It’s taken me a loooong time to get here. Let me say that up front. But I have a daily prayer routine now. And it’s changing my life.
My routine almost always involves morning prayer and noon prayer, and it usually involves some sort of evening prayer— if not a proper time of devotion and prayer in the evening, then at least some kind of quick “thanks and watch over us as we sleep” prayer before I call it a night.
My morning prayer has evolved over time. It’s become more of a home-grown prayer tailored to my family’s needs than the standard morning prayer taken from the pages of the Book of Common Prayer. So maybe “morning prayer” isn’t the right term to use, if that term conjures up for you images of written prayers or chanted psalms. I guess “prayer of protection” or “prayer for the new day” would work fine, too.
But terminology aside, I’ve realized over the past couple of years how supremely important it is to start each day by giving each day to God. It has helped tremendously, not only to focus and re-orient myself to the things of the Lord, but also to prepare me for and/or protect me from some of the junk that might come my way that day. There’s incredible power– and peace– in the simple act of giving each new day to God.
The Lord knows what this day will bring. So why not invite Him into it? Every day I ask him to equip, prepare, and protect me and my family.
My basic structure looks something like this:
- Thanksgiving for the night’s sleep, for comforting/instructive dreams (if any), for the new morning
- Consecration of myself and my family to the Lord, giving the day over to God, placing all upcoming interactions and decisions under the authority of Jesus
- Protection and health for myself and my family, in body, mind, soul and spirit
- Inviting the Holy Spirit to help us discern this day as it unfolds, to give us the faith to trust and obey when He speaks to us
- Protection over our home, our vehicles, and our time on the road
- Asking the Lord’s blessing over any loved ones who have been on our hearts recently, praying for salvation for loved ones who don’t know Him, and asking the Lord to let the light of His love shine through us and onto them this day
- Finally, asking for wisdom, patience, presence, and a sacrificial spirit as we shepherd our boys this day and seek to raise them well. (My recent prayer has been that I might model for the boys the way I’d want them to treat their own spouse/kids when they’re older.)
I usually pray these prayers by myself while I’m getting ready in the morning: shaving, or in the shower, or getting dressed. Sometimes I’ll just plop down in a chair or on my knees by the bed. Sometimes I pray out loud; sometimes in my mind. (I don’t think the Lord is as concerned with how we pray as with whether we pray. Don’t let the setting or the lack of a quiet space keep you from praying; the enemy knows your distractions and will set about trying to, well, distract you.)
Time permitting, I’ll also try to read a psalm out loud while we’re eating breakfast together. I find it’s easiest just to follow the lectionary from the BCP on this one, using the morning’s appointed psalm. (Much, much more can be said about the psalms, but these past 2 years for me have been a time of re-appreciating the psalms and the depth of wisdom they bring to our prayers and our worship. If my day doesn’t involve at least one psalm, it is a loss.)
Today’s psalm was #100, a special one for my family as it was read at our wedding (nine years ago this week). Sitting at the breakfast table with Courtney and the boys, it was sweet to walk through an image like “He is our God, and we are His people” at the start of this day.
These posts always end up longer than I intend, so I’ll stop here. More opportunities for reflecting on morning prayer later.