I have to admit it. For years, people have talked to me about the importance of morning prayer, of starting out each day by dedicating it – and myself – to God. I have tried a bunch of times to do it too. But I find it hard.
Here’s the deal. I’m not a morning person at all. I don’t like getting up any earlier than I have to. I don’t think very clearly in the morning either. I’ve tried prayer journals and devotional books. They’re OK, but I still need a lot of discipline and a measure of focus. I’ve tried the “read the Bible in 365 days” plan too. It’s great, but my brain doesn’t want to digest that much so early in the morning.
I’ve used devotional books too, including My Utmost for His Highest (Oswald Chambers), Morning and Evening (Charles Spurgeon) and These Days (various authors). They’re inspirational, but there’s not a lot of Bible or prayer in there – mostly reflection.
What I really need is a prayer leader – my own private prayer service each morning. So here’s what I’m doing. Each morning, I’m praying along with a “morning prayer” podcast. It’s based on the Episcopal Church’s daily office book so it had a Psalm and two Bible readings along with a prayer of confession, a creed, a chance to pray for others, the Lord’s Prayer and a blessing. It’s also set to music – just the thing for me. As a good Presbyterian, I pause during the prayer of confession to get a little extra confessing time. I usually pause during the intercession time too.
It takes me 15-20 minutes for that. On the good days I can pray and read more as I feel led. On the bad days, at least I’ve started with prayer!
There are several audio resources available for prayer time with a computer or MP3 player. Try them and see what works best for you:
Listen or subscribe to the Morning Prayer podcast from the Episcopal Church in Garrett County: www.episcopalchurchingarrettcounty.org/churchonthewebpage.htm
For a reading and reflection Monday through Friday, check out www.pray-as-you-go.org
For a weekly dose of scripture, prayer, music and contemplation, try the Taizé podcast www.taize.fr/podcast
There’s also an audiobook version of Eugene Peterson’s The Message that divides the Bible up into daily doses (with a day off for reflection and catch-up each week): www.amazon.com/Daily-Message-Complete-Bible/dp/1598594575
I hope one of these will help my fellow morning-prayer-challenged night people out there as much as this has helped me. May God bless you on your journey!