Katie encourages us to spend our first fundamental minutes of our day in prayer. She gives some examples of how some saints start their day and invites us to take inspiration in that for our daily mornings.
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Reflective Study Guide Questions
“Virtues are formed by prayer. Prayer preserves temperance. Prayer suppresses anger. Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy. Prayer draws into the soul the Holy Spirit, and raises man to Heaven.”Saint Ephraem of Syria
- It’s easy to focus on praying more and think of whether we’re successful by adding up the number of hours we spend in prayer, or the number of prayers we say in any given day. But instead of looking at the logistics like that, ask yourself instead, “How much more am I able to love in this situation than I used to be?” Ask yourself, “Can I see God in this?” That is how you can determine your growth through your time in prayer.
- Is your heart in the right place when you pray? Are you praying for God’s will to be done, or your own? We must take on the attitude that Jesus shows us in Gethsemane, and pray, “Not what I want, but what you want.”
- What are some tasks that you do every single day? How can you assign a prayer to that task, so that you say that prayer everyday when you do that?
- Is there something you see many times throughout the day at home or at work that can be a reminder to take a moment to pray — to offer something up to God, or to thank Him?
“When You’re Struggling to be a Joyful Catholic”
“Five Ways to Improve Your Prayer Life” (Fr. Ed Broom, OMV, Catholic Exchange)
Text: The Fundamental First (and Last) Minute
Starting Our Morning
Archbishop Fulton Sheen once pointed out…“There are two ways of waking up in the morning. One is to say “ Good morning God!” and the other is to say “Good God. Morning!”.” Which way do you wake up in the morning? Most of us wouldn’t dream of starting the day without so much as a thought about someone we love. Yet, so many of us begin our heavily scheduled days without so much as a thought directed toward Jesus; the one we should love above all else.
First Fundamental Minutes
Saint Gemma Galgani offered this thought to God in her first fundamental minutes of the day… “Can you see that as soon as the day breaks I think of You? I love you Jesus!” Maybe that’s your fundamental first minutes prayer. As I like to call, that crucial time right when you wake up before you start thinking of a thousand other things: checking emails or social media or getting ready for the day. Like St. Gemma, you can simply say “I love you Jesus!”. Or maybe you could choose to repeat the venerable Fulton Sheen’s cheerful greeting “Good morning God!”.
Other great ways to capitalize on your first fundamental minutes include starting the day by praying over the daily mass readings or by reading other passages in scripture. If you aren’t already using your fundamental first minutes for prayer… try it! Pick a prayer that works for you and see what happens. You may quickly notice that your other prayer rituals and routines throughout the rest of the day all seem to depend on and draw energy from your prayer in those fundamental first minutes.
Start and End it With a Prayer
If you want to sustain a strong prayer life, start and end your day with prayer. I was talking about prayer with a friend of mine a little while ago and she admitted to me that as parents many of us aren’t good at taking time for ourselves; arguing that our family responsibilities outweigh our need to recharge with some personal quiet time. But that car ride to run an errand by yourself may be one of your only times really alone with the Lord that day. Those moments before the children wake up may be your only time alone with your Heavenly Father in our hardworking 24 hour timespan.
If you, like me, wake up to an adorable toddler poking at your eye and are thrust into your day without sufficient time for prayer, speak to God whatever few but meaningful words you can. And then, plan a time to dialogue with Him before bed. Even Jesus believed in making prayer the first activity of the day. Scripture says, “And in the morning a great while before the day He rose and went out to a lonely place and there He prayed.”
If Jesus did it, that’s a good enough reason for me!
About Katie (Perterson) Warner
Katie (Peterson) Warner of CatholicKatie.com is a wife, stay-at-home mom, author and speaker who helps family men and women learn the practical strategies and resources they need to take small steps toward becoming leaders at living more spiritual and meaningful lives, together with their families. Katie is the author of Head & Heart: Becoming Spiritual Leaders for Your Family (Emmaus Road Publishing), a correspondent for the National Catholic Register, and a contributing writer for the IntegratedCatholicLife.org. She has presented in venues like the National Catholic Bible Conference, the Catholic Family Conference, numerous Legatus chapters, the Eucharistic Congress of Atlanta, the Augustine Institute’s acclaimed Symbolon and Opening the Word programs, and on EWTN radio and EWTN television. Katie is the part-time Manager of Communication and Evangelization for Catholics Come Home. Katie and her husband, Raymond, have two children, and her favorite ministry work is family life. You connect with Katie on Facebook, Twitter, and through her website at CatholicKatie.com.