I don't know about you, but when I wake up in the morning, the second my foot hits the floor I don't have a chance to slow down until the day is over. So much to do and never enough time.
I found this especially difficult over the past year and change as I was living in a structured, regimented environment. Usually, what would happen is when I woke up I'd have an overwhelming urge to hit the head (that is, go to the bathroom) once I sat upright.
By the time I went and got back to my bunk I needed to make it, get cleaned up and dressed, make roll call, get breakfast, gear up and get to a pickup location for transport. Let's just say that whether or not I managed to squeeze in a prayer, I never made breakfast. The saving grace there was the quarter to half-mile trot to the transport location, during which I was able to touch base with God, though that did not really meet the needs of prayer and meditation prior to beginning the day.
Now, I am in a different location with a different routine. Breakfast is the wakeup call (and I'm not skipping it now) and after that everything is one big flurry of activity to get to your assignment and then you are working non-stop, with no opportunity to step away from it all for a moment. I was still encountering the same problem, once I moved, there was no stopping after waking.
As I strive to improve my relationship with my Higher Power, and improve my spirituality and life, I find myself struggling with the conundrum presented by modem day life.
You've heard my situation and, most of you, in order to be as productive and efficient as possible in the morning, have to complete the task of morning toiletries, dress yourself and perhaps others, pack the things needed for the day for yourself and others and complete a myriad of other tasks and chores. That is just to leave the house in the morning, never mind what you have to accomplish between home and work or school.
However, our spiritual preparation each day should begin with prayer and meditation upon awakening to place us in proper balance with the spiritual and corporeal realms and open the channels to our Higher Power needed to navigate the straits of the day tuned to His guidance.
My solution to this dilemma is such genius in its simplicity that it had to be God's inspiration answering the internal turmoil I experienced when starting the day without proper prayer and meditation and finding it impossible to find a moment to get to it until the day was essentially over.
This is what I now do every day without fail, and I'm sharing it for those that need help in that area. You can certainly adapt it to your situation, and you are encouraged to improve on it. This is just a starting point:
1. Assume The Position
When my eyes open and I become fully conscious, I roll onto my knees right there in the bed, clasp my hands on the pillow and rest my head on them. This also puts your thumbs close enough to your ears that you can cover your ear canals, should there be auditory distractions you need to block out.
2. Open The Channel
Start with praises. These bring you into a place of worship and meditation, as well as helps tune out the influence of your surroundings. It also gets the attention of your Higher Power so that he can join you in your spaces: heart, mind and body.
3. Give Thanks
Thanks are a form of praise, but are also you giving God the recognition for everything that he has given you and blessed you with, large and small. It is also a way for you for you to humble yourself and not take for granted His many blessings in your life:
a. Start with thanks for being able to, and allowed to, see the light of another day (though when in total darkness I sometimes joke with God and thank Him for being able to see the night of another day).
b. For every breath - past, present and future, as well as your health.
c. For your sanity, sobriety and salvation.
d. For the roof over your head, clothes on your back, shoes on your feet, money in your pocket (or finances).
e. For His will for your life.
f. I personally like to thank him for this experience we call life, its lessons, events, wisdom and the sharing of it with others.
g. For the family, friends and loved ones in your life.
h. I thank Him for being born a child of God and of light.
i. For His many blessings; grace, longsuffering, kindness, love, protection.
Now the amount of time I spend giving thanks and the things I give thanks for varies from day to day, depending on my focus and the amount of time I have. Regardless of the amount of time I have, there are some things on the list that are never left out.
4. Ask Him For What You Need
This is a point that can cause disagreements in its execution. I am not going to give advice here on what to ask and how to ask it. What I will do though is tell you what I do, which seems to work fine for me.
a. I ask for His protection.
b. I ask for forgiveness of my sins, His help and guidance in becoming a better person and sinning no more.
c. I ask for His will in my life to prevail over mine, and the sensitivity, awareness and wisdom to be able to recognize and be receptive of His guidance.
d. I ask for favor in all my dealings and that He open the doors that need to be opened and close the doors that need to be closed according to His will.
e. I ask to be His servant and a vessel for Him to work through to help others.
f. I ask to become a guiding light and shining example of what a life blessed by Him can be like so that my joy, happiness, success and blessings can be a living testimony of His will at work in my life.
g. I ask for the wisdom and knowledge to be able to help those around me.
h. I ask for the continued health, prosperity and safety of friends and loved ones.
As with thanks, the time available, my focus and my needs affect what and how much I ask for, but there are some things that are always a part of my prayers.
5. Special Requests
Here is the part of prayer where you address special needs and situations. For your friends and loved ones having difficulties, pray for relief that fits into God's will for them. For example, for the out-of-work friend, don't pray for God to give them the job they just applied for, but pray for them to be led to the job that God has planned for them to have. If that happens to be the one they just applied for, so be it, but if not they can then be led to where it is they need to be.
I believe that the following is the greatest weapon against your enemies and brings the greatest blessings to yourself:
a. Ask that your enemies, and anyone you are having problems with, be blessed with the same happiness, peace and purpose that you are now blessed with.
b. Ask for the patience and guidance when dealing with them that will further God's will for their life and put you in a position to be a blessing to them.
6. Thank Him For Hearing Your Prayers And Moving On Them
Claim your blessings by thanking Him for everything he has done for you in the past, what He is doing for you in the present and is going to do for you in the future. Thank Him for His acting on the things that you have just brought to Him in prayer.
7. Close With An Amen
After closing, keep the channel open with some more praise. Now that you have spiritually balanced and grounded the start of your day and opened the channels for His will and guidance through the day, you need to be on standby so that you can receive incoming messages and be able to send out additional requests and communication when needed. Additional meditation, prayer and praise throughout the day accomplishes that.
For example, if you woke up late and were only able to fire off a quick bare-bones prayer, leaving the channel open after that awakening centering and tuning in makes it is so much easier to flesh out your prayer and meditation throughout the day. As you commute to work or school, stand in the coffee line, wait for an elevator, wait on hold during your telephone calls, etc., your prayer and meditation is easier to add to and continue than it would be to start from scratch in rush hour traffic or while preparing for that big meeting.
For those in situations where constant vigilance is imperative (12 steppers, first responders, armed forces) starting off the right way in the morning could literally be the difference between life and death later on in the day.
So don't delay, start off your day, every day, with prayer before you let your feet touch the ground!!