I want to share with y’all a bit of practical thoughts on prayer and on-going spiritual development. Specifically, the routine that I follow throughout a typical day. Hopefully, this might be useful for you.
This is an ever-changing thing, but right now this is a close approximation of the schedule that I keep throughout a normal weekday.
7:00am – Alarm goes off…I push snooze
7:10am – Alarm goes off again…I push snooze
7:20am – Alarm goes off again…I push snooze
7:30am – Do I really need to tell you what happens next?
8:00-8:30am – I actually get up
8:30-9:15am – Shower, clothes, coffee…mostly in that order
Sometime around or before 9:30am – Sit down to begin my morning prayer routine that I have scheduled to actually do at 7:45am…close enough. This time looks something like this:
– Read the passages of Scripture from the daily lectionary
– Sit in silent contemplation for 23 minutes (I set a timer)…every 90 seconds or so fight off random thoughts about who knows what or crippling fear that I’m praying incorrectly and God will therefore abandon me to Oblivion
– Finally experience a feeling of grace and peace just in time for my 23-minute timer to go off and ruin the moment
10:00am – A reminder on my phone goes off telling me to pray a prayer I learned in recovery:
God, I offer myself to you, to build with me and to do with me as you will.
Release me from my bondage to self, that I may better do your will.
Take away my difficulties that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of your power, your love, and your way of life.
May I do your will always.
10:15am – Go to a coffee shop to start procrastinating on the work that I need to do that day
10:45am – Actually start working…set a timer for 50 minutes
11:35am – Timer goes off…I stop working and talk to people in the coffee shop, call a friend, or stalk Scott Erickson on Instagram
11:45am – Start working again…
1:30pm – Begin to feel my brain shutting down, my stomach rumbling, my nervous system regretting the amount of caffeine intake…stalk Scott Erickson a bit more before packing my things and leaving the coffee shop
2:00pm – A reminder on my phone goes off telling me to pray another prayer I learned in recovery:
God, I am now willing that you would have all of me, good and bad.
I humbly ask that you would remove from me every single defect of character that stands in the way of my usefulness to you or to others.
Grant me strength, as I go forward from here, to do your will.
2:30pm – Get home and eat lunch
3:30pm – Take my dog on a walk…while walking start listening to a podcast…10 minutes in realizing that I really don’t like most podcasts…stop listening…call a friend and attempt to have a conversation without sounding like I’m as winded and out of shape as I actually am…fail to do so
4:30pm – Think about sitting down and reading some spiritual book that will edify my soul…sometimes actually read…most times watch reruns of The Simpsons
5:30pm – A reminder on my phone goes off telling me to pray yet another prayer that I actually knew before recovery:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offense, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.
6:30pm – Spend time with friends/family, attend a church shindig, or go to a recovery meeting of some flavor
9:00pm – Sit down in my favorite chair at home and read Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, or another of my favorite novels
10:00pm – Alarm goes off on my phone telling me to do my evening prayer before going to bed…I watch TV instead
10:45pm – Finally get into bed and journal briefly, prayerfully recalling the events of the day…start nodding off in the middle of the Lord’s Prayer
11:00pm – Push my dog out of the way so I have just enough space on the bed to actually sleep…get woken up in the middle of the night by him reclaiming that territory
That’s my typical day, give or take.
It’s a work in progress, but what I’ve noticed is that the more intentional I am about taking time throughout the day to maintain my spiritual connection with God and with others, the more peace I experience.
It’s as if being fully alive is simply a matter of being present to the moment at hand, and then sharing that moment by honestly giving it away to my brothers and sisters and God himself.
Anyway, hope this helps.