1) Grow in desire to do God’s will

Jesus demonstrates perfection in doing the Father’s Will in all things (Mt 26:39) and calls every man to seek and submit to do God’s will in all things (Mt 6:10; Jas 4:7-8). God intercedes to help a man to do the will of God (Rom 8:27; Heb 13:20-21) and “he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 Jn 2:17). f

Desiring to do God’s will and seeking to do His will, naturally leads a man to more frequently speak and listen to God.

Strengthen your desire to listen and speak to God more frequently by building the desire and mindset of always seeking to do His will.

2) Recognize the blessings of listening and speaking more frequently with God

By striving to listen and speak to God more frequently throughout the day, a man can:

Build a deeper relationship with God – Like building a relationship with a loved one requires frequent conversation, a man must frequently enter into a conversation with God to build a relationship with Him (CCC 2558).

Know God’s will and grow in holiness in the present moment – If a man is to please God and grow in holiness, he must know and do God’s will.

To better know God’s will, a man must constantly seek through prayer to be in His Presence and to hear His will, to be present to the Presence. St. Teresa of Avila reveals, “The present moment is the only time in which God is able to manifest His presence to us.” Fr. Jean-Piere Caussade confirms, “God speaks to us only through the present moment.”

More fully receive God’s peace and gifts – If a man intends to draw closer to God, his prayers are meritorious, and God will reward him with peace and joy and bless him with many gifts. Frequent conversation with God through prayer opens the channel of grace because God, “…looks down upon all men…above all, on those who pray, over whose doings He keeps watch” (St. Frances de Sales).

The saints confirm God brings peace and joy to those who draw close to Him. St. John Chrysostom confirms, “Prayer is the place of refuge for every worry, a foundation for cheerfulness, a source of constant happiness, a protection against sadness.”

Be ever more effective in helping build the Kingdom of God – As a disciple of Christ, every man is part of the Kingdom of God and is called to use his talents to serve the King. It is through “prayer without ceasing” that a man can be assured his good works will be pleasing to God (CCC 2745).

 St. Ignatius of Loyola urges men to draw ever closer to God and receive extraordinary graces to do His will:  “Few souls understand what God would accomplish in them if they were to abandon themselves unreservedly to Him and if they were to allow His grace to mold them accordingly.”

Prepare for salvation – The Saints (Basil, Chrysostom, Augustine) reveal that a man cannot be saved without entering into conversation with God and asking for the graces necessary for salvation. St. Alphonsus Liguori states that “he who prays is certain to be saved; while he who prays not is certain to be damned” (CCC 2744).

Final perseverance in death is not a single grace but is a chain of graces which correspond to a man’s prayers; a man who ceases to draw close to God in frequent conversation risks missing the fullness of help God might offer him. Brother Lawrence professes, “The practice of the presence of God will produce a holy life and a beautiful death.”

Be preserved from sin and offending God – Since God is constantly present, a man who ignores God risks offending Him and falling into various sins. If a man is not constantly led by the Spirit, he will inevitably fall into sin (CCC 2744).

Brother Lawrence suggests, “When we are faithful to keep ourselves in His holy presence, and set Him always before us, this hinders our offending Him, and doing anything that may displease Him.”

St. Alphonsus Liguori warns, “When you say, ‘God is not with me,’ you do Him a grave injustice” and to always, “Remember that you are in the presence of God. And, therefore, you should be on your guard against letting an unguarded word pass your lips.”

Be protected from Satan – Satan attacks by seeking to separate men from God, just as he did in Eden. St. Padre Pio teaches frequent prayer helps a man receive God’s powerful help in the Spiritual Combat:  “Prayer is the best weapon we have; it is the key to God’s heart.”

Meditate upon the blessings of being in conversation with God to build the desire to listen and speak to God more frequently.

3) Beg God to strengthen the desire to pray more frequently

Habits are formed starting with the desire to build the habit. Listening and speaking throughout the day is a habit of prayer which a man can build. Indeed, St. Alphonsus Liguori counsels: “Practice the presence of God by making it a habit to converse with Him throughout the day.”

God promises to answer prayers (Mt 7:7-8, Mk 11:24; Jn 14:13-14) and a man can ask God to help him grow in the desire to remain in conversation with God throughout his day. Brother Lawrence confirms, “We must put all our strength into acquiring the spirit of prayer [i.e., in conversation with God] and, if we only have a good will for it, He will give it to us.”

Resolve to build a habit of frequently listening and speaking to God throughout the day and beg God to give you the desire to do so. 

4) Eradicate the desire for non-essential media

Modern life is permeated with media of all sorts, available in a practically infinite quantity and quality that spans every good and evil idea men can conceive, delivered into the palm of a man’s hand in text, audio and video.

While technology is neither good nor bad, the way most men use it lead them into evil by what and how much media they consume, focusing on the trivial, obscene and morbid. Brother Lawrence anticipated the evil of modern media almost 500 years ago when he said, it is “a shameful thing to quit His conversation [to listen and speak to God], of think of trifles and fooleries.”

Much of modern media is purposefully designed using sophisticated psychological approaches to be noisy (to get attention) and sticky (to retain attention), allowing media producers to influence and extract economic value out of the consumer.

Because much of modern media is noisy and sticky, a man’s attention is distracted to the point where he is addicted, and he has difficulty focusing his attention; modern man has lost quiet.

To hear God’s still small voice (1 Kings 19:12) more consistently, a man must throw off the enslavement to media noise and regain control over his attention.

