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 :)