How to Start Praying (without even trying!)

Let’s be honest: starting a habit of prayer is tough. 

There is a reason the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. It’s hard to know if you are following the right steps or saying the right words. And beyond the actual act of praying, there is the discipline of finding a time and a place to pray. If you’ve ever tried to start a prayer habit, then you’ve probably had that moment lying in bed half-asleep at the end of the day when your eyes shoot open and you think, “Oh no! I didn’t pray today!”

If you’re going to establish a habit of prayer, you’re going to have to start simple and stick to it. Here are two tricks for getting your prayer going. 

First, set an alarm on your phone or watch, and bonus points if you can give the alarm a special ring tone!

Throughout history, every day at 12 p.m., church bells have rung. That’s because a long time ago the Church figured out that people need to be reminded to pray. You can do the same for yourself! Set your alarm for noon every day – perhaps to sound like church bells – as a reminder. You may want to pray the Angelus, a traditional noontime prayer, and other days the Hail Mary. Point is, take the work out of having to remember to pray. 

Want to pray first thing in the morning? Change your alarm ringtone. You’ll wake up confused (“Why does my alarm sound different?”) until you remember you are supposed to pray. This will save you from that awkward moment when you’re brushing your teeth and remember that you forgot to pray. 

Second, stick to pre-written prayers (at least for a little while!)

When Jesus’ disciples asked him how to pray, he answered with the Our Father. Don’t let the devil fool you into thinking this is somehow less of a prayer because you can say it from memory! The Hail Mary, the Glory Be, the Our Father: these prayers are weapons – tried and true – that have helped people build habits of daily prayer. 

As you start your pledge to pray a minute for peace, justice and goodwill in our country, consider using these two tricks to make it stick. Set an alarm for noon each day – or change your morning alarm ringtone – to remind you to pray. When that reminder goes off, pray the Pray A Minute prayer. Before you know it, you’ll have prayed countless minutes (and contributed to one million hours) of prayer!


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