I was out doing some errands and I passed the spot where I ran out of gas – literally – ran out of gas while driving in my big 15 passenger van with a few kids. Seeing that infamous spot got me laughing out loud.
Some time ago, we were headed around this corner and without any warning (ha! ha!), my van began slowing down despite my foot on the gas. In a small panic, I was able to pull off on the shoulder. I turned the van off, turned it back on and nothing!
Blessedly, we were close to home and I called my dh, described the situation and asked, ‘what do I do now?!?’. He asked me to turn the van back on and check the gas level.
Yep – my level was way past E – I had run out of gas! I was stunned. Honestly, without wanting to sound dimwitted, I sort of thought you couldn’t run out of gas.
Not really, of course, but both Matt and I are really good at keeping the gas tank full. We normally do it without really thinking of it. Matt often will top off my tank any time he drives my car. But, during the week of this public embarrassment, we both had been busier than usual and we hadn’t noticed the red light or the gauge falling below E. We were both too busy to notice the signs that our tank needed refilling.
He laughed without any sarcasm and told me he’d be right there. We happily waited knowing help was on the way.
Remembering this story made me think of how we can let neglect other areas of our life and run out of gas, in particular our prayer life.
If we aren’t regularly (read this as daily) putting fuel in our spiritual tank and soul, we will run out of what we need to get through the day. We will find ourselves feeling abandoned by God, jealous of other’s good fortune and, by association, more prone to anger and impatience with our spouse, children, friends and strangers in the store.
In other words, unless we work to keep Jesus in our souls, it is next to impossible to reflect Him and give Him to others. We cannot grow in holiness unless we are getting the fuel to do so.
How do we do this? Here’s some ideas:
- Morning Prayer – use a prayer book, an app on your phone or a prayer written on your bathroom mirror. Wake each day with a prayer of thanksgiving to Jesus for another day as a reminder that He is always with you.
- Daily Mass if possible; spiritual communion if not.
- Gospel reading either as a part of Mass or on your own. Again, from your home Bible or an app or Daily Readings via http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/100919.cfm
- Daily Rosary – not to repeat myself but there are apps, videos at YouTube and you probably have a rosary (or 20) somewhere around the house
- On-line Adoration – here’s my favorite site: https://livestream.com/accounts/15529184/events/4408765
- Prayer before you go to bed. Say goodnight to Jesus and your guardian angel, thanking them for another day.
And on and on and on – grace before and after meals, the Angelus, good spiritual reading, a favorite saint or novena, meditation with the help of a statue or art piece, bedtime prayers as a family and more. Our faith has a huge treasury of options for prayer!
Going back to my running out of gas story, it was made extra silly as I pass no less than 5 gas stations when doing my regular weekly errands. My town has gas stations on almost every major intersection. There was no reason I should have run out of gas except that I didn’t make it priority.
Make your daily prayer a priority. Keeping in touch with your Creator and Savior is something your soul needs every day even with no red light or gauge line to warn you that you risk going through life running on empty. But, how you are feeling and your attitude towards others is a great indicator. If you find yourself short-tempered, full of doubts, fears and worries think back on the last time you prayed – one on one – with Jesus. There is a direct correlation between getting the grace you need for daily life and the amount of time you spend in prayer. As the saying goes, ‘you can’t give what you don’t have’.
We are not religious who are called to hours of prayers but that doesn’t mean we aren’t called to no prayer. Consider how much time you spend on wasting time vs. prayer time (and the irony of reading this vs. praying is not lost on me). Find a balance between necessary obligations, responsibilities, amusements and idle time AND time spent with the God who made you and loves you.
Jesus is ready to hear your praise, your thanks, your worries and complaints. When you take time to be with Him you will find getting through every day life easier.
Keep an eye on your soul’s tank and keep it full so that your life is full!