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Deanna Bartalini offers a way to pray with grace and gratitude during difficult times. Download a free grace and gratitude coloring page.

There are seasons in our lives when prayer, though very much needed, is difficult. It is often difficult because we are being pulled in many different directions, or we must focus very closely on a person or situation. I suppose we could say we need a hack: a way to receive the benefits of something while taking some shortcuts. But I dislike the hacks in general, and a prayer hack is not my style. 

I know what I need in my prayer life: silence at the start of every day, for about 40 minutes. Some of you have stopped reading this post because 40 minutes of prayer sounds as much like a fantasy as is going to the bathroom alone. But please, stay with me. If I have those 40 minutes, I pray with Scripture. I pray for a specific grace, read, and then sit in silence. That is a huge simplification, but it is enough for now. 




Lately, there has been lots of life swirling around me that is out of my control but needs my attention. My prayer time is pushed aside to care for those in need. But I still need the grace that prayer gives me. Prayer is why I am able to care for others while not caring much for myself. 


What to do? Ask for the grace!

In Ignatian prayer it is common to ask for a specific grace in each prayer time. I may pray for the grace to have hope or know how much God loves me or that Jesus is with me always. Many times, as I am on my way to deal with an emergency or problem, I pray. Asking for the grace has become part of that prayer. What do I need so I can take care of what is in front of me? I pray for the grace to be gentle. I pray for the grace to see a solution, even if it’s not mine. And then I pray the Memorare on repeat until I reach my destination.  

Praying for grace is asking for what you need in the moment, and Jesus is right there next to you in the moment. He is with us always, not only when we are praying or reading Scripture or in a chapel. It can be easy to forget that and not call on Him. Invite Jesus into the moments. All the moments. Ask Him for help. 




The other part of praying that has been an enormous gift is praying gratitude. I do this in different situations. If I wake in the middle of the night and cannot fall back asleep, I start thanking God for all of my gifts and blessings. Those can range from naming my grandchildren to the ceiling fan to not having to wake up early. I also do this when I am feeling heavily burdened by life. Sometimes, I can become despondent at the turns in my life and where I am. While I fully believe that I am doing what God has called me to, it does not mean it is easy. There are choices made to be present in one area over another. Sometimes, they are sacrifices. And though I do them out of love and true desire, they still can feel like a loss. So, remembering all that I have to be grateful for helps. 

Grace and gratitude can go hand in hand as a way to pray when we feel stretched or a lack of time, energy or focus. It is a way to fill in the gaps until we get back to our prayer routine. Grace and gratitude remind us to turn to God more often, asking and thanking Him for all that we need and have.   

Today, pray for the grace to be present in each interaction, planned and unplanned. And start off your gratitude list with the people who need you the most. 

Download a Grace and Gratitude coloring sheet for moms


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Copyright 2024 Deanna Bartalini
Images: Canva