While reading about Edith Stein last month before her feast day, I came across this quote:
“The first hour of your morning belongs to God. Tackle the day’s work that he charges you with, and he will give you the power to accomplish it.”
How I make time for prayer as a busy mom was a much-requested topic back in January when I did my annual reader survey, but this quote reminded me I hadn’t shared much about it yet. Well, today is the day :)
A little context: my prayer routine has changed a lot over the years, but especially when I became a mom…which is the first time in my life that consistent daily prayer became something I needed as much as food and water to get through the day. Some of you may remember that Charlie’s first year of life was hard for me. I don’t think I had post-partum depression, but I did undergo what I can look back on and identify as a spiritual attack. Obviously, my life changed dramatically when I became a mother, and I was SO grateful for the precious gift of my son, but I frequently felt disgustingly unworthy and unfit to be his mom. I vividly remember nursing for the tenth time that day on one of those early days, thinking a little wistfully about how easy my life seemed before Charlie was born, and then being literally nauseated by the “selfishness” of those thoughts. Clearly, if I was sad I hadn’t showered, put on real clothes, or left my house in four days, I was a horrible mother, I thought, and Charlie and Dave would be better off without me.
That was just the start of it. It was a hard, hard season, but the turning point began when a priest told me that the devil finds our weak points and then twists and twists them to get to the deepest places in our hearts. I felt that. The priest told me it was time to get on the offense and pray, every single day, instead of letting those lies poison me and rob me of the joy of motherhood.
Almost two years of committed daily prayer later, here’s what my routine now looks like. Once Charlie started sleeping in (he wakes up between 6:15-6:30…he was a 4:30 early riser for a few months, and rest assured, I did NOT have the same morning prayer routine then!), I started to wake up about an hour before I expect him to. I read the daily readings, sometimes in the Magnificat (which Dave uses), but usually on Blessed Is She. If a verse stands out to me, I sometimes underline or take notes on it in my journaling bible (no surprise, created by Blessed Is She :)). I then read the Blessed Is She devotional and Bishop Barron’s Daily Gospel Reflection email. Next, I pray a Morning Offering very slowly and intentionally, envisioning parts of my day that I especially want to offer up. I’ve recently added a Hail Mary for the church, in light of recent events. Finally, I spend 10-20 minutes reading a spiritual book (I’ve been working through Divine Mercy in My Soul on and off since Easter).
All in all, it takes about 30 minutes, but I sincerely don’t know how I would get through the day without it. When I get thrown off of my routine while traveling or something, I feel it. I’m more irritable, I have less patience, I’m more selfish, and so on and so forth. Spending time in prayer first thing in the morning equips me for the day ahead in a way that I so badly need.
I also try very hard to pray a daily rosary (and have gotten SO much better about it since downloading a podcast version to play in the car), listen to worship music throughout the day when I’m home, and keep up with my Every Sacred Sunday journal. We had a good streak of praying an additional decade of the rosary as a family in the evenings, but we need to pick it back up! And of course, we say bedtime prayers with Charlie every night.
Here are a few more things I’ve done in the past, if you’re looking for ideas:
– Did my prayer time as SOON as Charlie went down for his morning nap. See aforementioned 4:30 wakeup stage ;) The trick here was going directly from putting him down in his crib to my room to pray–if I tried to do something else first, my prayer time often didn’t happen.
– Listened to worship music on my commute.
– Set alarms throughout the day as reminders to pray.
– Journaled in a Write the Word Journal (sometimes subbing the featured verse for one from the lectionary).
Okay, I am so anxious to know! Do you have a daily prayer routine? What does it look like or how has it changed over the years? I’d love to learn from what has worked for you.
P.S. The cozy pajama set I’m wearing in the photos above is c/o Amazon, and is from their Mae line, which is exclusive to Prime members. Don’t be surprised if you catch me in that blush sweatshirt constantly this fall, including when I am not sleeping! You can find it here, and check out the rest of the Mae line here. A few more of my favorites are this racerback lace bralette, this striped robe, and these joggers. Bring on cozy fall mornings, please and thank you :)
Love reading about your routine! I would love to hear about your evening prayer time with Charlie – we also pray with June every night, but I wouldn’t call it particularly “purposeful,” for lack of a better word. As she gets older and more mature I’ve been thinking a lot about how to make it developmentally appropriate for her!
