Occasional Prayers and Blessings for the Morning

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Today is the day that we all wear green for fear of being pinched and drink up a couple pints of Irish beer. It’s also the day that we remember Saint Patrick who brought the story of Jesus to Ireland, to the Celtic people.

I’ve just finished a course in Celtic Spirituality and found that there is much to be learned from the early Celtic Christians. It is a style of spirituality and theology quite different than the more historically dominant Roman Spirituality. I have been refreshed by learning the prayers, practices, and traditions of the Celtic people.

Among the most refreshing is their use of Occasional Prayers. These are prayers for particular occasions. Eshter de Waal describes these as prayers for “the moment that anyone awoke, which covered all the most mundane and inevitable chores: washing, making the bed, starting the fire, milking, making butter, weaving, and so on throughout the day.” What I love about this tradition is that these prayers find the enchantment of the divine in moments of the ordinary.

I have spent a great deal of time in church circles that emphasize “quiet time” with God. It is a time, usually early in the morning, set aside for scripture, worship, and prayer. I am grateful for this practice, have benefited from it, and still try to make space for this in my life. But I have also found that it comes along with a sense of pride when I do it and guilt when I don’t. I have found a profound sense of freedom in occasional prayers. They grow out of a sense that God is in the mundane here and now of whatever task is at hand, while “quite time” operates out of a sense that God is in the special there and then of those devotional moments. It can sometimes feel that if I’ve missed my “quiet time,” then I’ve missed God.

But God is far more present than that. God is not an elusive God who must be chased after but rather the one within the common tasks of each day waiting to enchant them with divine presence. So, I began thinking through the regular rhythms of my day and decided to write a few short and simple occasional prayers for my morning routine.

In honor of Saint Patrick’s Day and a celebration of the Celtic people, I want to share these prayers with you. Perhaps you can use them. Perhaps you might even reflect on the rhythms of your own day and find ways of incorporating prayer into those moments. Enchantment is waiting in the ordinary. If only we pause to look, we might stumble upon God.

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As the Alarm Sounds

As I awake this morning
Replace my tired hesitance
With a divine urgency
And my dull apathy
With a holy anticipation

Upon Checking Notifications

O Living Lord,
Grant me the humility to know
That life lives on without me
And also the courage
To join in when it beckons.

While Taking A Shower

(entering shower)
O Father,
Awake my body; awake my soul.

(washing body)
O Savior,
Cleanse my body; cleanse my heart.

(washing hair)
O Spirit,
Refresh my body; refresh my mind.

While Getting Dressed

Bless these clothes.
May they cover my body
As your righteousness covers my soul.

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