Tips for Praying

Posted By on November 16, 2019

Hi, my name’s Father Mike Schmitz and
this is Ascension Presents. So people will ask me often, they’ll say things like, “Father, I really want to pray, but I just … do you have any tips on how to do it?” and I say, one: that’s fantastic. You should pray. Number two: absolutely, I do. In fact, I’ve got four tips on how to pray. First thing, I want to say this though, is that you probably know this, like, if you want to pray, if you’re a
Christian, if you’re any kind of believer, you realize that prayer is not an option. Prayer is absolutely necessary, that you can’t be, we can’t be the people that we’re called to be, unless we have like a profound prayer life. We can’t be the saints that we’re made to be unless we have a profound prayer life. And what having a profound prayer life means is putting in the time. Virtually nothing other than that.
It means putting in the time. You already know that. Probably what you’re struggling with is where do I find the time? That’s why the number one question,
all one word, the number one question is: When?
When are you gonna pray? Now here’s the thing: I made a video a little while ago came—what was on the thing, on this page, um, that was When’s Your Bedtime, right? And I had people contact me and say, “Well Father, that’s nice and everything, but like, I’m just a night person. I’m a night person.” Like OK, that’s fantastic. Tell me more about that. And one of the things that I saw, kind of like it seemed like, reading between the lines was this: it’s easy to be a night person because all it means is
you just don’t decide. Super easy to be a night person. You just don’t decide. You don’t decide when you’re going to get up and you
don’t decide when you’re going to go to bed. So therefore, night person because it’s just easy to kind of drift until you have to collapse and go to sleep. You have to make a decision. Not just the decision about when you get up but also the decision about when you go to bed because if you’re going to change this one thing in your schedule, in your day, in your calendar, you’ve got to change other things. Same thing is true when it comes to when are you’re gonna pray. People say this: “No, I decided. I put in my calendar.
It said, ‘Pray at this time,’ and I just, you know, I slept through it, my alarm or I forgot about it or other things came up, and I just wasn’t able to get there. That’s because it was just another “when” on your calendar, just another “when” on your schedule, and if prayer is just another “when” on our schedule, then all of a sudden, prayer takes on all of the importance of cleaning your toilet; it is not important. It’s just another thing. Here’s what you need to do: When you pick your “when” for prayer, it has to become and I’m saying has to, it has to become the thing you build your day around. So if you’re going to get up early for prayer, that means you build the way you go to sleep or when you go to sleep around when you’re going to get up to pray. It begins … it means that you build when you go to work off of when you go to prayer. You’re “when” has to be the thing, for prayer, has to be the thing that defines your day, that defines your day: when. Number 2: Where? Where are you gonna pray? I have people who will say this all the time, they’ll say, “Father, I’ve been trying to pray these days. I have a great “when”, like, I’ve chosen my “when”, but I keep falling asleep in prayer, like what am I supposed to do?
What am I supposed to do?” And I’ll ask them the question like, “Well, tell me more about this kind of thing. I don’t know everything.” And they’ll say, “Well, OK, so what happens is I’ll brush my teeth, you know, I’ll wash my face, I’ll get in bed and start praying, and all of a sudden, I’m just out like a light.” And [I’ll] say, “Look, OK, so I’m not like a spiritual master here, but I kinda think I’ve narrowed it down. I think I figured out your problem. You’re “where” might have something to do with you falling asleep in prayer because horizontal lectio divina often ends up being horizontal ‘sleepy-o the rest of the night’ -dina because laying down in prayer makes you fall asleep. So your “where” makes a difference or people will say like, “I just can’t focus. I’m so distracted in my prayer.” Like, “OK, tell me more. Where do you pray?” “Well, you know, I try to pray at the kitchen table at breakfast when my kids are all getting ready for school, and I’m trying to get all things organized.” Like, “OK, I think again, your “where” needs some work. So “when” but also “where.” Where are you going to be able to pray, where you’re free from distractions, but also not so free from distractions