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John Lovatt TSSF

John Lovatt, a tertiary Franciscan, reflects on his own balance of prayer, work and study.

My ideal is to be constant in prayer, to pray as I work, to work as I pray, and to study (in the sense of learning from God) as I work and pray. In this way, I can continue to respond to the many pressures on my time, and minister as God wishes me to, but stay in touch with God all the time, and rejoice in his presence, and see his wonderful work unfolding in front of me.

But this is my desire, mostly not realized. I now know the warning signs if prayer is needed: I become anxious, find myself giving obsessive attention to the problem in hand and become over-involved emotionally with the problems of those to whom I am ministering. My head is down, nose to the grindstone. I need to look up, to God. My way of fixing this is – I think – unusual, although I have found one other Tertiary who found it useful: I don’t ‘save up’ for a long prayer time (‘God, you and I need to talk’), I pray for a few seconds – just a look at God, no words, usually. Not an ‘arrow prayer’ in the sense of a prayer about a specific problem, just a glance at God. Normally, I find that a few seconds’ deep silence – I just stop what I’m doing – is what is required. Then the presence of God becomes more tangible during the day.

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