Prayer + Work: What Works Now?
A few tips & tricks to find the holy in your own labor
Last week a reader asked what my morning prayer routine was like. When I answered, I realized that I rarely share about my prayer life—not only because it feels private, but because I feel so far from an expert. Prayer is a perpetual learning for me.
But when she said it was helpful for restarting her own prayer routine, I realized that I love when other people share their prayer practices. It reboots and re-boosts my own fumbling efforts. I’m energized to hear how others encounter God in their daily lives.
So for today’s round-up, a peek inside the prayer practices and work practices that have helped me to deepen the connections between the divine and the mundane.
Let us know what works for you? You never know who might be inspired:
When I wake up, I try to pray a line from a Psalm first thing. I started this practice years ago, and it’s become muscle memory upon waking. If you need inspiration to start memorizing Psalms, this interview with Eugene Peterson lit my fire.
I do lectio divina with the day’s Gospel guided by my friend Kathleen Cahalan on the Ritual app every morning while I’m getting ready. (This is no paid promotion: I genuinely love & use this app all the time!)
I pray another short lectio with the Gospel before I start work each day. It’s a practice of continuous or sustained lectio, which means I read a short passage from the same book over time (2+ years with Matthew, whew). I journal in this Bible as I go.
Morning prayer is my jam, but prayer dwindles as the day goes on. I do follow a few accounts that interrupt my social media scroll with prayer:
The Virtual Abbey on Twitter
Artist Scott Erickson on Instagram
Artist Kreg Yingst at Psalms in Block Prints on Facebook
Breath prayers from Liturgies for Parents on Instagram
Lately I can barely stay awake once I crawl into bed, but in seasons when I can pray evening prayer, I use Give Us This Day.
I find that what I listen to while working makes a huge difference in my focus and mood. Here’s what I’ve been loving lately:
Jazz in the morning.
Nature sounds for focus and flow.
Energetic/uplifting for the afternoon slump.
SILENCE. As an introvert in a house with 7 people, I have to carve out corners of quiet or I go crazy. For my birthday in March, I splurged and bought myself the new noise-canceling AirPods. They are life-changing. Cannot recommend highly enough.
I use the Pomodoro technique for writing when I’m feeling jumping and distracted. Here’s a free online version.
My friend Ellie Roscher reminded me of an exercise called the Eisenhower Matrix where you divide tasks into Urgent/Important/Not Urgent/Not Important. From The Holy Labor archives, here’s an example of how to sort when you’re feeling scattered.
I also keep a commonplace book on my desk open to a quote, poem, or prayer that inspires me for the day.
What’s helping your work or prayer lately?