that you fall asleep. Now some people will say, “Well, I need to pray in a church.” Listen, I love prayer in a church. I think praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament is the best, it’s the tops, as they would say back in the day. But, if you can’t get to the chapel or the church every single day, then find another “where.” When. Where. Third question: What? Or like how? What are you gonna do when you pray? Now what happens, a lot of people get all excited about prayer and they say, “You know, someone told me I need to pray the Rosary, so I’m gonna pray the Rosary.” “Someone said I should pray Liturgy of the Hours, so I’m going to pray Liturgy of the Hours.” “Someone said I need to read Scripture so I’ll read Scripture.” “Someone says I need to read the lives of the saints, so I’m going to read the lives of the saints.” You pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and have all these prayer cards and you pray the prayer cards. “I also need to intercede for a ton of people and so I need to do all of these things and I’ve only got … given myself 15 minutes to pray.” Listen, OK. If you only have 20 minutes to pray or 15 minutes to pray, that out of all of those things, you get to choose one. One “what.” One thing that you do during your prayer, and just say, “OK, this is it.” Now, here’s what I invite you to do when you choose that one “what,” is give yourself a season. What I mean by that is, commit to a season. “OK, so I, I think I’m really called to pray the Rosary more.” OK, great, wonderful, awesome.
That’s a great prayer, but give yourself a season. Not just like today, but
“OK, for the next four weeks, I’m gonna pray the Rosary.” The reason for that is because this: Because after four days or so, you’ll be like, “You know what? I think I’m gonna move on to something else.” Like, “No, no. Don’t jump from thing to thing. Just commit to four weeks or whatever that season is because you’re giving yourself commitment but
you’re also giving yourself freedom.” After four weeks, you can look back and say, “OK, was that helpful for me? Was it beneficial for me? Was it good for me?” Yes?
You want to keep going? If “no”, you want to stop? Change to something else? You’re free to do that so your “what”: pick a season. Pick a thing, one thing, and then pick a season,
to commit to that. Your fourth question is maybe the most important and it’s, Why?
Why? Why are you’re gonna pray? Because so many people, we pray because, “I want an answer from God so God, give me an answer.” And that, what we do is, if we want an
answer from God, that’s why we’re praying, and he doesn’t give us an immediate and obvious answer, then we say, “Well my prayer just stinks, my prayer is a failure.”
False! Prayer’s not meant to just, just give us answers. It’s not meant to just give us consolation and peace. It’s meant to create a relationship, to build a relationship with the true and living God. And if I can’t find 20 minutes every day to build a relationship with the God who’s pursuing me, then something is wrong.
My priorities are out of whack. When are you going to pray? Where are you going to pray? What are you going to do when you pray? And why are you praying? You know, when you just show up, the whole battle
is just showing up and being, being there the whole time, to show up and be there for those 20 minutes or those 30 minutes or that hour. Whatever it is, to be there and to develop that relationship with God makes
all of the difference in the world. I guarantee you this. And if you even just give God 20 minutes a day for the next, I’ll say, one year, say for the next five years, imagine your life in 20 years, if you’ve given God 20 minutes every single day. In 20 years, what will your life look like? Remarkable! I mean, in the next 40 days, what will your life look like? You’re called to be a pray-er, so we have to answer these questions, you got to make a decision: when, where, what, and why. From all of us here at Ascension Presents,
my name’s Father Mike. God bless. Oh *snap* *clap* Bonus round! Bonus round.
Bonus round! So one of my good buddies, his name is Father Ben. Father Ben always says this, he says, “The hardest day to pray is the day after the day you forget to pray.” I’ll say that again because I said it really fast. “The hardest time to pray is the day after
the day that you forget to pray,” because you know, like “I’m rolling, I’m doing this thing and like, oh man, I miss the fifth day of my prayer and so like, it’s all done, I’m disqualified.” No, you’re not! You’re not disqualified. Just get back on, get back on that horse and, and ride, cowboy. Or, get back on the kneeler and pray, Christian. *click* *pow*

