Friar gives talk on prayer, importance of routine, community

Photo by Liam Pope

Theresa Balick

Staff Writer

A Franciscan Friar of the Renewal said that building a solid prayer life takes routine in a talk Wednesday in Christ the King Chapel, filled with over 100 students.

“Sincerity is not enough to make you faithful,” said the Rev. Mark-Mary Ames, CFR, author of “Habits for Holiness: Small Steps for Making Big Spiritual Progress” and co-host of the “Poco A Poco Podcast.” “We’ve got to have a plan.”

Ames defined prayer as a response to the love that God continuously gives. He quoted St. Alphonsus Liguori to stress the importance of giving God this response.

“‘He who prays is surely saved; he who does not pray is surely damned,’” Ames said.

He said students should cultivate a daily prayer life in college where it is much easier to build a schedule and have opportunities for prayer.

“While you’re a student here at Franciscan University, … (you) have a little bit more free time,” Ames said. “You can pray sometime in the afternoon … go down to the Port and spend some time with the Lord. This gets a lot harder as life goes on. You’re going to have to be a lot more intentional with your time, your prayer.”

Between a few personal stories that had students laughing, Ames gave tips for how to create a routine, starting with making the bed first thing in the morning.

He also gave students two goals: a “normal” goal, which is praying just a little bit every day, and a “ninja” goal, which is praying for 10 minutes at the same time every day.

Ames also said community was important in building a prayer life and a relationship with God. He said that part of the journey is to share with others and build relationships with others in love to communicate the love of Christ.

“There is grace that the Lord wants to give us which we will receive through other people,” Ames said. “Discipleship is a team sport.”

Sophomore Martha Myer was especially touched by Ames’ humility.

“His humility gave what he said more weight, and it hits different,” Myer said. “Sometimes people who give talks know what they need to do and they have it all together, but he’s just himself, and he knows that he’s loved. That brought another dimension of meaning to it.”

This event was sponsored by Residence Life.

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