Special Issue - Prayer

From dusk till dawn, it’s pray, pray, pray

by Marc and Julie Anderson
mjanderson@theleaven.org

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — It’s difficult for Vicky Taylor-Hamilton, a member of Our Lady & St. Rose Parish, to pinpoint a moment in her day when she’s not in prayer.

From the moment she wakes up, she starts praying.

“I say, ‘Praise the Lord. Thank you for keeping me safe last night and please keep me safe today and keep evil away from me,’” she said.

After getting out of bed, she heads to the bathroom for her morning routine where, instead of magazines, she has devotionals and prayer books. As she brushes her hair or applies her makeup, she reads from one. Beginning her day with an inspirational reading of some sort, Taylor-Hamilton said, sets the tone for her day.

While she was working, on her daily morning and evening commutes, Taylor- Hamilton prayed at least one set of the mysteries of the rosary. In fact, each day she prays all four sets of mysteries, including the luminous mysteries added by St. John Paul II in October 2002.

“Saying the rosary always makes me feel good,” she said.

She began praying the rosary daily around 10 years ago while she was still working.

During her 37-year career as a civil rights investigator for the U.S. Department of Education, the morning commute was a chance for her to mentally and spiritually prepare for her day. Her prayer didn’t stop once she got out of her car, though. Arriving early for work, she spent the extra time in prayer.

“When I was working, I always kept holy water in my office at work,” she said. “I used to pray before I would start my workday.”

Of course, as a government employee investigating discrimination complaints she had to be careful not to make a big deal of her prayer. So, she’d close her office door and pray by herself.  Only after her prayers were finished did she officially begin her workday.

Now retired, Taylor-Hamilton prays in her car wherever she goes, whether it’s to the grocery store or a friend’s house. And throughout the day, when she’s not praying formally, she’s constantly reminding herself of God’s goodness through inspirational one-liners like: “God is good all the time, and all the time God is good.”

“I just say little inspirational things to myself throughout the day,” she said. “I’m constantly in prayer.”

A wife and mother, Taylor-Hamilton prays for her two sons and their families. In the past few years though, she said her prayer has increased in intensity and quality.

In February 2015, Taylor-Hamilton’s father died. Just 10 months later, her husband died. Their illnesses definitely had an impact on her prayer life.

“It seems like I’ve been praying a lot more,” she said simply.

For those struggling with prayer, Taylor- Hamilton said it’s not so much about how your pray, but more about getting started and learning to embrace silence.

“My advice would be for them to go in a room and be quiet,” she said. “First, I’d have them breathe a little bit and get relaxed. While you’re relaxing, you start thinking about the Lord and start connecting with the Lord.”

“Just be honest and open up,” said Taylor- Hamilton. “Just have a regular conversation  with the Lord. Just talk to him.”

She said there’s one last piece of advice she’d offer others, too.

“Whatever you do, thank the Lord,” she said. “Some people forget to say — and you need to say — ‘thank you’ before you get to asking for things.”

About the author

Marc & Julie Anderson

Marc & Julie Anderson

Freelancers Marc and Julie Anderson are long-time contributors to the Leaven. Married in 1996, for several years the high school sweethearts edited The Crown, the former newspaper of Christ the King Parish in Topeka which Julie has attended since its founding in 1977. In 2000, the Leaven offered the couple their first assignment. Since then, the Andersons’ work has also been featured in a variety of other Catholic and prolife media outlets. The couple has received numerous journalism awards from the Knights of Columbus, National Right to Life and the Catholic Press Association including three for their work on “Think It’s Not Happening Near You? Think Again,” a piece about human trafficking. A lifelong Catholic, Julie graduated from Most Pure Heart of Mary Grade School and Hayden Catholic High School in Topeka. Marc was received into the Catholic Church in 1993 at St. Paul Parish – Newman Center at Wichita State University. The two hold degrees from Washburn University in Topeka. Their only son, William James, was stillborn in 1997.

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