A very good friend of mine has inspired a post which has been long brewing. I wish I could link to her original post on her daily prayer routine, but she has a private blog – so you’ll just have to take my word for it that the blog was timely for me, and inspiring as I have been really focusing on my daily prayer routine.
I’m not sure what happens to routine for me, and in particular, daily prayer. Life can be settled, prayer in place, and peace reigns. Then (and not necessarily out of left field either) life becomes less settled taking on a faster pace or requiring more of my focus, time and energy, and I fail to make time for “the Giver of Time.” Life is unsettled. Charity is out the window. Peace is fleeting at best. I am distracted. And it takes the precious Sacrament of Confession to reign me in, and remind me that “oh yeah! I haven’t been as faithful as I should be to daily prayer…again!” Why I am I so weak??
I am focused again on my daily prayer routine, and grateful for the graces received. Here is my routine, along with the practicals of how this works in a family with 3 children who all rise before 6 am, and a new baby due in 4 weeks. All must be somewhat flexible, requiring a greater degree of commitment from me (did I mention I’m weak in this area?) so that I can come back to my prayers after Peanut cascades down the stairs and lands on his firetruck injuring his pinky toe, or Sweet Pea and Sparkly have what has escalated into World War III over who will possess the dead bug found on the landing upstairs. Mine is a vocation of interruptions.
Morning begins as my wonderful husband leaves for work at a grotesque hour of the morning – 5:50 am. I’m a night person. Do I need to say any more here? If I am mortifying myself to a heroic degree, I get up with him at 5:30. If I’m not, I get up as he rolls out. I want to be better about getting up with him. I think it’s important for both of us!
I sneak down the hallway because my children are already stirring upstairs at this insane hour, and if they hear me there will be no morning prayer time – I will have to eek out a morning offering between the fighting at the kitchen counter over breakfast preparation.
Like my friend that I mentioned earlier, I too have a prayer chair. Mine is in my kitchen. I know that seems weird to everyone except my mother who also has a rocking chair in her kitchen. Doesn’t everyone? I see from the wisdom of my friend (she has her prayer chair in her bedroom) that the prayer chair located in my bedroom would be better, and that will soon become a reality. With God’s blessing, I will soon be nursing the littlest there in the wee hours of the morning. I think I may move my prayer corner and my prayer chair to my bedroom a little early – before the baby comes. Usually, the older two children know that if I am in my prayer chair, I am not to be disturbed, and they are very good about respecting this. Not Peanut!
So…as I said…sneaking to my chair I sit down and grab my favorite prayer books. If I’m feeling brave, I make a cup of tea. Even though I’m not a morning person by nature, I do love the quiet and freshness that the early morning offers. The day is new, and I am anxious to offer my prayers before the trappings of the day begin.
It starts with the morning prayers in “Mother Love” – a prayer book published by the Archconfraternity of Christian Mothers. I add the Memorare for those near me who have requested prayer, and a prayer to St. Joseph for my husband, my dad, and for all families in need of his guidance and intercession. Then I move on to my set of In Conversation With God prayer books with meditations for each day of the year. They were written by an Opus Dei priest with many wise thoughts from St. Josemaria Escriva sprinkled throughout. I particularly enjoy that each day’s meditation ends with a thought of the Blessed Virgin. It is very helpful to me in living out my consecration to her. This set of books was a gift from my dear mom a couple of Christmas’ ago, and has done more for my spiritual direction than almost anything else. They are practical, and the wisdom always seems to fit whatever is going on in my life. How I long and pray for an abundance of holy priests who are courageous and able to offer sound spiritual direction. As it is though, priests are in shortage and holy priests with whom I trust the direction of my soul are even fewer. Another prayer intention!!
At noon, we try to pray the Angelus together as a family. We’ve been lazy about this lately, and I intend for Lent to be a time of re-focus for us. I wish I had a lovely clock that chimed the noon hour. I’m forgetful.
The evening hours seem to fly by. The children are starving for their dad’s attention, and he is generous with it. There is dinner, and usually time for us to read aloud together in a favorite book. The Family Rosary is our final evening prayer. We each request our special intentions of the Blessed Virgin at the beginning of the Rosary, with Sparkly covering all of you with his request that Blessed Virgin intercede on behalf of “everyone in the whole world.” I do want to work more on an evening examination of conscience for everyone, but I have been lax in implementing this.
That’s my prayer routine. It is always in need of more – more focus, more substance. One thing at a time for me – mine is a little way, and my prayer life I fear will never reflect that of the great saints. But I take heart in the Little Way of St. Therese, and in Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta who said to simply do little things with great love! I am trying Mother Teresa, pray for me.