Andreas Widmer, now involved in global international business, learned as he observed Pope John Paul II during the two years he served as a Swiss Guard at the Vatican. In “The Pope & The CEO,” he offers practical tips for prayer. Here is an abbreviated version:
1. Be aware. Before you pray, focus on the fact that God is present and listening.
2. Slow down. When reading the Scriptures or other religious writing, don’t race from passage to passage. Treat the reading like a love letter from God. Savor the text, and ask God to help you understand the connection between the words on the page and the circumstances in your life and heart.
3. Praise always. Don’t take God’s goodness or love for granted. Thank him by acknowledging all that he is and all he’s done for you.
4. Tell him you’re sorry. You don’t have to wait for confession to examine your conscience. Make a habit of doing this nightly. Then express contrition to God and ask for the grace to do better the next day.
5. Be attentive. Listen for God’s voice in your soul.
6. Plan for prayer. Don’t let a day go by without making time for God. Schedule a daily appointment with God and never miss it. Cultivate a rhythm of prayer throughout the day. Before beginning difficult tasks, pray “Lord, come to my assistance.”
7. Pray in all things. Make your life a prayer by making a gift of yourself. Every time you make a sacrifice great or small, say silently, “Lord, I give this to you.”