How I Pray: Lisa Hendey

2014_Hendey38313-026I don’t know how Lisa Hendey can do half the things she does and still maintain a prayer life. She’s a speaker, writer for multiple sites and publications, founder of, and author of The Grace of YesThe Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms. And today she joins me for How I Pray.

Who are you?

I’m God’s creation, a Catholic Christian. I’m Greg’s wife, Eric and Adam’s mom, Anne and Pat’s daughter. I’m a sister, an auntie, and a friend. I’m Lisa.

What is your vocation?

My primary vocation is wife and mother.

What is your prayer routine for an average day?

Ideally, my days begin with morning prayer which includes praying Liturgy of the Hours (morning prayer), meditating upon the gospel for the day (using our daily devotional “As Morning Breaks” written by contributors) and Pope Francis’ daily homily. I pray the morning offering and the allegiance prayer, meditate upon the life of a saint, and offer my prayer intercessions for those who have requested prayer. At the moment, I’m praying a perpetual novena to St. Michael. I always commend my husband and children to the Holy Spirit each day. I aim for weekday Mass at least once per week.

How well do you achieve it, and how do you handle those moments when you don’t?

I’m a work in progress. It’s clear to me the correlation between fruitful morning prayer and my spiritual well-being. It’s also clear to me that great morning prayer makes me more productive and focused in my work. Honestly, there are too many days when I give it too little time, thinking I’m “too busy”. On the days when I cop out and say, “Work is my prayer today Lord” (and honestly there are too many of those), I notice a difference in how my day goes.

Do you have a devotion that is particularly important to you or effective?

I’m becoming increasingly devoted to praying the Hours. I love luxuriating in the Psalms… I recently treated myself to a one volume book (with actual pages!) and have found that I love not holding a device in my hands to pray morning prayer. In the past (and when I’m on the road), I’ve used apps on my iPad. I find that when I pray with the actual book, I’m less distracted and spend more time lingering in the beauty of the prayer.

Do you have a place, habit, or way of praying?

Anywhere, anytime. People who follow me online know that I’m on the road a lot. So when you see my post “The View from My Office Today” on Instagram, you can assume that my chapel that day is a hotel room! But honestly I’ve had fruitful prayer time in airports, in parks, at the beach, and of course around our family dinner table. Honestly, one of my favorite times to pray is in flight. There is something about the quiet of an airplane and the beauty of being “in the heavens” that really helps my soul sing. Unlike many, I love flying so my in-flight prayer time is often a litany of thanksgiving.

Do you use any tools or sacramentals?

My bible is one of my favorites… it’s marked up and dog-eared and filled with holy cards and things my children have made or written for me. Honestly, my iPad is a great prayer tool, fully stocked with great apps. And one of my most important prayer tools is my Evernote prayer journal. I am an avid reader and because I review books for our blog, am blessed to have literally thousands of fantastic Catholic books for prayer, learning, and encouragement.

What are your relationship with the Rosary?

Our family prayed a family Rosary regularly when I was growing up. I’m saddened to say that for a variety of reasons, that is not a tradition I was able to consistently continue in my own family life. And I’ll also admit readily that while I love our Blessed Mother and the Rosary, I am not good at praying a daily Rosary. My favorite way to pray the Rosary is in community, so (as odd as it sounds), I often pray with audio aids, including the wonderful audio Rosaries by my friends Greg and Jennifer Willits. I don’t have one favorite rosary because I tend to give them away… if I’m praying a Rosary in public and someone admires my beads, I usually give them to the person and ask them to please remember my family in prayer. This means that I have Rosaries being recited in places as far away as Rwanda. My favorite pastor, our family priest Msgr. Michael Collins (now in heaven) taught me this by always carrying handfuls of finger Rosaries with him. As an Irish priest, that many could recite a decade of the Rosary faster than anyone I’ve ever met. He had a true devotion to Our Lady which I’ve tried to emulate in my own life. And as a graduate of Notre Dame, one of my favorite places to recite the Rosary is at the grotto on campus.

Is there one particular book or spiritual work that has been particularly important to your devotional life?

If I had to choose one, it would be the Bible, and particularly the gospels. If I were going off to a deserted island and was only permitted to own one book, that is what I would choose. If I could have a few more, I’d bring along Butler’s Lives of the Saints (the full 12 volume set, which has long been on my wish list), Story of a Soul and Introduction to the Devout Life.

What is your current spiritual or devotional reading?

Along with “all of the above”, I’m rereading Jesus: A Pilgrimage, The Church of Mercy, Joy to the World by Scott Hahn, and Love is Our Mission, the preparatory catechesis for the World Meeting of Families.

Are there saints or other figures who inspire your prayer life or act as patrons?

My primary patron saints are St. Therese of Lisieux and Venerable Fulton Sheen. My parents, Pat and Anne are my early role models. I’m blessed to have strong friendships with many holy priests, religious sisters, and lay friends who provide amazing examples of the life I long to live.

What is one prayer you find particularly powerful or effective?

For me, it would be the Lord’s prayer, The Our Father. Christ gave us that prayer and it resonates for me personally in a way that allows my soul to truly sing each time I recite it.

Have you had any unusual or even miraculous experiences in your prayer life?

This is a challenging question. If you’re asking me if I have ever had “visions” or witnessed miracle healings, the answer would sadly be no. I believe they happen, but I haven’t personally experienced one. That being said, I have a front row seat for little miracles—things that could only come to be through God’s loving intervention—every day in the work I do as a writer. Honestly, you could say that my life’s work is a true miracle, and an outlandish one. I have many days when that is abundantly clear to me… that God is 100% responsible for what has happened in my apostolate and for our family personally. For those things, I give thanks. And if I ever experience what others might consider a “miracle”, I’ll try to remember to prayerfully thank God first, before instinctively instagramming it!

I’d like to see__________ answer these questions.

Pope Francis

Anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you for asking these thoughtful questions and for the chance to learn about prayer from others!