Reorienting your day through Prayer

By: Caitlin Bootsma

With the academic year beginning once again and Fall around the corner, schedules are inevitably filling up rapidly. For most of us, especially living in a busy place like Northern Virginia, our hours and minutes are exhausted with work, classes, chores, errands and volunteer work.

If you are like me, it can be a struggle to stay faithful to a commitment to pray every day. Sometimes I get overly ambitious with prayer commitments, only to give up entirely several days later.

Yet, with a life that can often be chaotic, I know that I need to remind myself daily about what is truly important to me – living my life with God. One of the wonderful things about our Faith is the richness of prayer traditions. If you are looking for a way to focus on prayer each day (even if it’s only for a few minutes) here are a few ideas:

(Please add to the list in the comment section!):

  • Praying before leaving the house each morning: I’m always surprised what a difference it can make to stop to pray before rushing out the door. Whether it’s a commitment you make by yourself or with your family, even the action of prioritizing prayer over anything else for a minute or two sets the day on the right track.
  • Daily Mass readings: Even if you do not have the opportunity to attend Daily Mass, the daily readings are available every day on the USCCB website and are a great way to re-familiarize yourself with Scripture.
  • Saint of the day: Perhaps you are someone who is most inspired by real-life examples of heroic virtue. It is easy to bookmark sites that tell us briefly about men and women who overcame great struggles to live lives of virtue. See one site here.
  • Keeping a prayer or reminder near your work space: It can be easy to get distracted at work or to act uncharitably in emails, on phone calls to co-workers etc. Several friends have told me that keeping a prayer card, a quote or a crucifix near their workspace reminds them in a physical way to give their work the attention it deserves and to act with charity to those around them.
  • Praying for intentions at dinner: Many of us say grace before meals, but consider making this the time to pray either silently or as a family for your intentions. Offering  difficulties to God as a prayer often seems to lend perspective to challenges in my life.
  • Examining your conscience each night: I’ve had several priests recommend a daily examination of conscience. Consider thinking over your day each night before you go to sleep, asking God for the grace to do better tomorrow.
  • Stop in and visit Our Lord in the Eucharist: While we attend Mass every Sunday, it’s a great idea to pop into an open church, even if for just 15 minutes once a week, to say “hello” to Our Lord. We often, unplanned, stop to chat briefly with our neighbors, people in the grocery store and our coworkers. In fact, sometimes those brief conversations can lead to insights, laughter or a sense of love. The same will happen with Christ in the Eucharist!

There are many more ways of forming daily prayer habits, please consider sharing some that you have found to be most helpful in your life.

8 thoughts on “Reorienting your day through Prayer

  1. If you plan on pryaing at specific times during the day…I found it is helpful to put reminders about what prayer you want to say on your schedule on you phone…The reminders help me refocus on God, in times when I may have lost focus because the needs of this world are taking over and causing me to forget…God bless you!

  2. Thank you for this wonderul article. I got it on Twitter.

    Speaking of Twitter another way to reorient your day is to set up your Twitter account to follow USCCB, Catholic Vote, Pope Benedict, etc.

    I keep a copy of the Magnificat on my desk at work and read the daily prayers and Mass readings in between phone calls and meetings. Just a couple of minutes a few times during the day is all it takes.

    Catholic Radio – I listen in the car to and from work and online when I can while at work.

  3. Thank you for this wonderful article I am always thankful for more ways to enrich my life. I find that just taking a few moment first thing in the morning when waking and then again before going to bed and spending them with God helps me to be a better person and parent. More the person that He would want me to be which is always my goal,

  4. Ackowledging Gods blessing through our daily prayers makes us live with daily miracles.

    Upon waking up I say a prayer of gratitude for another day with our Family and peers.
    Before going to work I’d stopped by our altar to ask for His guidance as I go through my daily task.
    On my way to the office I say the Holy Rosary and ask blessings for people inside the bus.
    Read a daily devotional from my email.
    Alarm my clock in the office so I would be reminded for the 3 o clock prayer
    On my way home say the Divine Mercy Chaplet while hanging on bus railings. ha ha Thank God for the day it was.
    Before sleeping prayer for examination of concsience. Read the Bible and copy verses of inspiration and post on my twitter account.