Posted by Lewis Heart

This article has 100 comments

  1. Hello Fr Schmitz, I have a question if you can, please answer me…
    A family member, that prays a lot, suddenly is having difficulty in praying, heart prayer. the person says that it is very hard

  2. One day this women randomly comes up to me while at work and asks my name and she says “god loves you”, “god bless you”. Then she begins to pray for me right there on the spot and shes holding my hand while doing this….then proceeds to say the angel told me you’ll be the best at whatever it is you do in life.. i was speechless can someone tell me what happened ??? I felt loved after like i felt rejuvenated in a sense

  3. My name is Stephen Samuels, I am the President of the Legion of Mary (LOM) ministry at St. Pius X, Catholic Church, Conyers, Georgia. I want to thank you, Father Mike, for all our "Holy Spirit inspired" Christian beliefs.
    While preparing for my (LOM) meetings I scroll through your videos to pick a topic for our "Allocutio" segment of meetings. My fellow members seem to enjoy/love your weekly allocutio spiritual topic. Thank you for your "God Given insights on our Catholic". You are saving souls for Our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ!

  4. I don't know if this a problem, but whenever I pray and as soon as I feel a connection, I go to sleep. One time I dozed off 6 or 7 times (no I wasn't lying down nor sleepy) in a row. The last time it happen I was at work and was feeling agitated, so I prayed and woke up 5 minutes later from nearly falling over on my face.

    Is this a problem? Should I be worried?

  5. Adoration of the blessed sacrament is the most sacred
    Hour of your life. Deep prayer in meditation with Christ is extremely powerful. He has answered many of my deepest prayers.

  6. Wow! Thank you so much for these tips! I loved the one committing to a season, because sometimes i feel like i want to do everything but then i feel rushed. So that's a great idea! Thank you father! God bless!
    P.S. In the Prayer and Life Workshops we give, we call the time spent in prayer "Sacred Half Hour " because we reccomend 30 minutes of prayer everyday. If anyone is interested in how to start a prayer life go to to learn more about this program.

  7. Get back on that horse cowboy! Get back on that kneeler Christian😂 great video Father Mike Schmitz!

  8. When it’s time to pray and I don’t know what to pray I like to ask God what I need to pray and then like a magic I’m just filled with joy and praise. My busy schedule didn’t allow much time for prayer. So now I make sure my prayer doesn’t allow much time for my busy schedule. Some times I even just have good ol chit chat. Some times you just have to neal and the words will come to you.

  9. In the evening:
    The Litany of The Sacred Heart – 3 times.
    Act of Contrition – 1-3 times.

    During the day – Hail Mary, Lord's Prayer
    and Lord have Mercy, multiple times.

  10. Wow, that is way different than what I was taught.
    You made good points. I need to stop praying in bed.
    This is the way I was taught. It is not a hard fast rule.
    A dore
    C onfess
    T hank
    S upplicate
    I really enjoy your messages. I watch them often.

  11. I can go weeks without praying and yet I did not miss one day of the 20 decades I promised to say during Lent. I did it. Loved it. Yet here I am again. Work life balance in a tailspin, struggling to find time to even catch my breath. Am deciding to pray for time to pray. Everything is better and sweeter when I do it regularly. Life still hard but completely different perspective. God mercy pls n help. Mother Mary help pls

  12. Thank you so much father mike for everything that you do! You are such a kind, loving, and faithful person, and you videos are really helping me to be a better catholic. 😁I admit I havn’t prayed as much as I would have liked to lately, and I haven’t been the nicest person lately, but I want to change that, and become a better person, as well as become closer to God.😊 thank you so much for being such a kind person. I look up to you, and I hope to be as kind and loving as you.

  13. Dear Fr. Mike, I just want others(especially the over 60 crowd) to know that slowing down your video from normal to 0.75 makes a big difference in my understanding of what you are saying. Thank you for all the wonderful videos.

  14. I am born from a Catholic family and conveated to a Muslim later reconverted back to Christianity never to step back again in the milghty name of Jesus Christ I remain a Christian as I was born…. Thank you so muchBrother for leading me through this prayer it's so milghty

  15. What does the Bible say about praying ?

    Jesus said:
    ““And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

    But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. “This, then, is how you should pray: “ ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. ’ For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:5-15‬ ‭NIV‬‬


    The Bible says: (day and night)
    “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”
    ‭‭Joshua‬ ‭1:8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

