On a Wing and a Prayer


On a Wing and a Prayer

Are you the type of person who greets the morning with prayer? Do you start your day with quiet time or Bible study? Do you immediately offer your day to the Lord?

I wish I were that type of person. Instead, I wake up grumpily to the blaring of my alarm or the screaming of a toddler- sometimes both. I groggily grab the toddler from her crib and try to persuade her to come snuggle with me for just a few more minutes. But it’s in vain. Her screaming didn’t just wake me up. It woke her brother up, too.

Before I know it, the morning routine is in full force. If I’m lucky, I’m able to squeeze a few minutes to change clothes and throw my hair in a ponytail.

The day’s quickly lost in breakfast, getting dressed, playtime, snack time, loading dishes, music time, errands, story time, washing dishes, cleaning, fussing, laundry, time outs, Caillou and Little Einsteins, putting away dishes, wiping tears, healing boo boos, sweeping floors, changing diapers, more fussing, lunchtime. Before I know it the day’s half gone. After naptime, it’s back to noise, play, screams, snacks, dinner, bath, bed, another load of dishes, and more laundry.

As I sit in bed and reflect on the day, I cringe at all the moments I lost my temper. I chastise myself for having paper thin patience.  I regret not being the most loving, attentive wife, mother, or human being for that matter.

And I know that it all begins when my head comes up off my pillow. I know that my day would be different if I made time for quiet reflection before hurtling into chaos. But frankly, I like my sleep.

Recently, I picked up a pocket book called “Family Prayers” at our local Catholic bookstore. It cost just a dollar, but it has revolutionized my prayer time. It includes over 30 prayers for families, children, husbands, wives, and much more. This book of simple, quick prayers has helped me form the words that are already in my heart.

I’ve loved every prayer, but two prayers in particular have changed the way I’ve led my days. I’m eternally grateful  for stumbling upon this small book because it has worked big things inside my heart.

I’m far from perfect. I know I’ll still wake up grouchy some days.  I know I’ll still lose my patience with my little ones. I know every moment of the day will not be filled with smiles and joy and gratitude. But, on the days I say these two prayers, I’m more conscious of my actions. I lose my temper a little less than usual. I manage to scrub dishes, clean toilets, fold laundry with a servant’s heart (no easy feat for this gal).

I thought I’d share them with you in case they’re what you’ve been needing, too. It is so important to offer our day to the Lord as soon as we arise. We were given the gift of life from Him. He is the reason we even have a chance at a brand new day. And He is there for us when our tempers rise, when our blood pressure skyrockets, when we feel like we are going to go crazy. He’s listening. Are you praying?

My life is a gift of God given not in years, but a day at a time.
Today is the day the Lord has made for me, and
he planned it to be the most important day of my life.
Yesterday is gone, never to return.
I must not worry about it, but leave it in the hands of God.
Tomorrow and all that it holds is God’s secret
and its coming is not assured.
Only today is mine.
Each day, arranged by God with infinite wisdom and goodness
is his gift, his act of love for me.
In thanksgiving I will offer him every day the gift of myself-
my prayers, my works, joys and sufferings.
Dear Lord, receive them graciously.

A Mother’s Prayer
Help me dear Lord, as a mother, I pray
And bless these hands folded in prayer today;
May they be ever strong as they guide, as they teach,
Being never too far for a child to reach.
May they never, with selfishness, try to dissuade,
Nor too quickly punish, nor too slowly aid.
May they point out the pleasures in laughter and song,
And may they show, wisely, the right from the wrong,
So that one day I’ll know that I’ve helped all I can
To make her a woman, to make him a man.

What about you? Do you have a favorite prayer to get you through your days?

Copyright 2012 Leanne Willen


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  1. Leanne, your post took me back in time! My kids are in high school and college now but your post sailed me back in a flash…it goes so fast! Don’t worry about the shortcomings that sprinkle throughout our days…just read another story, snuggle a little more and pray for yourself and your babies…God most certainly has the rest covered! The Memorare is my “go to” prayer! I used to say it for patience when the boys would fight over toy cars…not its so they get home safely in real cars! Blessings on your family!

  2. Lisa Schmidt on

    Great post, Leanne! I try (let me repeat, I try!) to begin my day with the Morning Offering – to dedicate my day and work to Jesus and Mary. Then I try to end with a daily examen.

  3. Barb Szyszkiewicz on

    My go-to prayer is written by St. Francis of Assisi:

    Most high, all-glorious, good God, enlighten the darkness of my heart. Give me right faith, firm hope and perfect charity, with wisdom and insight, O Lord, that I might always discern your holy and true will.

    • Leanne Willen on

      I love that prayer. My sister actually shared it with me recently! She found a version of it being sung and it is so powerful and moving!

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