    Prayer it’s my consolation, my place of peace, with God. Always in His presence.

  5. So many of us live by our eCalendars now. Although I don’t pray the Liturgy of the Hours, I do have reminders throughout the work day for a quick moment – a Hail Mary in the morning, Our Father after lunch, Glory Be before the end of the day– when I see the Pop-up, I don’t forget. Otherwise, the time would be past and I would have missed it. But those quick prayers put me in the mind of God for a moment…

  6. I believe in “Gee Oh Oh Dee, not GOD” one of my siblings responded and there-after turned away in anger when approached by some Baptist proselytizers. At first, I thought something like “Well Well, my brother is showing his usual atheistic tendencies again!”. Actually, I love all of my siblings dearly and have a special compassion and empathy toward this one sibling who was the unfortunate victim of some of my former brash and bullying tendencies while we were all in high school. I guess I was a little too full of myself in high school and perhaps my testosterone levels were a little too high:- not necessarily a good thing when you are a weight lifting brute.

    However, as I thought about my brothers comment, I realized that there is a subtle and profound grain of truth in my brother’s angry statement to the Baptists.

    Now Saint M. Faustina Kowalska is recorded to have been told in an apparition, that GOD’s greatest attribute is HIS GOODNESS. How does this concern us here?

    First, we should note that GOD in a sense has an ontology that is operated at different levels. For example, the mere consecrated sacred species constitute most directly and immediately the body and blood of Christ. Yet, we can easily intuit that even if the Earth would somehow be annihilated into a plasma state with an average temperature of several million Kelvin, or about 10 million degrees F thus resulting in the immediate annihilation of at least the accidental properties of our Lord in the form of the consecrated sacred species; our Lord’s personal two arm, two leg, one head organic and spiritualized body would continue to exist just fine, incorruptible. I am sure that the good Lord, Jesus, might very well be extremely pissed at humanity should we cause such an event to happen. Such an event is plausible under the condition that some unscrupulous crazed government would undertake some bazaar ideological program to develop a certain class of nuclear weapons that would ignite Earth’s entire oceans in a fusion chain reaction thus resulting the fusioning of the entire oceans in under ½ of a second. The energy released would be the equivalent of a portion of TNT with the mass of the Sun, or with 300,000 times the mass of the Earth. As a physicist who has had a conversion from a Cold War Era hawkish attitude with regard to our nuclear deterrent capabilities, I have in the past contemplated rather elaborate forms of nuclear devices that could very well cause this to happen, although I never have and never would formally support such R&D efforts nor advocate for such. Thus, I will spare the reader the details of the concepts for the sake of prudence. In reality, now and for the past several years, I would much rather become a Benedictine Monk then build bombs.

    The point I am trying to make is that scientifically, and certainly philosophically, it is plausible that at the very least, the accidental form of the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus could be completely annihilated by human indiscretion’s. Does this mean we have power over Jesus? Absolutely not! The reason being that Christ Human Body, Human Blood, Human Soul, The Supernatural Life of HIS Soul, and HIS Divinity would be absolutely un-phased by the annihilation of the Earth and all consecrated Sacred Hosts in the Eucharist. After all, the DIVINE NATURE is changeless and therefore is absolutely immune to corruption, and Christ’s Body and Soul existed just fine upon its creation before He first celebrated Mass with the Apostles.

    I think some clergymen have lost a sense of GOD’s ontological substantial invulnerability perhaps as a result of prideful awareness of the powers bestowed on them through Sacramental Ordination to offer the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass. GOD is so much bigger than we can imagine, and while the Eucharist in both of its accidental forms, is very profoundly and directly the Body and Blood of Our Lord, should these Sacred Species be somehow annihilated at once, and I believe such an occurrence to be within the realm of scientific and technological plausibility, the Body, Blood, and Soul that Ascended into Heaven would substantially and accidently continue existing just fine, and utterly uncorrupted. Yes, the good Lord would be steamed, but HE would not be existentially nor ontologically corrupted.