  16. I’ve had a very strong prayer life since I can remember, even as a young girl, I’ve always felt such a strong connection to God. With that being said, my question I would ask Fr Mike is, “All my life I’ve prayed contently and with all my faith. The past 20 years of my life have been consistently challenging, strengthening my prayer life. But here’s the thing, I never hear from Him or feel His presence anymore. I know we all go through seasons, and I am not expecting immediate answers. This is not something that I feel irritated bc He hasn’t answered my prayer from last night or something. I literally have been through turmoil for 20 years in relationships, money, living conditions, people treating me badly, financial, etc. I pray fervently and…..nothing. I feel nothing and get nothing back. In fact, OTHER people who don’t even pray at all are receiving the exact things I pray for…right in front of me!!!! For 20 years!!!!???” Why!!??!?! This isn’t normal in my opinion. I live my best, love God, give from my heart, pray constantly, devote my love to God, work overtime at my work with no pay as to not inconvenience the next shift, treat everyone with dignity and respect, not getting it back in return, try to improve my life and people pull the rug out from under me every single time I get up. WHY??!?!? I never get answers. I just get, “o sorry, I’ll pray for you”. And even that doesn’t help. Am I cursed?! “

  17. Hey Father Mike, I usually pray on my drive to work or school, but should I choose a different time? I feel like it's a good time for me to be with god, because I can concentrate on prayer with out having to many distractions, but you mentioned in your video that the day should be built off the time you set to pray, and I don't think it meets that, because it's more centered around when I drive. If you could give me your thoughts on this I'd appreciate it.

  18. So when praying we shouldn’t pray for family and friends? We should find a prayer from the Bible? And secondly, I usually pray when I’m in the shower is that a bad thing?

  19. My way of praying is just simply talk to him just like as he is sitting beside me. I tell him eveeything about my hurtaches ,failures, at same time im thankful of all things happened and not happened tome.

  20. If we’re praying for a specific answer and we don’t get the response we are looking for, our prayer was not a failure.

    My favorite song by Garth Brooks is called Unanswered Prayers. Part of the lyrics say, “Remember when you’re talking to the Man Upstairs that just because He don’t answer doesn’t mean He don’t care. Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”

    This rings true for me. My husband and I wanted children and we prayed and prayed. But God didn’t send us any children. Instead, He sent us other people’s children. We have 5 godchildren. I have two great-nieces and seven great-nephews. I taught Religious Education for three years. And I was a public school teacher for eight years, two as a substitute and six as a full time teacher. So God blessed us abundantly with children. They were just other people’s children.

    I am a better godmother, teacher, and great-aunt because I don’t have my own children.

  21. Thanks for the tips. I joke about praying ceaselessly when I, too often, take the Lord’s Name in vain. Not funny, a little funny. Still, there’s always brief bits of time. Brief enough for a “Hail, Mary” even a “Glory be”. I think the important part is the stepping back from the World. I think of it a bit like the instruction to “pray in one’s closet.”

  22. thanks a lot for this specific video, I was kind of lost… and now I am more guided and clear, so thanks a lot father Mike 🙂 best regards

  23. God Knows what You are thinking?! You have already said your prayer! Do you not think He might think it funny to watch you Contrive a prayer? "The Father knows what you Need before you ask." do you not read what Jesus Said?

  24. It grieves me to say that I don't know any other lay person in San Antonio here who prays the Hours. I've been doing this four-volume set since 1986. The daily Seven Hours (you don't have to do all seven) are far more intellectually involved than a Rosary. Although I, too, pray the Rosary, it was designed for the illiterate. Most of us are not. So why aren't more college-educated people praying them and reading church documents of the past 2,000 years (as the first hour offers)? The Hours are also structured in such a way as to invite a routine of prayer. They are the basis of everything else for me in prayer. All seven hours takes me about 40 minutes in daily total.

    Feel free to join me, anybody. I've seen some good deals on Amazon. It's well worth the >$125 investment and could make one feel more obligated to crack down on one's prayer life.

  25. Ummm… I'd like to point out that there's a big difference between speaking to God directly (Holy Ghost), and PRAYING to him. For example I choose SOMETIMES just to speak to him directly, and I will pray as well. So you might be asking….. "What's the difference?", right?

    When Jesus spoke to his disciples HE TOLD THEM HOW TO PRAY. I see a great amount of confusion on this topic. He told them not go on and on babbling as the PAGANS do, thinking that they will be heard by their many words. Then Jesus's disciples asked him then how should they pray? This is where we get The Lord's Prayer from…. Jesus said to pray to God like this (The Lord's Prayer), "for the father already knows what is in your heart."

