In a scene from the movie The War Room Miss Clara (Karen Abercrombie) asks Elizabeth (Priscilla Shirer) to describe her faith. Elizabeth says she’s like “most people” with faith that is neither red hot nor ice cold, but lukewarm. At this point, Miss Clara hands Elizabeth a cup of lukewarm coffee which Elizabeth almost spits out.
The point is well made.
It also hits home.
Had I been asked what my prayer life was like years ago, I’d have said something similar to Elizabeth. I’d have felt “better than most” yet proud not to be a “Bible thumper.” Today, I’m not qualified to be called a Bible thump and know “better than most” is a relative term and not a worthy goal. If you’re better than most, you might be wallowing in your own mediocrity without even knowing it and should seek relationships that bring you to the next level.
You might be living lukewarm.
I sure was!
The War Room writers may not have realized warnings of lukewarmness are repeated, not only in the Bible, but in messages given to Catholics by the saints, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and by Jesus to Saint Faustina in His message of His Divine Mercy. While Jesus desires us to join Him in His Merciful Love, He also tells us very clearly that the souls who cause Him the most suffering are those who are lukewarm, and He will spit them from His mouth.
Like lukewarm coffee perhaps.
And I thought I was being “good enough” or “better than most” by being lukewarmish.
Having a lukewarm prayer life might have been my mission statement.
Slowly, I realized weekly Mass wasn’t enough. I realized prayers we laughed through at the dinner table were more about family bonding than grateful thanksgiving. I realized my feelings of dejection and confusion when I’d asked my husband to do something faith related and he didn’t have time, couldn’t be bothered, or thought they ere stupid were self centered. My husband wasn’t just rejecting me but the faith Christ calls Men to.
I realized that if my children rejected Christ or lived a lukewarm faith, that mark would be, in part, on me. I had chosen a man of minimal faith to be their father. Worse, I’d given them an example of lukewarm faith by following my husband’s ways (and my own too!) instead of God’s. How could I overcome that?
Moving From a Lukewarm Faith
For me, daily prayer began with reading the Bible. YES, Catholic do read the Bible! I’d sit every morning with my Bible, journal, and light and sweet coffee quietly enjoying the Peace and solitude of “Coffee with Jesus.”
In the Bible, I found messages on everything from, parenting and families, to divorce and dating, and – Get this! – How to Act, which quickly became one of my favorite go-to journaling topics.
It turns out Life really does come with an instruction book; it’s called the Bible! Who knew?
Starting each day with the Word of God centered me, taking me from shaking and shattered to peaceful and hopeful. I learned there was so much more I should be doing, and prayer was a big part of that! ,
Next I began saying Good Morning to God before even getting out of bed each morning.
I then spent time each month in Adoration, trying to answer Jesus’ call to stay with Him in the Garden of Gethsemane. It wasn’t easy. Like a toddler, I brought my “Adoration Bag” to entertain me if I got bored.
After a while, I needed distractors less and enjoyed sitting in peace with the Lord more. I seldom wanted to leave, but as a single mom, even on weekends “off” I rarely had time for sitting! I was called to be in this world for a short time. I had to lgo out to meet it, not sit in Adoration for hours.
This meant prayer had to move beyond the Sanctuary.
Praying the Rosary was a chore until I found the Laudate app and the Scriptural Rosary and things started to click. I’d already identified with the Bible; when I understood each bead represented a Bible verse the Rosary came to life!
I began to love the Rosary but loving the Rosary and finding time for it are different things. Most days I wake just after 5 and go to bed around midnight. Finding 20 minutes to sit and pray isn’t reality most days no matter how hard others try to make me believe I should just tried harder.
What else could I do? I can’t find 20 minutes to sit and pray, but I can find 20 minutes to prepare dinner, to drive my boys from place to place, to shower, and to take an occasional walk or run. I could pray the Rosary then.
I completed my Consecration to Jesus through Mary and discovered a love of the Rosary grew. When will I learn, Nothing is impossible with God?
More importantly, at the first meeting, we were told to hand over all our prayers and graces obtained through suffering to Mary and allow her to distribute them where they were most needed. We were to trust her and our Lord this much! Consecration wasn’t easy, but when I understood this surrender of all to God and submitting myself and my children to total trust in Him, I understood the power of praying for those who need it more than I do.
I began praying the Rosary not for my own intentions or those of anyone I knew, but for whoever Mary and Jesus wanted those prayers to go to. I was filled with a Peace greater than I’d ever had prayer for my own desires when I handed even my beloved children over to the Mother of our Savior so she could lead them to Jesus and the Trinity far better than I ever could!
I knew I was leaving lukewarm faith far behind when I began praying a daily Rosary for those I won’t meet on Earth, but I found it wasn’t enough. I trusted the eternal salvation of loved ones to those more powerful than I, but there were very real and very worthy earthly desires my children and others had too. I wanted to pray for them, not out of obligation or fear but out of love! I began praying a second Rosary for them too. It turns out I do a lot of chauffeuring kids and can get a lot of prayers in while driving.
I read a piece in which the author spoke of her Grandmother reciting the Rosary throughout the day, a set of beads constantly clutched in her hands. When the author asked how many Rosaries the Grandmother said during the day, the Grandmother replied that she didn’t know but that she said one for each of her 14 grandchildren! (If this is your piece let me know so I can link to it!) I wanted to be that Grandmother for my children. I wanted them to remember me as a praying woman and a Rosary praying woman even more!
I took to heart a piece by Tony Agnesi in which he talks of stopping and praying in the moment rather than keeping prayers and time frames vague. I began stopping when I received prayer requests and praying immediately even if those prayers had to be brief.
I continued the Catholic school tradition of praying for my students after the Pledge into my public school classroom where, after the Pledge and unbeknownst to students, I touch the medals around my neck and ask the Lord to protect and guide my students throughout the day. I ask Him to help me see the face of Jesus in each of their little faces especially when patience is runnrunsthin.
How do I pray in every day life? How do I not? I remember sitting in the courthouse being forced to go through a divorce I didn’t understand and never wanted and looking up at the words, In God We Trust. Yes, In God We Trust, but if we don’t spend time communicating with Him both in verbal and silent prayer, if we don’t teach our children, and model this for others, how can we say we really know God to trust God?
I no longer live a lukewarm faith. My faith is stronger than I ever knew possible. I truly try to pray without ceasing, but I am becoming more aware of the faults and how far I still need to go. Before I thought I was “good enough.” Now I know I will never be good enough, but I am increasingly at Peace. Jesus, I trust in You, and through prayer throughout the day, I will keep turning to you.
I’m still amazed by how I lived lukewarm without even knowing it, how God calls us to pray without ceasing, and how easy it is to pray even in the midst of life. Prayer is not always a sit down quietly and pray in alone time with the Creator. It’s not always a gathering of two or three or thousands.
How can you pray in your every day life?
While researching the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima, I found this quote of Sister Lucia who said it best,
“Since we all need to pray, God asks of us, as a kind of daily installment, a prayer which is within our reach: the Rosary, which can be recited either in common or in private, either in church in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament or at home, either with the rest of the family or alone, either when traveling or while walking quietly in the fields. A mother of a family can say the Rosary while she rocks her baby’s cradle or does the housework. Our day has 24 hours in it. It is not asking a great deal to set aside a quarter of an hour for the spiritual life, for our intimate and familiar converse with God.”
I’d love to hear how you pray in your every day life! Let me know below.
I’m participating in the CWBN hop with Allison Gingras. Check out the other great posts on this month’s theme: Everyday Prayer
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