Maintenance Prayer


As the new year starts, I turn to cleaning and decluttering as usual. Living in the Midwest, it seems to make sense to focus on deep cleaning and decluttering during the cold winter months. In my mind, I will eventually get the house to the point of “easy” maintenance. We’ll figure out the “perfect” system for filing and organizing for our family. However, our needs keep changing! We find that place, and someone starts a new sports season or a new school or a new extracurricular activity.  With six active children and one on the way, reaching the place of only having to “maintain” our home is probably a pipe dream for now. I need to file it away under “someday” and enjoy the moment.

Decluttering and cleaning is definitely necessary even now in the middle of the “snowstorm” of a growing family. It is absolutely a must. And not just for me, but for the entire family. One or two days of falling out of routine, and we all feel the consequences- things misplaced or buried, papers everywhere, dishes and laundry piles taking the place of countertops and beds.

A few years ago, I felt that I had found a good place in my prayer and faith life. We said the rosary daily as a family and found the time to pray before each activity. It felt like a good “maintenance” place to be.

Quickly, I realized that maintenance in prayer life can lead to a dry place spiritually.  While saying the rosary, my mind would wander to what we were having for dinner or how I needed to stop at the grocery store for something.  Then I would feel guilty about my lack of focus. Eventually, I would miss saying a prayer here or there, avoiding it because of my lack of focus.

When we rely on doing the basics and not growing in our faith, spiritually we begin to wither. Maintenance in faith is only a foundation. Constant striving to know God better, to grow closer to Him in faith, is necessary for faith to be maintained.  Just as our system of organizing needs to be changed and tweaked as our family changes and grows, our prayer life and faith life need to evolve constantly so that we don’t move ourselves away from God.

Evolving in our faith life helps us to see that God is always there with us. When we begin to feel spiritual dryness, we have moved too far away from His Spring of Life. He has not moved or changed. We have.

For I, the LORD, do not change, and you, sons of Jacob, do not cease to be.  Since the days of your ancestors you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, that I may return to you, says the LORD of hosts. Malachi 3:6-7

Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers: all good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change. James 1:16-17

Please, Lord, show me where I need to grow and change to remain and grow ever closer to You in this coming year. I ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

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