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Catholic Spiritual Direction

I talk to God all day… Is it really necessary to have dedicated prayer time?

January 8, 2010 by  
Filed under Dan Burke, Prayer, Reader Feedback

Dear Father Joseph, I pray frequently on a daily basis. I constantly talk to God during my work. However, a friend recently told me that I should also be spending dedicated time on a daily basis for prayer. Is this really necessary if I already pray as I mentioned? Isn’t it enough that I regularly talk to God at work?


Maybe we have to approach this question from a different angle: if you love someone, how much time should you spend with them?

Love knows no “necessity” and is ignorant of the word “enough”. Love is pure generosity and self-giving. Instead of asking if what you already are praying is “enough” and if it is “necessary” to do anything else, ask yourself what you need to do to maintain your love for God living and fresh. There is no one set answer. God moves each soul according to its possibilities.

That said, it is very laudable to pray constantly and to talk with God throughout the day. In a world filled with so much noise, this takes a lot of effort – an effort few are willing to give. It is very important to remember that we are temples of the Holy Spirit, that the Holy Trinity resides within us (when we are in a state of grace) and that He is always speaking to us. To pray, to lift our mind and heart to him often, will make of God a best friend and companion. I recommend that you never lose this habit and even intensify it if you can. Our Lord has blessed you with a wonderful grace.

Setting time aside for prayer in a quiet place is also important because it allows us to go deeper in our relationship. What couple doesn’t need and long for quality time to be alone with each other? The same is true for our relationship with Christ. And remember, he himself reminded us in the Gospel that when we pray, we should go into our room and shut the door and pray. We need to shut out the din created by worries and distractions of our busy lives and concentrate only on Him.

With that said, I think a simple answer to your question would be, if you can manage it, then please do make some time to be alone with Christ in a silent place. But, don’t feel any pressure. Do whatever you can and whatever you feel in your heart that Christ is asking you to do. Speak to Christ directly. Ask him what he thinks.

A brother or a nun has ample time during the day for these quiet times. Depending on the spirit of the congregation, it could be anywhere from one hour to ten. An active mom with several small children might not be able to find more than a few minutes a day.

Whatever time you decide on in the end, remember that Christ is very happy with any time that you give him and that for every step we take towards him, he takes many more toward us.

Yours In Christ, Father Joseph Burtka, LC

PS from Dan: For ideas on how to continue to build your life of prayer, check out “Prayer Primer: Igniting a Fire Within” by Fr. Thomas Dubay.

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the founder of Catholic Spiritual Direction, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, and author of the award winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God. Beyond his “contagious” love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN’s National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN’s Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • Guest

    A wonderful reply you have given here Father. I guess the best time I love is the daily Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament in the Adoratioln Chapel before the Eucharistic Celebration. For those who can find time for this Hour, they will find it the best way to really enter into that personal convesation with our Saviour

  • Sharon

    I have had this same question in the past and what I can say from experience is that although talking to Him all day long is wonderful and does keep the relationship and friendship open, but it’s nothing compared to the spiritual growth I’ve experienced when I make the committment to a specific day/time on a regular basis… especially in regard to uncovering “roots” to vices or bad habits or blocks. Fr. Bartunek column titled “A Simple Guide to Christian Meditation” actually describes it great and helped to produce much good fruit… Thanks for such a great website.

    • Dan Burke

      Thank you for your encouragement and example. God bless.

  • joy

    Some people in the different stages of their life practice different forms of prayer, it can be helpful to have this style of prayer and it is incredibly life changing. Like Father mentioned do whatever CHRIST is asking you to do. It’s important we remember there are as many paths to heaven as there are people.

  • Angela

    I felt the same way before — that my general prayerfulness was enough of a spiritual life until I started listening to people and reading books that were telling me otherwise. The Catechism said it best: “But we cannot pray “at all times” if we do not pray at specific times, consciously willing it. These are the special times of Christian prayer, both in intensity and duration.” 2697
    Waking early to carve out some special time to pray has been a huge blessing to me and I have also started creating times in the middle of the day. When you hear how many times in Scripture Jesus ‘went away to pray’ you have to think — if He needed to do that, all the more must I! He must have easily been able to remain connected to his Father and yet He gave dedicated time to prayer.
    My next project is creating a special space for prayer (the Catechism calls that a personal or family oratory).

    • Dan Burke

      Angela – great feedback. We have two altars in our home – both dedicated spaces for prayer. It really helps to enter into a space like this, specially prepared, to draw our hearts to Christ through the use of special physical environments etc…