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I find it really hard to pray. Do you have any suggestion?

Don't think of prayer like an activity; something you need to do, an item on your check list. Prayer is a visit to friend, a time spent with someone who loves you, where the language of love is not centered in your senses or emotions but in the depth of your spirit. Therefore, prayer is foreign to most of us and you must be patient, learning its language slowly.
Here is one recipe that works well. This is a suggestion. There are many other ways and feel free to adapt this to your needs, but do not adapt it until you understand what you are doing.

  1. Set aside a minimum of 15 minutes every day with the firm intention of working your way up to one hour, as the Lord permits. God's grace works differently in each and everyone of us. Some will be able to pray for one hour or more within six to nine months. Others might struggle for years. What is important is to be faithful to prayer and let the Lord do the rest. Now, I recommend 15 minutes to take away all those silly excuses we are so good at fabricating (I was too tired, I need my sleep, I don't have time, I am too busy etc, etc.)
  2. Choose a quiet room with a comfortable sitting position. Posture is important and you need to be comfortable but not so comfortable as to fall asleep. Stand if you prefer. Kneel if you are comfortable kneeling.

    No noise please. This means no music, no TV, no cell phones, no phones, no one talking around you, no cars going buy incessantly. In one word, a place that is as close to silence as can be. This is very important so do not ignore it.  In most cases this means that it is either very early in the morning or very late at night.

  3. Make sure you have a watch, clock, or timer you can use to measure the passage of time. If you have set aside 15 minutes, it better be 15 minutes, no less. We cannot treat the Lord in a manner less than we treat each other.
  4. Start by reciting the Glory Be and the Our Father. Do it slowly. Pause when you get to "as we forgive those..." and ask the Holy Spirit to show you all those whom you need to forgive and all those who need to forgive you.

    Forgive the first and ask those who need to forgive you, that is picture yourself standing in front of them, and ask them to forgive you. Whenever it is possible and practical to do so ask them by phone or in person to forgive you. I do not mean while you are praying but sometime after -- preferably the same day.

  5. Pick up your Bible and read for two to three minutes. I do not recommend that you open to a random page. Start with the Gospel of Saint Matthew and work your way through the Acts of the Apostles. If you find the Letters of Saint Paul accessible, then go ahead and dive into them, but heed Saint Peter's warning when he writes in his second letter that in all Saint Paul's letters there are some things hard to understand that the ignorant and unstable distort to their own destruction, just as they do the other Scriptures. So do not feel embarrassed if you do not understand everything Saint Paul is talking about; instead, join the club.

    If you pray for 30 minutes or more you can afford to spend more time in reading, but beware of turning prayer into reading time, so limit your reading to no more than 10 minutes (when you are praying for 30 minutes or more). Usually two or three minutes is enough time to read a chapter in the New Testament. Read, but do not rush; this is not a race. Force yourself to slow down. Most of us are accustomed to read everything at the speed we read newspapers, but Scripture cannot be read that way. Read attentively as if you are hearing someone else read it to you; as though you were listening to the Teacher. When a word, a sentence or an image grabs you, linger over it and ask questions -- simple questions.

    Say you are reading the Annunciation, some of the simplest (yet most rewarding questions) are of the sort "Did St. Gabriel stand or kneel?", "How did our Lady react?", "How did he look at her? With a stern countenance? With joy or with admiration?", "Was Mary afraid of him and, if not, why not?" Asking these simple down-to-earth questions deepens our understanding of the faith in more ways than we can imagine.

  6. Put the Bible down and close your eyes. This may seem like a little detail but it is of capital importance. Close your eyes and think about what you have just read. If the Spirit carries you keep on going, but if you find yourself straining under the effort, read another (short) passage and then go back to your prayer.
  7. If you find yourself dozing off or if your mind strays from prayer, do not worry about it. The Lord is watching and he sees your intention, your sincerity and your love. Prayer is not a performance; it is a whisper, a moment of love.

Above all, be faithful to your prayer. It is your way of telling the Lord that you are serious about this relationship. Do not worry if you fall asleep or if you are distracted or if you cannot get yourself to meditate. You are not praying for yourself. You are praying to give Jesus your love.  Don't grade your prayer based on how you feel; that's silly because it would be like a man who grades his love for his wife based on how his workday went. The quality of your prayer is known by the fruits it produces: good fruits (increase in virtues), good prayer. If you have bad fruits (no increase in virtues) you need to take an honest look at your prayer life. In all things, remember that we do 0.5% and Jesus does the rest, but this 0.5% is our way of saying "I love you" and He who loved us unto death accepts it and does the rest.

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