Pre-Prep Prayer Practices for Real Life Living
In my neck of the woods, we are about two weeks away from the start of the school year (except for the kids who have already started at year-round charter schools), so all of the articles about the importance of preparing the night before–backpacks, homework, breakfast, lunches, etc–are starting to appear.
We all know mornings go more smoothly when we’ve taken the time to prep the night before. We don’t always do it, but we can acknowledge that, yes, mornings are less hectic if, at the very least, lunch is already made or the all the homework is in the backpack by the door.
I am not not a morning person, but I’m not a feet-hit-the-floor-running kind of morning person. I need some time to wake up, to drink some coffee, to slowly enter into my day. If I get up early enough, I can have time to do that. Do I often get up early enough? Nope. So I typically launch myself into the day half-awake, overly caffeinated and, hopefully, fully dressed. So morning prayer time generally ends up being, “Help me today, Lord. Thanks in advance.” If I get in an “Amen,” then I’m really on my game that day.
Recently, I’ve begun taking a cue from all the pre-prep advocates and advisors, and prayer-prepping the night before. I take the time in the evening to pray about the day to come. This is kind of a flip for me. My old prayer ritual (which evolved organically over time and had no real intentionality behind it), was to spend then evening going over the day gone by. I would give thanks, ask forgiveness, intercede for people I had come in contact with who needed prayer and go to bed. And I wouldn’t think about praying for the next day until I woke up in the morning. Those prayers were pretty hit and miss.
It only took me a couple of decades to realize that praying for the day ahead the night before is really the way to go. This kind of prayer has added benefits beyond the spiritual. For one, I have to actually think about the next day in order to pray about it. Who am I going to see? Where do I have to be? Do I need to dress like a grown up or go with my default aging camp counselor look? Do I need to pack a lunch or am I going out? In pre-praying, I’m also pre-prepping.
It has also done good things for my sleep. If I’m worried about something or someone, or know I’m going to have to have a difficult conversation, praying over those things instead of simply fretting over them goes a long way in getting my mind ready for rest. I also start the day not feeling stressed over trying to find some prayer time before I get out the door or feeling guilty about not getting in any prayer time at all. My pre-prayers carry over to the morning.
And would you believe it? By pre-prepping with prayers the night before so that I don’t have to try to squeeze them in come morning, I find that I often have the time to get in some morning prayer as well.
So give it a try. Before you start with your other nighttime rituals, take a moment do a little pre-prep praying for the day to come. See if your days don’t start (and finish!) a little better because of it.