The Seventh Commandment, “Thou shall not steal,” tells us not to take for ourselves what belongs to another. Each day is given to us by God, and while we have free will and numerous choices on how to spend a day, we need to consciously acknowledge that the day is a gift. How does God want us to spend it?
With this in mind, I want to discuss the place of prayer in our daily lives. So many people say they would like to pray but don’t have time – too many demands. Let’s take a look at some ways we can “steal time” and give it to God. It might take some time to develop a pattern using these ideas, but the end result of your effort will be worth it – a more perceptible walk with God in daily life.
1. When you first get up and head toward the coffee pot, pray the Morning Offering: “O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you all my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day, for all the intentions of your Sacred Heart, in union with the holy sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in reparation for my sins and for the intentions of my family and the Holy Father. Amen.”
Memorize it, and you will be surprised at how that little prayer begins to shape your day.
2. As you begin to eat breakfast or run out the door with a cup of coffee, say: “Lord, thank you for giving me this day. May I live it for your honor and glory.” At this hour, you may be engulfed by small children and their needs, or the needs of an elderly parent: Just stop, look up toward heaven and simply say the name of “Jesus.” Let that simple one-word prayer tell the Lord that you look to him as the source of all you need this day.
3. When you arrive at work, close the door of your office for a few minutes. Read one of the psalms, read the day’s Gospel, give God your concerns and read another psalm to thank him for his love for you. I promise that as you put those few minutes to work every day, you will be amazed at the insight and confidence you will have as you confront all the day’s problems.
4. Perhaps at noon time you can actually sit down at your desk or kitchen table and thank him for the morning, giving him your concerns for the rest of the day. Perhaps you have only one minute – give it to him. Do the same before the evening meal and before you go to bed.
5. Read the Mass readings for the day or listen to my daily radio program on the readings of the day (renewalministries.net). It only takes a few minutes but the end result is that you have the living word of God at work in you all day long and it will change you.
6. Read a good biography of a saint. Daily reading of such material inspires and encourages me – even if you only have time for a paragraph or two.
Over time you will sense his presence. He always answers when we call on his name, even if we have no human experience of an answer in a tangible way. Faith tells us that he always hears us when we call upon him.
We will almost never find the perfect amount of time that we would like. But if we take advantage of the times of day I have suggested, I think I can almost guarantee that God will bless your stolen time – for him!