a young person in your life and encourage them to enter into daily prayer and encourage them by your own example of daily prayer.
– Father Nick Adam, vocation director
(Read about our current seminarians and their inspirational vocation stories at https://jacksondiocese.org/seminarians. Father Nick Adam can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)