Good prayer advice for priests

“Get to bed early so that you can get up early to pray: as a priest you will either pray in the morning or you will not pray at all.”  Fr. Richard Tomasek, SJ

Do those of you who are lay readers also find this to be true?

10 Responses to Good prayer advice for priests

  1. Michael Williams says:

    All too true.

  2. Jen says:

    I’ve actually found that I seem to pray better at night. My spiritual director found this very odd, however, and said that I was the only one he knew who was that way. To each his own, I suppose.

  3. Hi Nathan,

    Just wanted to say I’ve been reading some of your stuff here and at vox nova and I appreciate your perspective.

    As I lay person I don’t find this to be true in my case. I am not really a morning person. I wish I could be a little more disciplined about that, but I do manage to keep a small but steady prayer life going at night.

    I have one request. It would be nice to start a lively discussion about prayer on this blog, and I’d be eager to hear your thoughts along with the thoughts of the other contributors. I know I have many difficulties and questions concerning prayer; I’m sure others do too. Maybe if we can learn something, surfing the web won’t be such a waste of time.



  4. Joe Johnson says:

    yes. I agree with this completely and it has been the advice of every spiritual directory i’ve had. Pray in the morning or you won’t pray.

  5. crystal says:

    “you will either pray in the morning or you will not pray at all.”

    That’s the same advice given for exercising 🙂 I end up saying pruaers at different times during the day but especially before I go to sleep.

  6. Henry says:

    Over time, I have come to realize that an important aspect of prayer for me is the conscious acknowledgment that “”I”, in this moment, am not making myself” and I quickly forget this if I don’t continually cultivate a loving gaze on the One who loves and sustains me. And so I try to begin my day with a period of silence, followed by the Office, and then participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. When I don’t do this, I diminish the link between memoria and praesentia.

    Pax Christi,


  7. I guess even though for a while I thought that I could pray at any time during the day, I ended up realizing that I was only actually consistently praying on a good regular basis for a significant amount of time in the mornings. So I ended up resigning myself to becoming a morning person despite the protestations of my unmortified flesh.

  8. Sara Bickley says:

    I’ve found this to be true in a kind of complicated, deconstructed way. I’m in the habit of saying only a brief prayer in the morning, and doing my “devotions” in the evening — but the longer I sleep in, the later I say that first prayer, the harder I find it to pray fruitfully later on. Dunno why.

  9. Matthew says:

    I don’t pray for a lengthy time in the mornings, but it is a necessary touchstone for me to set the tone of the day. When I delay it, or skip it, my evening prayers are often more difficult, because my mind has been elsewhere from the get-go.

    That being said, my evening prayer time is longer and more soul-searching than my morning prayers – I just have difficulty doing one without the other.

  10. Joe says:

    I also pray better at night. I do pray matins as soon as I get up in the morning, though I do most of my serious prayer at night – usually just after midnight, in fact. I have known a number of priests who were on similar prayer schedules, so Fr. Tomasek’s advice fails in empirical terms. I also don’t believe that this advice is really good for everyone – if you’re not a morning person, it’s likely to be very hard to pray well in the morning. If a priest (or anyone else) is consistently able to make time to pray at the end of the day, what’s wrong with that?

    I don’t mean to attribute this specifically to Fr. Tomasek, but I often kind a distasteful sort of moralism in comments like the one quoted – the implication seems to be that to be a good person or to do as you ought you have to live according to an “early to bed, early to rise” pattern. Thus, it’s implied that not being a morning person is somehow a moral failing. On the contrary, I would argue that some of us are simply wired in such a way that we function better when we go to bed later and rise later than “morning people” would have us do.

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