Good question! Right now, we say the same prayers with him every night, and it’s the last thing we do before we put him down. They’re all “formal” prayers (not sure what the right word for that is!): the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Guardian Angel Prayer. I’ve been saying them right before putting him down since he was born and he is definitely remembering some of the words at this point, which I think is so sweet! Our intention, as Charlie begins to talk more, is to use our family prayer time (which we’ve historically done at the beginning of his bedtime routine in order to start winding down) as the opportunity for him and future kids to share the things they want to say thank you to God for and to lift up any special intentions.
I always love reading about other women’s routines and learning from them. Thank you for sharing yours! As for me, I tend to wake up super hungry and almost nauseated from low blood sugar so I really need to have breakfast as soon as I get up. While preparing my food I listen to worship music to ease into the day. After breakfast I get out my Write the Word journal and soak up the word of God. Like you I notice if I don’t get my quiet time in before starting the day. After doing WTW I pray for friends, loved ones, causes that are on my heart that day etc. I’m still struggling to organize my prayer life and haven’t quite figured out yet how I can do it more efficiently without forgetting about someone or something all the time.
I used to wake up the exact same way and needed to eat immediately, but after having a baby when my wake-up times were all over the place, it stopped, haha! I love that you start the day with worship music–we do that on Sundays sometimes and it brings me so much peace. Have you tried the Val Marie Paper prayer journals? The format didn’t really work for me but if your concern is forgetting different intentions to pray for, they might be a great fit for you!
Love this! My morning prayer routine has shifted a bit throughout the last two years as I got married, but one thing has stayed the same – I always read the daily readings and my BIS devotional first thing in the morning. I try and supplement with a morning offering, some mental prayer, and/or spiritual reading. When I don’t stick to my morning prayer time I lose my peace so easily throughout the day and am not nearly as loving as I can be. Also, that pink sweater is SUPER cute :)
It was fun to read how similar our routines are! Mine shifted when I got married too–we used to try to pray a decade of the rosary together in the morning, but then we realized we don’t actually want to talk first thing in the morning, haha :)
Wonderful post! This is also something that I’ve been trying really hard to implement daily. I try to pray the rosary a decade at a time throughout the day, and start off the day with a few of my favorite prayers while my son nurses. Also, I have a before-bed routine too, that includes the final decade of the rosary, Chaplet for the unborn, Act of Contrition, and then I read a chapter from Kempis and/or Lewis, and a chapter of two from the gospels. It doesn’t happen every day, but bookending my days like that have made a HUGE difference in my spiritual outlook. Love the blog!!!
I don’t have an evening prayer routine, so I LOVED reading about yours. It sounds so impactful!
Also, I’m working on a post about praying the rosary for Blessed Is She and would love to include your strategy of praying while nursing, if you wouldn’t mind–I’ll email you! :)
Your routine is awesome! For me right now, it’s reading a few chapters from the Gospels (working my way from Matthew – John), reading daily prayers from a prayer book, and rosary occasionally (I listen to one too from Amazon music). Also working on getting back into a daily Mass routine! I do most reading/prayers at night, but I should get better about starting my day with some sort of offering.
Have you heard of St. Therese’s morning offering? I came across it recently and loved it. As a Little Flower alum, I thought you might like it too! :) https://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/prayers/therese3.htm
I have just come out of a crazy season and this is something I am craving/needing in a HUGE way. I am going to try out something new, since I am not a morning person, which is getting out of bed and having a tea on the couch, and instead of praying or reading, aka, falling back to sleep, just put myself in the presence of God, thoughtfully drink my tea, and focusing on how I want the day to be (remembering Jesus all day, being present to my husband & girls etc) Then, when I am a little more awake, moving to my kitchen table and doing prayer/journaling/Bible studying. I definitely want to incorporate the morning offering! This post has been very helpful and inspiring, thank you!