Photo by Getty Images/shapecharge/E+
What are your mornings like on an average day? If you’re like me, it’s beyond busy. I am getting kids to school, packing lunches and signing permission slips. For many of us, it’s simply beginning another day of work or school. For Catholics who desire to maintain a morning prayer routine, the organized chaos of home life can be a challenge.
This busyness, stacked day after day, can all but squeeze out your desire for prayer. You reach the evening, exhausted from another day, having simply forgotten to pray. Worse yet, you can begin to give up on even the prospect of a prayerful day.
Busyness does this to us, and it’s important to recognize its effect on our spiritual lives.
You might be thinking that all of this is the consequence of our always-on culture. In some ways, our modern time is unique and its technologies and expectations are distinct. On the other hand, people have always been as busy as their time allowed them to be.
St. Francis de Sales instructed his followers in the 16th century to “Be patient with everyone, but above all with yourself. I mean do not be disheartened by your imperfections, but always rise up with fresh courage.”
Patience with yourself is an asset when it comes to the establishment of a morning prayer time. You will have fits and starts. Some days will go better than others. Finally, be kind to yourself when you just plain forget.
St. Theresa of Ávila, writing in the same period as Francis de Sales, famously wrote that “patience obtains all things.”
And let’s remember the words of St. Ignatius of Loyola, who challenges us to “find God in all things.” This might be easier than we think. Look at your morning schedule: Is God waiting to meet you inside of the meetings, errands or other tasks that have to get done?
Consider one chore per day as a place for prayer. When you are driving to work, processing email or doing a task around the house, remember that the Lord is right there with you. These moments can become prayerful as you recall God’s presence in your midst. You’ll end up slowing down and bringing more intention to your work. Life is like that, offering us opportunities to find the sacred amidst the mundane.
The key is the daily prayer time, a routine that requires both passion and pursuit. With patience guiding the way, even the busiest of us can carve out time for morning prayer.
This habit of passion and pursuit answers the question, “How do I stay with morning prayer when life gets full?” Be patient, stay with the routine and God will do the rest. Our days are busy but that doesn’t mean they can’t be prayerful.
In his book, The Five Habits of Prayerful People: A No-Excuses Guide to Strengthening Your Relationship with God (Ave Maria Press), Mike St. Pierre gives practical tips to build up your prayer life – one day at a time.
Michael St. Pierre, Ed.D. is the Executive Director of the Catholic Campus Ministry Association, the founder of Nonprofit Productive and the author of The Five Habits of Prayerful People: A No-Excuses Guide to Strengthening Your Relationship with God.