Pray to start your day

How do you start your day?

I get up and think about coffee. A short priestly blessing (Numbers 6) is usually spoken over the kissed heads of my children when we say goodbye. Other than that, I often don’t think of prayer till I get to the office, but it’s my goal each day to start with a time of prayer, and I don’t always start with it but get to a time of prayer at lunch or other time.

I use a prayer guide edited and compiled by Phyllis Tickle called The Divine Hours, recommended to me by Wade Hodges (his practice personally, with our Garnett staff is the true power of the recommendation).

In conversation with several Garnett Church of Christ partners Sunday, a common theme was that people need guidance in their spiritual journeys, with Bible reading, with prayer templates.

For those in this boat, here’s a recommendation for family prayer: we use a very helpful prayer guide by David and Heather Kopp called Praying the Bible with Your Family.

Whatever method of prayer, start your day with prayer, find times to pray during the day, and end your day with prayer. It’s hard sometimes for me to pray at night because I’m so tired when I hit the pillow, but Jill often asks us to pray, and sometimes we’ll pray about something specific or we’ll occasionally say the Lord’s Prayer together.

The Lord’s Prayer is a constant in our church. We’ve been saying it together in each assembly for about two years now.

Sometimes a few minutes of pure silence helps to acknowledge that the day is not about your activity but God’s work all around you, happening even as we are still. My brother said he tries to start each day with five minutes of silence. Lots of us are silent when we wake, but how focused is that silence on the reality of God and his presence?

As I mentioned, that time when I wake is often filled with visions of coffee plums dancing in my head and a desire to get some reading or writing time before everyone else wakes up (not that I’m always first up–my kids and Jill are usually up pretty early too).

Haiku and prayer

Remember haiku from grammar school? You thought it was corny, right? OK, you were partly right.

But consider this: haiku is a way of sabbath ceasing for any moment of the week. It’s a way to jot down, reflect upon, and capture a moment in time. Turned toward God, it becomes another form of prayer.

Here are two examples I wrote from early this morning.

It’s not only about the exercise

Forty degrees out
I’m running with my daughter
Still dark the morning

 

God of Seasons

Refreshing morning
Leaves still cling tight to branches
Praise God of seasons

A few reminders:

  1. The syllable pattern is 5-7-5
  2. Pick seasonal word(s)
  3. Seize a moment by reflecting on a part of nature or humanity

Praying the Bible with your family

Praying the Bible with your familyI really like the series of books David and Heather Kopp have produced, for their focus on prayer practiced in families and home life. One of their books, Praying the Bible with your family is a great resource for family devotional times.

Here is an example of the format:

Quotes Job 38

Brief meditation on Job

Two questions: What do you think is the most amazing thing God has ever made? What does it tell you about God’s character?

Biblical principle

Prayer from the Bible: “God of hippopotamuses and hailstones, Lord of rainbows and coconut trees, Maker of snowflakes and snails and parakeets, Father of every living person–especially in this house . . .”

I was sold on the book while standing in the bookstore reading that prayer. I smiled and tucked the book under my arm and headed to the checkout. We soon began using it in our family times.