Prepare the way of the Lord the old-fashioned way — with prayer

Do whatever He tells you

by Rick Cheek

A journey of 10,000 steps begins with the Apostles’ Creed.

That was my motto last January as I was preparing for World Youth Day in Poland July 23 through Aug. 2. With a little encouragement from some friends and my wife Rebecca, I started a program that would help me get into shape and lose some weight.

That included grabbing my rosary and walking a couple miles a day that would eventually lead up to 18 to 25 miles a week. Attending a World Youth Day requires a lot of walking and I was bound and determined to be prepared.

No matter what you’re preparing for, it’s always good to take a three-pronged approach: baby steps, prayer and the saints. I often turned to the Blessed Mother and St. John Paul II before and during our World Youth Day trip.

After our last Mass and meeting in preparation for WYD, one of our pilgrims, Daniel Warner, was killed in a tragic car accident. Turning to St. John Paul II and our Blessed Mother to comfort his parents Mike and Mary, as well as family and friends, was important to me, having gone through losing my oldest son Jared after World Youth Day in 2005 from a car accident.

The rosary was my go-to prayer then and has been many times since. St. John Paul II’s favorite prayer was the rosary. He said: “The rosary is a marvelous prayer! Marvelous in its simplicity and its depth. In the prayer we repeat many times the words that the Virgin Mary heard from the archangel and from her kinswoman Elizabeth.”

If you’re like me, you’re always looking to find time to pray. I heard in a homily from my pastor Father Andrew Strobl about a time he was struggling to find time to spend in prayer.

His spiritual director told him to write down everything he did in a typical day for a week to see where he was spending his time. As hard as it was to do, he realized it was a little embarrassing and there was no reason he shouldn’t be able to find time to pray. Like Father Andrew, making changes in our daily routine to include prayer is hard.

With Advent just around the corner, what are you doing to prepare for the coming of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? Before Advent gets here, grab a journal and write down what your typical day looks like for a week. See where you can make changes and adjustments to improve your prayer life. Turn to the saints and ask them to help you.

But more importantly, let us pray for each other.

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