This week we’ll look at what happens when our prayer becomes too routine. Frequently people who are experienced in prayer find that they tend to get in a rut. For example, let’s say that every morning you pray with the Daily Gospel reading. Now, I’m choosing that example because it’s something I do myself, and I think it’s a great practice. But if you’ve done that for months or even for years, it can start to feel a little stale. Then it becomes less something you look forward to and more of a burden.
There’s nothing wrong with setting a particular practice aside for a time and trying something else. Maybe you could pray with the psalms. Or maybe take a book of spiritual reflections and let that invite you into prayer. Or maybe you could just sit quietly in God’s presence.
These situations are the same as with any relationship. For example, if all you ever did with a friend was see a movie every Friday night, week in and week out, month in and month out, things might start to feel a little stale, even cold. And anyone would tell you, “Just try to do something different.” It doesn’t mean that you’re any less devoted to your friend, just that you need to shake things up a bit. It’s sometimes the same with prayer.
So if things seem a bit routine, shake things up. Just don’t leave out the Daily Examen!