Wake up, shower, dress. Or could your morning incorporate more prayer? Here's how.
I used to think that praying every morning would require me to get out of bed earlier and devote a block of time to prayer. But one of the many things I learned on regular prayer retreats in a real, honest-to-goodness monastery was that (for me, at least) finding ways to incorporateprayer into my daily rhythms and routines was far more productive.
So, while it will probably look different for every individual, here is a suggested strategy for connecting specific prayers to your morning routine:
1) Pray as you sit up in bed.
“O God, come to my assistance; O Lord, make haste to help me.”
2) Pray as you walk (or, if you’re like me, stumble) to the bathroom.
“Praise the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.”
3) Pray while you're in the bathroom.
“Most merciful God, I confess that I have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed, by what I have done, and by what I have left undone. I have not loved You with my whole heart; I have not loved my neighbor as myself. I am truly sorry and I humbly repent; for the sake of Your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on me and forgive me; that I may delight in Your will and walk in Your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.”
4) Pray as you shower.
Sing a hymn or worship song, such as “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee,” “Morning Has Broken,” or “10,000 Reasons.”
5) Pray as you brush your teeth and comb your hair.
Say the Lord’s Prayer.
6) Pray as you get dressed.
Pray for the coming day. "Present your requests to God" (Philippians 4:6, NIV). Give Him your worries, needs, hopes, dreams. Pray for those you care about. Thank Him for blessings you enjoy.
7) Pray as you finish getting dressed.
“Almighty Lord and God, protect me by Your power through the course of this day, even as You have enabled me to begin it. Do not let me turn aside to any sin, but let my every thought, word, and deed aim at doing what is pleasing in Your sight, through my Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.”
You may, of course, choose to alter or adapt some of the above. You may at first need to print out #1-7 and put it on your bedside table as you retire so you can refer to it each morning.
Within a very short time, however, your subconscious will associate each of those activities with those prayers or hymns, making your prayer and worship intrinsic to your morning routine. Eventually, you’ll wonder how you ever made it through the day any other way.