"Have you spoken to the Lord today?" An older man asked me, out of the blue, as he passed me along the aisles of Kroger. I thought for a moment, about if I had, and what time it was, if I had eaten and thanked Him or if I had made my morning offering.
"I guess I haven't," I replied, embarrassed that I had been awake for nearly four hours at this point in the day and had failed to acknowledge my True Love, Christ.
But just as cheerfully as he had asked his question, he simply replied, "He'd love to hear from you."
And as we walked away from each other, I thanked him for this sweet reminder and thanked God for this man.
I've been thinking about this man and what he'd said for a couple of days now, and I've been trying to think of ways to be intentional about beginning my days prayerfully. I can't imagine going through my entire morning without checking my phone or talking to my children, yet I tend to forget to even say hello to my Lord and Savior.
I've come up with a list of ten ways to prayerfully begin your day, arranged in order of simplicity and level of commitment. I recommend picking up new habits one at a time and taking small steps towards holiness. I'll be purchasing a small crucifix, printing off a few prayers, and challenging myself to develop a few of these sanctifying habits.
- Keep a crucifix beside your bed and kiss it as you first wake up. This simple and wonderful idea comes from Matt Fradd of the Pints with Aquinas podcast. I love this small, olive wood one.
- Make the Sign of the Cross as you get out of bed.
- Say a simple prayer as you're getting ready: a Hail Mary, or Jesus I trust in You.
- Pray the Morning Offering prayer.
- Pray aloud on the way to school or work, especially if you are driving with your children. Thank God for the day, praise Him for something beautiful, and ask for blessings, guidance, and protection as you try to let His will be done.
- Open up the Blessed is She daily devotion (subscribe via email here) before you check your email or social media.
- Offer up your least favorite part of the morning for someone close to you.
- Make a small sacrifice for your spouse or children by doing something to make their morning easier. I almost always set out my husband's clothes and make his latte and I know it means a lot to him.
- Visit Jesus in Adoration, even if only for a few minutes. My daughter attends a Catholic school right beside our parish, which is blessed to have a perpetual adoration chapel. I don't visit as often as I would like, but when I do manage to spend a few moments in the Real Presence of Our Lord, I leave feeling comforted, nourished, ready to face the day.
- Go to daily Mass. I also don't attend Mass very often in the week, but I never regret it when I do make the time and effort. Being a mother of a little one, wrangling him during Mass is always a struggle and sacrifice - but the gift of receiving the Eucharist is more than worth it!
"Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament... There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves upon earth..." - Letters of Tolkien, 53
What would you add to the list? I'd love to hear! And if you found this list helpful or inspiring, I'd be so appreciative if you'd take a moment to share it on Facebook or Twitter!