For years I sat on the finance committee of St. Leo’s parish in Omaha, Nebraska. And, unlike many parish meetings that I’ve attended over the years, these meetings always started on time. What was the secret? “Father,” I asked, “how do you start your meetings on time?”

It was standing policy that the last person to arrive for the meeting was responsible for the closing prayer. When the meeting wrapped up, we would turn to the person who arrived last and he or she would lead us in a personal prayer.

It doesn’t seem like much, but it worked. So many people are afraid of public speaking that the idea of coming up with a high-quality, spontaneous prayer in front of our friends, neighbors, and fellow parishioners proved to be an effective motivator for everyone to arrive early. (Though if your team listens to Every Knee Shall Bow, maybe you’re all experts at personal prayer and personal testimony!)

Give it a shot in your next parish meeting. Then stick with it. After a few weeks, you’ll notice committee members starting to show up on time and even (gasp) a little early for your meetings. How’s that for the power of prayer? This is a great way to start your meetings on time and get everyone’s heart and soul pointed in the right direction – toward God.