John Paul II Center - Milwaukee

One Percent Challenge

1% Challenge page 1

1% Challenge Card

The 1% ChallengeTM is to help you get to know Jesus by taking 1% of Your Day (15 minutes) to pray with scripture for 30 days.

1% of your day is 14 minutes and 24 seconds. Less than the average minutes of commercials in a 1 hour tv program. 

Experience the difference when you spend 1% of your day alone with God in an uninterrupted quiet time of prayer.


Get Started

Make an appointment (yes, put it in your calendar). The same time every day is helpful. Many spiritual masters suggest that the morning before the distractions of the day crowd your mind is a privileged time for prayer. The best time for you to pray is the time that you will actually do it, so find the time that works for your life.

Choose a location that will work for your life. Find a quiet place with limited distractions. While it is good to pray while doing other activities, such as driving or brushing your teeth (don't stop doing these things), try to give God your undivided attention for this 1% of your day. 

Turn off your cell phone. Whatever it is can wait 15 minutes.

Find a comfortable (but not too comfortable) position. Some people find that kneeling works, others sitting in a favorite chair, or at a table, standing, pacing, or lying prostrate. You may want to experiment to find what works best for you. 

Do it! The 1% Challenge Card offers you one suggested scripture passage per day. Don't know how to find it? Every Bible contains an index or table of contents to help you.

The most important thing is to begin. If you show up every day and ask Jesus to teach you, he will.


Build a Habit

Remember that learning any new skill takes practice. Jesus is the perfect coach/teacher. He can teach you, no matter how imperfect, distracted, [insert negative thought] you may feel. Ask him to help you. Always remember that the only failed time of prayer is the one you don't show up for. 

If you miss a day (or two...), don't get discouraged. Simply return to Jesus the next day. His grace is renewed each morning (Lam 3:22-24)

The Ask, Seek, Knock structure offered on the card is meant as a guide to help you start a habit of prayer with scripture and focus your conversation with Jesus. You may feel drawn to pray these "steps" in a different order or spend more time dwelling in some areas. Let Jesus guide you to pray in the way that is most fitting for you.

Be patient with yourself. Jesus is far more patient and merciful with us than many of us are with ourselves. You're building a new habit and Jesus loves that you are trying. Don't let distractions, feelings of dryness, unexpected interruptions, or setbacks discourage you. These are normal human circumstances and Jesus can work with you through them.

Some find it helpful to use a journal to write their prayers or to remember insights received.


Live the Habit - Beyond Your First 30 Days

So you completed your first 30 days of prayer with scripture. Congratulations! You've established a habit of prayer in your life and begun the journey of deepening your relationship with our Lord. Keep it going! You are at a critical moment when you get to decide how you will grow from here. 

Ask Jesus to show you where he'd like to take you next and make a personal plan for continuing to grow in prayer. Here are a few ideas others have found helpful beyond the first trip through the 1% Challenge Card:

  • Invite a friend to take the 1% Challenge with you and repeat the 1% Challenge Card scriptures. Talk with your friend about how it's going and what Jesus seems to be teaching you.
  • Repeat the 1% Challenge Card scriptures and each day ask someone what you can pray for in your daily 1%.
  • Choose a Gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John) and work your way from beginning to end, one story at a time.
  • Pray the daily Gospel readings, available from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops HERE
  • Work your way through the Psalms
  • Learn St. Ignatius' way of praying with scripture using a resource such as An Ignatian Introduction to Prayer, by Fr. Timothy M. Gallagher, OVM.
  • Learn to hear God speak through Lectio Divina. Learn more about Lectio Divina from our Bishops or Carmelites

Once you have your 15 minute prayer habit solid, consider increasing your prayer time by 5 minutes at a time until you reach 2% of your day (30 minutes). 30-60 minutes of prayer is commonly experienced as a fruitful range for lay people who are intensely seeking God.

Find additional tips and resources for prayer and Scripture at The Evangelical Catholic's 1% Challenge website: 1%Challenge Logo

St. John Paul II Office for the New Evangelization

3501 South Lake Dr.
PO Box 070912
Milwaukee, WI 53207-0912


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