Consider an extended fast from media (30 days), especially media which is addictive and is unhelpful for becoming a saint.

5) Set big aspirations to listen and speak to God more

Men are often lost in the world because the world is loud and noisy and constantly demands a man’s attention. To break through, a man can benefit by not simply seeking to listen and speak to God more, but to listen and speak to God A LOT more. Setting big “stretch” goals which seem impossible often move a man to think very differently about how to achieve the goal and also lead to spectacular progress.

Fr. Jean-Pierre de Caussade says, “God speaks to every individual through what happens to them moment by moment.” St. Frances de Sales challenges men to “offer your whole soul a thousand times a day to Him, fix your inward gaze upon Him, stretch out your hands to be led by Him, as a little child to its father.”

Every man has about 1000 waking moments through which, moment by moment, he could draw close to God in prayer.  Consider setting a daily stretch goal to raise the mind to God in terms of some significant portion of your 1000 waking minutes.

6) Frequently profess your love and loyalty to God

Men are often moved to profess their love for their beloved, a girlfriend, fiancé or wife, which are expressions of both affection and undying loyalty. The expression of deep love and devotion is a powerful mover of souls which can also be harnessed to draw closer to God and to better hear His voice and speak to Him about all the joys and troubles in a man’s life. 

The devotion to God, the pledge of love and loyalty, is the beginning and root of piety.  Brother Lawrence advises men about the importance of loving God: “To be with God is not to do much but to love much.” St. Alphonsus Liguori speaks of the need to have personal loyalty to God: “Consider often that it is not enough for you to belong to God, but that God must also belong to you.”

Begin a regular practice to be drawn into the presence of God and specifically tell Him that you love Him, why you love Him and and your desire to always be loyal to Him. By these declarations, a man’s desire to listen and speak to God more frequently can be increased.

7) Practice giving praise and glory to God

Through the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, a man is given the ability to become more aware of God in his daily life and to recognize the greatness of God’s work in his life an in the world. This recognition, inspired by the Holy Spirit, leads a man to spontaneously speak to God in a prayer of praise which is a cry of happiness that glorifies God (CCC 2639).

Every man can and needs to draw closer to God in conversation by acknowledging the greatness of God with words of praise. St. Alphonsus Liguori advises, “God has no need of our praise, but we have need of giving it to Him.”

Praising God can become a habit through disciplined practice which can become a routine part of a man’s daily life. Make the commitment to begin to look for ways to open the conversation with God by searching for reasons to give God praise and to glorify His Name.

8) Imagine God is actually present and speak with Him

While God is always truly present in the soul of a baptized Catholic man, a man who is active in the world can have difficulty in sensing the presence of God.

St. Francis de Sales suggests a man can use his imagination to picture Our Lord and Savior sitting right beside him in a chair, loving, observing, and guiding a man can help him grow in awareness and zeal for God’s presence beside himand begin to listen and speak to Him more frequently. Practice speaking out loud to God many times a day, as you would any other person who is present.

Consider conducting the simple practice of using imagination to recognize that God is really and truly right beside you. 

9) Develop a shortcut for coming into the presence of God

If a man desires to remain in the Presence of God and speak with Him all the time, a man must first come into the Presence of God.

St. Francis de Sales advises that every period of prayer starts with putting one’s self in the presence of God, which is simply the idea of acknowledging that God is truly present everywhere all the time.

Most of the time, overwhelmed by the world, a man forgets God’s presence so it is critical to take action to return to acknowledge His Presence which St. Francis de Sales advises that a man can use a shortcut to coming into God’s presence by saying, “God is indeed here.”

Experiment with short phrases that most move you to realize that God is truly present and build a habit to repeat them frequently. For endorsed short prayers, see The Manual of Indulgences (“Pious Invocations”) and The Raccolta (see various Invocations).

10) When God doesn’t seem to be listen, pray more

Sometimes a man can become discouraged when it seems that God is not listening or answering his prayers. This “dryness” in prayer is common even among the saints!

St. Alphonsus Liguori suggests that when a man experiences dryness in prayer it is a great time to seek to listen and speak to God even more: “The time of dryness is the time for gaining the greatest rewards; and when we find ourselves apparently without fervor, without good desires, and, as it were, unable to do a good act, let us humble ourselves and resign ourselves, for this very meditation will be more fruitful than others.”

Use any feeling of distance from God or that God is not listening as a reminder to immediately seek to listen and speak to God.

11) Ponder your own death to increase the desire for God

To grow in motivation to draw ever closer to God, the saints have long sought to teach men to enter into the presence of God and ponder his own inevitable death. It is in the pondering of his own death that a man’s faith in God and desire to remain in his presence can be greatly increased.

St. Alphonsus Liguori offers a number of reasons why meditating upon reality of his coming death can help a man draw closer to God:

“It is death that predominates in some way over our life on earth; it should also predominate over our thoughts and our whole conduct. Man, the Christian, begins to live well only when he prepares himself to die well.”

“The sinner will seek God at death, but he will not find him.”

“It is true that at whatsoever hour the sinner is converted, God promises to pardon him. But He has not promised that sinners will be converted at death: on the contrary, He has often protested that they who live in sin shall die in sin.”

Regularly set time aside to be drawn into the presence of God, to objectively ponder your own death, and to listen to God’s guidance so that you may prepared for a happy death (CCC 1014).

Next up: Use the Stimulus of everyday experiences to turn more frequently to God