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Praying on the Go
Catholic Mom Book Spotlight on Grace on the Go: 101 Quick Ways to Pray
by Barbara Bartocci
Reviewed by Lisa M. Hendey

As a busy wife and mother, I frequently lament my lack of consistent prayer time.  I recently had a great conversation with a sixty-something year old grandmother, who shared with me about her Morning Prayer ritual.  She described the corner nook in her bedroom where a cozy, overstuffed chair welcomed her each morning for her sunrise meditation.  Tea in hand, she greets each day with an hour long session of spiritual reading, silent meditation and prayer.  Her children are grown and her morning hours are her own to plan - she prioritizes her prayer time at the beginning of each new day.

Despite my best efforts, I must confess to frequently neglecting a long period of prayer and meditation each morning.  That time all too often gets eaten up by parental duties and work, as I race to complete the multitude of tasks that litter a Mom's daily "to do" list in the limited hours of each day.  There never seems to be enough time – intellectually and spiritually I know that prayer is tantamount to what I consider to be a “good day” – it is the key ingredient to my existence.  But unlike my woman friend and her cozy morning ritual, my prayers seem to happen more often “on the fly”.  I call on God frequently each day, but rarely from the seat of a chair.  More often it’s in a parking lot, a supermarket, aside a sports field, or even while I’m brushing my teeth.   I’ve long been concerned about making these prayers “count”, about making them substantive, rather than simply plaintive.   

A new book out from award winning author Barbara Bartocci has breathed fresh air and energy in to my prayer life.  In Grace on the Go: 101 Quick Ways to Pray (Morehouse Publishing, paperback, 98 pages, May 2006), Bartocci acknowledges life’s frantic pace and offers her readers support and encouragement for making active, frequent prayer a part of their lives.  In the beginning of the book, Bartocci describes her own frustration over trying to lead a truly spiritual life.  With the following words, Bartocci hits at the heart of what, in my book, makes her Grace on the Go so special: 

“And I realized that “living spiritually” is not something that exists out there.  It’s a commitment to make our lives – as they unfold – a gift to God.” 

Grace on the Go: 101 Quick Ways to Pray is not like other tomes on prayer I’ve seen – it’s designed to be read in small bits.  From its diminutive 2.6 ounce design to its format of being written in small segments, the book lends itself to any active life.  Tuck it into your purse or diaper bag.  Slip it into the front zipper pocket of your organizer.  Set it in the glove compartment or cup holder of your car.  Then pick it up and dive in.  It doesn’t matter which page you land on when you open the book – you’ll find immediate inspiration and motivation.  I’ve been enjoying and frequently reading it during my daily activities and have found it to be a wonderful spiritual resource.   

In the closing pages of the book, Barbara Bartocci references Mother Theresa's statement that the busier her life became, the greater her need for prayer.  The same holds true for you and I - grace comes in finding moments each day, no matter where life puts us, to turn our hearts to God.

For more information on Grace on the Go: 101 Quick Ways to Pray visit Amazon.

Lisa M. Hendey is a mother of two sons, webmaster of numerous web sites, including http://www.catholicmom.com and http://www.christiancoloring.com, and an avid reader of Catholic literature. Visit her at http://www.lisahendey.com for more information.

 


Author Barbara Bartocci generously shares the following excerpts from Grace on the Go: 101 Quick Ways to Pray We thank Barbara Bartocci and her publisher, Morehouse Publishing, for their generosity.  

Turn Ordinary Tasks into One Minute Prayers
by Barbara Bartocci 

Like a lot of moms, I wished I had more time to pray. For me, it was like losing those last five pounds. I had great plans to do it, but never seemed to get it done.  

Then it occurred to me that living more prayerfully is like any other seemingly daunting task. The way to do it is to break it into bite-size pieces. It’s not something that exists to do “out there” or in only one place (like church). It’s a commitment to make our lives a gift to God as they unfold. So I began looking for practical and imaginative ways to put a spiritual spin on the daily tasks I was already doing.  

I call them one-minute prayers. Maybe these will give you some ideas. 

1.  Give an alarm clock alleluia.  When you alarm goes off, repeat this line from the Psalms: “This is the day the Lord has made. I rejoice and am glad.”  Commit to living in gratitude for the day.

2.  Practice shower power.  As you soap and rinse, pray to be cleansed from any feelings of anger, resentment, bitterness or regret. Recall the words of Isaiah (58:11) “…You shall be like a watered garden, whose waters never fail.”

3.  Practice driveway meditation.  Before starting your car for the morning commute, place your hands lightly on the steering wheel and breathe deeply. Ask God to steer you through your day.

4.  Pump in the spirit. Need gas? As you fill your car, ask God to fill you with loving kindness toward everyone you meet that day. (Yes, even the driver who almost cuts you off as you’re turning out of the gas station.)

5.  Be enthusiastic. Enthusiasm comes from the Greek and means “God within.” Greet projects at work and everyone you meet with enthusiasm. Notice how people brighten in response.

6.  Make a red light act of contrition. Stuck at the light? Use the moment to think about your day. Have you been rude, irritable, or otherwise not lived up to your best? Say a prayerful “I’m sorry.”

7.  Connect at the supermarket.  There is a gift in making eye contact with someone. Make eye contact and smile at the supermarket clerk or the gas station attendant or someone you run into.  Let your eyes say, “I see you. You’re not just a thing to me. I see you.”

8.   Sit quietly with your child at night. Not everyone has a child, but if you do, sit in your child’s darkened bedroom with your arms wrapped tenderly around your sleepy head. Remember that you, too, are held by a loving God.

9.   Trade the 10 p.m. news for vespers. Late night news is full of violence. Don’t go to sleep with violence on the brain. Trade in the news in for quiet time with peaceful music or reading.

10.   Practice night-time TAPS. Offer thanksgiving, show adoration to the creator, petition for your needs, express sorrow if you’ve hurt another in any way. Sleep well. 

These one-minute prayers are excerpted from my new book, Grace on the Go: 101 Quick Ways to Pray (Morehouse Publishing, $9.95, ISBN # 0-8192-2230-5).  It’s a book you can easily tuck into your purse, backpack or diaper bag.
 


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