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Prayer has been described as the raising of one's heart and mind to God and, as Christians, it's one of the most important things we can do. However, as students, indeed in all stages of life, finding time to pray can be difficult and it's often the first thing we sacrifice when life gets busy.

Given how important prayer is to maintaining our relationship with God, it's essential to make prayer a priority. Here are a few tips to help maintain a prayer life throughout your student years.

1. Consistency

It's more beneficial for our relationship with God to pray a little every day consistently, rather than doing it for hours at a time but very occasionally. It's therefore a good idea to set aside a certain amount of time for prayer every day.

During certain periods in our life, we may only be able to commit to 15 minutes a day, but the most important thing is to be faithful to this and to use the time well. If we are consistent, prayer will become a habitual and integral part of our day and something we cannot live without.

2. Find a place

Although we can pray at any time or in any place, many people find it very helpful to pray in a particular location. Of course, one of the best places to pray is in the presence of the Lord before the Blessed Sacrament.

When this is not possible, many people find it helpful to construct a little sanctuary in the corner of their room using things such as icons, statues, a crucifix, candles and incense. Nature can also inspire prayer so some people will pray whilst walking along the coast, for example, or sitting before a beautiful sunset.

3. Materials to help

There are many materials which can aid prayer particularly when we are starting out, or going through a dry patch. We can use Scripture or a spiritual book to help inspire prayer. Likewise, we can use a religious image as a focal point of prayer.

The rosary is one of the best aids for prayer for it combines the familiarity of vocal prayers with meditation on the life of Christ.

4. Read about prayer

There have been many books written about prayer which can teach us how to improve our prayer life. Some classic examples include St Francis de Sales' Introduction to the Devout Life, St Therese's Story of a Soul and St Teresa's Interior Castle.

Some modern books on prayer worth reading are Jacques Phillipe's Time for Prayer and Romano Guardini's The Art of Praying.

5. Perseverance

Prayer takes perseverance. There will be periods when prayer becomes dry and difficult, requiring a lot more effort. We may feel like we're not making any progress and be tempted to give up. This is very normal, and something experienced by many Saints.

There will also be times when we either forget to pray or simply prioritise other things. When this happens, it's important that we start again and keep on trying.