I have intentionally tried to plan my prayer time this Lent; each day, I sit down for a set 10-15 minutes of quiet reflection.
This has been helpful for a number of reasons, the most evident being that the discipline of actually designating a time to pray is the surest way to make sure I will actually do it. If I only meditated when I was in the mood or otherwise felt moved to do so … well, I would probably be able to count my “higher power” exchanges on one hand.
While visiting my grandparents’ house yesterday, I was browsing one of their guest bedrooms when I felt a sudden urge to pray. I only had a few moments before I would rejoin my family, but I swiftly knelt, said a few words and left the room.
The whole experience probably lasted a minute, maybe less. But those 60 seconds felt more meaningful and, frankly, holy than the 12 minutes I dedicated to quiet meditation later in the day.
I am not suggesting those pre-appointed prayer sessions are unimportant; again, they are a useful way to actually maintain a regular prayer life. But forming them is not the end all be all. I also think it is essential to see other, more spontaneous opportunities to pray as a door to something deeper, even if it is a prayer that only takes a moment.