I began my “Good Morning Presence Prayers” where I connect prayer with two routine tasks I do every day when it always seemed like my day started on its own without leaving me the time to start the day with prayer.
How to do this prayer practice
1. Connect the prayer for God’s Presence with a daily chore.
I really wanted to find a way to focus on God’s presence every morning, but every day there was something that needed doing right away. Believing Brother Lawrence was “onto something” in his little book The Practice of the Presence of God, I looked at my day and found two routine times to practice God’s presence as my day begins. Since I do these two things every morning, the opportunity is available daily inviting me to recognize God’s presence in the day’s beginning.
2. Pray for God to order your day as you put something in order.
I pray for God to order my day while I’m making the bed. You could use any small task where you order or organize things daily.
When you break down the task of making a bed, there are many steps. Though many, those steps are ordered building one on the other. Pulling the sheets tight, fluffing the pillows, pulling up the spread, tucking it around pillows, and finally placing the decorative pillows that “finish off” the final picture all must be done in order. What a mess to try to tuck the spread around the pillows before the sheets are smoothed and pulled up! What a wonderful opportunity to pray!
As I tackle this task which only takes a couple of minutes, I pray for God to order my day according to God’s will. I pray for the things that happen to be in God’s plan for my life and for the lives of the people I will meet. I turn my heart over to God’s strength so I may walk through the day “neatly” following God’s way.
3. Praise God as you open something.
I praise God when I open the blinds. You could do the same when opening anything, such as opening the garage door or the back door to let the pet in or out.
Blind opening is my praise time! As I open the four blinds on the floor-to-ceiling windows across my foyer, I am called to wonder at the glory of the morning. I thank God for a good night’s rest. I praise Creator God for all we have been given. God’s majesty opens into my day as I open the blinds. I am grateful for the opportunity each morning just to open the blinds in praise of God’s great glory.
My Personal Tips and Experiences:
Sometimes my mind doesn’t cooperate with my heart’s desire to pray and I’ll find myself totally thinking about something different than praying when I’m making the bed. That’s when I open myself to God’s grace and try to focus on a tiny step of what I’m doing. Is there a wrinkle in the spread? Lord, help me to face the difficulties of this day with your strength. Could the pillows be placed in a different pattern? Lord, your gift of creativity is powerful. Let my heart be open to places to creatively express your love. Or Lord, let me not fall prey to a routine of being with You. Keep our relationship fresh every day.
Some days I use the whole bed-making time to pray for my family and our relationships. It’s an especially good time of the day to remember everyone’s rest is over and they are out doing their work.
For well over two years now, this prayer path has been part of my morning routine. It is nothing huge but it is vitally important to my day. The task of making the bed is converted to the joy of being attached to God’s presence so regularly and early in the day. I guess there are just some things one cannot escape in the mornings. Making the bed is one. Thank God for that in my life!
Scriptural or traditional roots of this practice:
I had always been fascinated by the title of Brother Lawrence’s little book, Practice of the Presence of God. The idea seemed to fit right with Paul’s admonition to “pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) How, in the middle of all the “stuff” I did with my daily life, could I pray all the time? Brother Lawrence’s book encouraged me to look at the ordinary tasks as times to seek God, to praise God, to focus on God where I was right then, right there. The practice was difficult at first. For years I tried to focus on God randomly with whatever task I was doing. Attaching the prayer to a routine task made the prayer time flow. Now I find myself praying during other tasks even without them being routine, day-to-day tasks.