    Does ANYONE ELSE see a problem here? I have not been to a single church where this prayer was the ONLY prayer they would use. Prayer meetings for example, asking God for whatever is on your minds is contradictory to what Jesus Christ taught. On the other hand…. SPEAKING TO GOD DIRECTLY is an entirely different matter. How many of you have actually taken the time to LISTEN to what The Holy Spirit tells you when you SPEAK TO GOD DIRECTLY? DID YOU EVEN KNOW YOU CAN DO THAT? Ask yourselves this….. When the prophets spoke to The Lord, were they always in prayer? When Jesus spoke to The Father…. was he always in prayer? No.

    Speak to God directly…… if you have ears to listen, The Holy Spirit just might be responding and you didn't even know it……

    Why speak to God directly, and not in prayer? Is it disrespectful? Is it wrong? No, it's not. We will ALWAYS have Jesus as our high priest, the mediator between us and The Father, with The Holy Spirit residing within us. This is an absolutely AWESOME and BEAUTIFUL gift of grace from God where we can just….. SPEAK TO HIM. I would urge anyone to try it and see what happens. Nowhere in Scripture does it say we can not do this, or that we are not allowed to do this. Yet always keep in mind to pray to God The Father in The Lords Prayer as well. He WANTS us to do that. Prayer the way Jesus instructed us to is a very powerful way to commune with God, our Father. Never forget that…… Reeses Peaces, everyone.

  26. Hey Guys if you're out there, say a prayer for me. i'm in the process of showing someone I truly care about what it means to love God and be loved by God. Prayer is one of the first steps in doing so. Please pray for me that I am able to help my significant other in her journey. – Alex

  27. These videos help me a lot in sticking to my faith. I'm going to set myself a 1-year 20-minute a day prayer challenge. Pray for me people!

  28. Having a Rosary ring on my right pointer finger helps me pray any time. I usually carry my great grandmother's rosary in my purse, but having a rosary ring has been very helpful with praying discretely, especially in public.

  29. I am Catholic and I pray mostly to the Lord Of Miracles (Black Christ ) which is Jesus . But I don't see the relevance of praying to saints eventhought I believe in them, since God is everywhere,and is always with me .

  30. Talk to Jesus. Listen. Blessed Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen was once asked what he did when he prayed (he loved praying in the presence of The Eucharist). He said it changed. He said when he was in the Presence of the Eucharist, sometimes they would just relax and look at each other. 🙂 I try to keep my prayer time simple.

  31. Never give up on God because he never gives up on you. One of my favorite stories that my mom told me a long time ago was that there was a man who didn’t know how to pray. Every day he would go to church and simply say “God, I’m here”. He did this all his life. Legend says when he died, God came to him and said “Jose, I am here” 😭 I ALWAYS look back on that. I always make the sign of the cross as soon as I wake up (before getting out of bed) and while in bed ready to sleep. I have the habit of praying throughout the day. Whether it is a formal Hail Mary or an Our Father or simply talking to God like he’s a friend. There are times when I’m driving to/from work listening to music and I feel the urge to talk to God or pray.

  32. Father Mike thank you can you pray for my son vince who's my son hes dealing with family issues and hes got back pain and now high blood pressure please keep him in your prayers thank you so very much.

  33. The "when" slapped me in the face. Putting into perspective that my prayer has the same priority as cleaning my toilet? Wow. Never had thought about it that way. I was offended and shook 😂 Great advice. Thank you.

  34. Me: "I keep trying to do night prayers but I always fall asleep!"
    Fr. Mike: "Have you tried not saying them in bed or curled up on the couch?"
    Me: "…." XD XD XD

  35. Luke 11:1-4 KJVS
    [1] And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. [2] And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. [3] Give us day by day our daily bread. [4] And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

  36. A 20 minute prayer? Do you have examples of prayers? Am I supposed to talk about different things for 20 minutes or repeat the same prayer for 20 minutes? I need examples…

  37. I thought I was the only one who would fall asleep during prayer lol. I’m definitely going to have to change my ‘where I pray’

  38. I love your words. Is there a way to slow the video down? You’re so enthusiastic that you speak so rapidly, I have to stop and replay over and over.


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