    Second, all human abstractions about GOD such as the use of the Name GOD, cannot contain the immensity of GOD. From ancient Wisdom handed down from the Doctor’s of the Church, we are wise to consider that we learn more about GOD most effectively by learning what HE is not, but also by abstracting DIVINE characteristics about GOD we see in as good and noble in creation.
    GOD is indeed love as we can understand the abstraction of love, but in all objectivity, the statement that GOD is LOVE is woefully inadequate at exhausting the mystery of the ontology and existentiality of GOD.

    Since Saint M. Faustina Kowalska has indeed been Divinely told that GOODNESS is GOD’s greatest characteristic, we are obliged to consider this an ontological fact. GOD would never lie to HIS religious especially in Divine apparitions.

    Just as Our Lord is present in The Holy Eucharist, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, but yet each of the latter four Divine elements would continue to exist just fine upon total corruption of Earth and all of its contents, perhaps likewise, the concept of GOD, even under the strict understanding that there is only one so-called GOD and no other, is epistemologically ancillary to what GOD really is in HIS absolutely exhaustive completeness such as is understood only by GOD HIMSELF commensurate with an absolutely understanding that only GOD can have of HIMSELF due to GOD being the ultimate intellect, the ultimate heart, and the ultimate will.

    However, the reader need not become perturbed an angry that I am thinking that GOD is not the ultimate reality, because, GOD quite simply is GOODNESS ITSELF or GOODNESS HIMSELF.

    Just as Our Lord is completely present under the appearance of the Sacred Species, even Our Lord’s glorified and physical Reselected Body has transcendence over the Sacred Species in the sense that even in the event of absolute planetary annihilation, HIS human body would remain unscathed in terms of the two arm, two leg, one head, etc, composition that we would recognize as HIS human bodily form just as the Apostles did after the HIS Resurrection.

    Does GOD have any other greatest attributes other than GOODNESS, which do not exist? Well I say in the depths of a glorious future eternity to spend with HIM, and in Each of HIS THREE DIVINE PERSONS, THE FATHER, THE SON, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, I say never say never, with the Caveat that such attributes could never be created and would necessarily be eternal.

    Now you may think I am a nut for these counter-intuitive musings, but the rationality of my argument cannot be denied if one assumes the premises.

    Now, please don’t worry that Big Jim (who I am happy to report is losing weight to become a much littler jim through Weigh Watcher’s Online Program) is going to seek employment building bombs at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, Sandia National Laboratory, or Los Alamos National Laboratory. National defense and deterrent capability have a right-full place in our National Security, but quite frankly, as I said previously, I would rather become a Benedictine Monk than build bombs, even more so than one’s that are useless for defense because they are simply to powerful to be used.

    In reality, as of late, I have be re-contemplating a vocation, but I have some health issues that would likely lead to an immediate and complete rejection of my application to seminary, including the obvious current state of morbid obesity. Well, it’s not all that bad, after all, I have lost 85 pounds from my all-time high of 459 pounds around Christmas 2009. All you obese single Catholic men of late middle age such as myself, do not get too amped up with hunger when you drive by Wendy’s fast food restaurants. The local Wendy’s here in Fairfax City along Jermantown Road must have received enough money from me over the last few years to pay a full time cashier two full weeks wages due to my purchases if Triple Baconator Combo Meals, Large. I leave the decision about any remotely possible vocation up to GOD. I am currently happy where I am as a physicist and cannot force a vocation I am not called to. One thing is for certain, I am called to bake wonderful homemade candies this Christmas season. My 9 nieces and nephews would have it no other way. I just have to keep my hand out of the cookie jars on Christmas Eve.

    The main point is to recognize our utter smallness with respect to GOD and with respect to the rest of Creation as we pray , and in doing so, we will have made another step toward arriving at the glories of Sainthood.

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