Reviewing Our Prayer Lives as the New Year Approaches


AT the end of the year many systematically review a number of key life areas: from one’s finances to one’s health, from one’s relationships to one’s vocational choices.   Many who do not have such major decisions often review the past year’s success and failures, often in preparation for making some kind of New Year’s resolution. Whether this Christmas finds you contemplating large decisions or simply reviewing the past year, let us here at the Strugglin’ offer you one more point to reflect on in preparation for the New Year, that is your prayer life.


When was the last time, if ever, did you complete an end of the year systematic review of your prayer life? It is an interesting question to ask, given the spiritual and holy nature of the season. Advent is a season when Catholics are invited to prepare our hearts that we may receive our God and King anew this year. For Catholics as with all people of faith, prayer is one of the fundamental core spiritual practices that supports and deepens both our relationship with God and love for others. Knowing this, regularly evaluating our prayer life in some manner seems to make sense if we are planning to spiritually grow in the coming year. Away of preparing our hearts to receive the Lord anew this year is simply to do an honest review one’s prayer life.


Evaluating one’s prayer life can be as easy as examining when and what times one pray: upon waking? During the morning drive or commute… in the bathroom while dressing… before breakfast…. at night reviewing the day in light of our blessings and sins, etc.… The Strugglin’ suggests linking prayer to daily tasks in order to integrate prayer throughout one’s day. One can also evaluate what and how one prays: what do I pray for? …who do I pray for? …do I pray orally with traditional prayers or do I also talk to God using my own words? …do I talk all the time or do I also give God equal time by listening? …do I pray using the scriptures? …when praying in/with the community, what helps and what challenges my prayer experience?


Evaluating both what and how one prays and when and what times one prays can help uncover the various prayer routines, themes, agendas and habits that we have formed. By prayerfully and honestly evaluating this knowledge of ourselves and our prayer life, we will not only be preparing our hearts to better receive and worship the gift of Jesus that God seeks to give this Christmas, but also to share God’s love more fully with others this new year.


Author: P. J. West, Jr.

Paul J. West Jr. is a cradle Catholic and native Chicagoan who has ministered in Catholic Schools, parishes and hospitals for over two decades. His current ministries are focused on both hospital chaplaincy and writing. Prior to this, he ministered as an educator for almost twenty five years teaching religion, scripture, philosophy and ethics at four Chicago area high schools and adults at the Chicago Catholic Scripture School. His parish ministry has included preaching, teaching, writing and serving as a Eucharistic minister. Mr. West, who is native south sider, has been married for almost 30 years to Dr. Joy West. They have raised four beautiful daughters who are all hardcore Bears and White Sox fans!!!!

2 thoughts on “Reviewing Our Prayer Lives as the New Year Approaches”

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