Most of us who were raised in the Catholic Church are familiar with the standard go-to prayers. We probably learned how to say the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be when we were little kids. But despite all of those familiar prayers, not everyone starts their day out with morning prayers.
I never learned any morning prayers. In fact, the thought that it was a good idea to pray in the morning hadn’t struck me. Then, I stumbled upon a prayer called “Morning Offering” in a book of prayers I’d received in a religious ed class.
Now as an adult, I’ve heard some Catholics go so far as to say that failing to pray in some manner when you wake each morning is a fairly big neglect.
Here’s why praying morning prayers is so important, and three good morning prayers to get you started in the practice.
Offer your day to God
As Catholics striving for Heaven and working toward becoming saints, we should be trying to grow closer to God each day.
While we live in the world and go about our daily duties, this is no easy task. If we want to head in that direction, though, we need to be purposeful about praying and offering our lives to God.
Not all of us are mentally alert enough to make early morning the main time that we set aside for God each day.
But even the drowsiest of are capable enough to pray some simple and brief morning prayers.
Whether it’s formal or informal, offer the Holy Spirit everything that might happen in your life throughout the day.
Take a moment to dedicate your day to the Trinity each morning. Ask the Father for his mercy to help in trials. Offer your sufferings up with Jesus, the Son. And finally, thank the Holy Spirit in advance for blessings and joys.
Some standard morning prayers
Wording for the typical morning offering might very slightly depending on which prayer book you find it in. The traditional morning offering prayer often suggested to Catholics is this one:
“Dear Jesus, I offer You all my prayers, works, and sufferings for this day. For all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart. In union with the Holy Sacrifice of Mass throughout the world. In reparation for all my sins. For the intentions of all our associates. And in particular for the intention of the Holy Father for this month.”
When I pray this prayer, I also typically add on at the end a couple other “particular” intentions, such as areas I know I will be struggling in today.
A morning prayer for clarity of purpose
There are many powerful morning prayers. But there’s one specific prayer I have found to be pretty helpful in the past that would be a fitting one to start your day with, too.
During my single years, as I struggled to discern whether my vocation was to marriage or religious life. As I tried to determine God’s plan for my life, I stumbled up a beautiful prayer by Thomas Merton.
This prayer specifically asks for God’s help in knowing his will for our lives. It asks him to sanctify all our actions. We also his help to move us toward him, even when our actions stray from his plan for us. It’s also a daily reminder of God’s goodness.
“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone. Amen.”
Create your own morning prayer routine
You don’t necessarily have to turn to a pre-composed prayer to start your day off oriented toward God. If you’re more comfortable with “free style” prayer, that’s fine too! Let the spirit lead you.
Composing your own prayer to God at the start of each day can be a great way to ensure that it’s heartfelt and focused.
If you want to compose your own morning offering each day, here are some ideas of what you might want to include:
- Thank God for the rest you just had and the day that’s ahead of you. You’re alive after a night’s sleep, and you’re facing one more day in which he keeps you alive to glorify and serve him.
- Offer to God the trials, struggles, joys, and triumphs you will face for the day. You don’t know yet what the day holds for you, but God knows specifically what your day will look like since he’s outside of time! Offer to him whatever it may hold, both the good and the bad.
- Ask God for help and strength in difficult areas of your day. Sometimes we already know there is trouble on the horizon. We might wake knowing we’ll be fighting loneliness today, or even just that our day is likely to be trying in some way.
- Ask God to pour his grace and help upon any other situations or intentions in our hearts. Perhaps we have family or friends who are struggling with something in particular. Or we might just pray for the needs of our church family or the Pope’s intentions in a more general way.
- Entrust your day into Mary’s hands as well. Christ gave us his mother as a special help and friend, and she can always bring our prayers and our daily offerings God on our behalf. She loves to assist us, and we can always be sure of God heeding her requests for us! You can even consecrate your day to her Immaculate Heart.
What precisely we say in our morning prayers isn’t always what’s most important. We should just try our best to ensure that we remember each morning to lift our hearts and minds to God!