We made it halfway through 2020 and, let’s be honest, we could all use a vacation. No matter what your summer looks like this year, it is healthy and important to take a vacation from your normal routine to get some rest and rejuvenation. And vacation is also a great time to renew your prayer life, or jump start it for the first time.
Fr. Boniface Hicks, a regular contributor to The Inner Life® took some time out of his own vacation to share why summer vacation is the perfect time to focus on your prayer life.
Fr. Boniface said that during vacation, “I separate myself from some of the work requirements I have. But prayer is not work. I mean, we have to work at it like we work at relationships. But one doesn’t take a vacation from their marriage or their children. And we don’t want to take a vacation from God.”
You’re out of your normal routine when you’re on vacation, and it can be tempting to drop your prayer routine altogether. But Fr. Boniface encouraged listeners to use this break in routine to mix up their prayer life rather than letting it go by the wayside.
“I think there’s a value to changing routine, in a certain sense,” he said. “For example, I know some people who go to the beach every year, and for the week they are there they go to daily Mass at the little Star of the Sea chapel that is there. They enjoy being at Mass in a different place. And there’s value to that. I wouldn’t call it being on vacation from my parish, or a vacation from God, but there is value in being in a different place and having different scenarios.”
“In our desire to change locations, to experience something different, to expose ourselves to a change of pace (which are all very good things), we want to be sure we don’t eliminate the essentials. We don’t take a vacation from food, or a vacation from sleep. We don’t take a vacation from our humanity, and our humanity depends on God. We’re just changing the setting of that, which has a way of refreshing some of those different elements, so we can go back with even more intentionality, life, and joy.”
Fr. Boniface also pointed out that if you don’t feel you have time to pray in the frantic pace of your everyday life, vacation is a great time to jump start a prayer routine, and grow in your desire for prayer.
“People have a lot of demands on their lives,” he acknowledged. “They have to get up, get the kids off to school, they have to get off to work, they get home and prepare the house, make dinner, clean things, whatever. And they’re lamenting ‘I don’t have the time to spend an hour a day in prayer.’ Well, what about on vacation?”
“Maybe you don’t have the time normally – you’re rushing into Mass, rushing out of Mass to get to the next thing. But on vacation you don’t have those demands. What are you running off to so quickly? Can you come 10 or 15 minutes early and actually settle into the place, take some time for a little extra devotional prayer? Stay a little bit longer to make a little bit longer thanksgiving?”
Just as taking a vacation is important for your health and relationships, your prayer life is an essential element of spiritual health and relationship with the Lord. It’s worth it to spend time on your vacation deepening your prayer life because, as Fr. Boniface pointed out, the benefits are eternal.
“Growing in our prayer life has eternal consequences,” he said. “Our relationship with God affects everything in our life, forever. And so, if we can invest a little bit more time in caring for our relationship with God that would be a huge benefit.”