There are opportunities throughout the day, in all the background times we have. Driving, walking from one place to another, pausing to think, transitioning from one thing to another. Those times are there, no matter how brief. They are usually filled with something – some worry or planning or “daydreaming.” We can use them – even if they are 30 seconds long – to focus our attention, to return to the thought and desire of the morning, to note how this upcoming event of my day fits into this desire I have. Some examples might help.
I am taking a shower. My mind is already zooming about the day ahead. Can I focus, for just a minute, for even a simple prayer? “Lord, help me to know you are with me today. I need you. Help me to stay open to discover ways you love me.”
I am driving to work. My mind is perhaps filled with what I need to do today. Perhaps I have others in the car with me. Perhaps it’s my habit to listen to the radio. Can I take just a moment to return my focus to the Lord’s presence? It will change how I listen to the radio or deal with the people I’m with in the car. Perhaps I am alone and can turn the radio off and give myself 20-30 minutes of time to focus and reflect. I could look at each of the events in my upcoming day and prepare to enter into them in the way I desire.
There will inevitably be some challenges in my day, perhaps even some conflicts. As I become more and more reflective, I will become more and more familiar with the “patterns” I display. In the “approach” to those situations and people, I can take just a moment and let the background reflection prepare me. Perhaps I can take a slow, deep breath and in 15 seconds pray: “Lord, I know you love me. Let me experience your sustaining love and care here.” Or, “Lord, you have forgiven me so many times for this pattern. Thank you for your love and mercy. Fill me with your peace now.” Or, “Lord, you have let me desire to be with you before. Let me be with you here, so that your love can flow through me.” Or, “Take, Lord, receive. I offer myself to you in this. Give me only your love and your grace. I ask for nothing more.”
Whether I find time for prayer periods this week or do my reflections throughout the week in the background times, it can be very profitable to keep repeating the “Take, Lord, receive” prayer. Perhaps to memorize it, or find my own words for it.