What can you do in just 10 minutes?
I did a quick inventory from the past week and came up with a few answers:
• Change the sheets on the bed
• Unload the dishwasher
• Steam clean the kitchen floor
• Call my parents on the phone
• Iron my clothes for the following day
You could probably create a similar list if you had to. It’s actually kind of amazing when you think about it. Much of the time, I tend to underestimate what can be done in just ten minutes
A question I’ve been thinking about lately relates to this. Can you build a meaningful prayer life on just ten minutes a day?
The answer surprised me.
Let’s compare prayer to physical fitness. If you asked the same question, (Can you get fit in just 10 minutes a day?) would you get the same answer? Yes and no. And, it depends.
Yes, you could get fit (or at least more fit) by dedicating 10 minutes every day for brisk physical activity. Do this over and over again and you’ll have built a steady habit of fitness. Will this propel you towards olympic competition? Most likely not. Will you develop six-pack abs in just 10 minutes a day? Perhaps...
Now turn it over to prayer and the 10 minute question. Will you become a saint by giving just 10 minutes a day to the Lord? Probably not. It will likely take you more time and a lifetime of devotion and service. But can (here’s the six-pack abs element) you build a strong foundation of prayer in just 10 minutes a day?
I think you can.
Prayer is not so much about minutes but about routine and momentum and honest dialogue with God. If 10 minutes can help you with that routine and stronger relationship with God, it might be just the thing to focus on in the coming month.
You can do a lot in just 10 minutes a day. God can do even more than we imagine in that same block of time, given over to him faithfully each day.
To be clear, this is not about speed or about rushing through prayer. While Jesus did recommend brevity (Matthew 6:7), it’s of course good if you can spend more than ten minutes in prayer. We’re talking about the basics and about foundational habits. Saint John Paul II said, “Become a saint, and do so quickly,” but he didn’t mean that we ought to hurry when we pray. Rather, he meant for us to sense the great love God has for us and respond accordingly.
I’m mindful too of this quote from St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, “He who prays most receives most.” Give God your 10 minutes and let Him do the rest. Over time, these moments will expand and then spill over into the other minutes in your day.
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