Saturday, January 14, 2012

Imperfect Prayers

Sometimes I find it hard not to giggle at prayer times in our home.  The girls have the expectations for the rosary down pretty well.  They are both usually pretty quiet throughout this special family time, although it probably helps that our family rosary is usually prayed around 7pm, which is bed time, so they're already sleepy, if not dozing by the last prayers.

However, in our house, daytime prayers are something else altogether.  Building the little altar/prayer area by the kitchen, was one of the best steps I've taken in making daily prayers a more accessible part of our daily life.  After all, I'm walking into the kitchen all day long, and walking by our little altar is a great reminder to pray.  But there are still challenges.

My prayers go something like this:

I'm almost always late beginning our morning prayer.  Then I announce, to the girls who are usually playing in the living room at this point, that I'm going to pray if they want to join me.  This sends Mae Bae tearing into the room at a run.  She jumps on my lap and pulls at my veil or snood.  She pulls them off.  She tries to put them on her head.  She attempts to replace them on my head, usually several times.  If I put it back on, she pulls it off again, and wears it around her neck like a scarf, while sprinting out of the room.

I give up on any type of covering and begin praying.  Mae Bae comes back, because she has prayer radar, and attempts to stand on my lap while pulling up to climb to the top of the altar, by holding on to the top of the dresser.  I put her down next to me.  She throws herself at the altar and swipes an icon and a crucifix, and then sprints into the other room.

Sadie wanders into the room and replaces a chaplet that Mae apparently also took with her.  She kneels for a moment and then goes and brings back an armload of toys and dumps them next to me and begins spreading them across the dining room floor and into the kitchen.  Mae runs back into the living room and I hear a crash that is thankfully not followed by a scream.  I listen for footsteps.  Mae Bae comes back into the room and plops down on my other side, eating a handful of cereal.  She looks up to make sure I don't have a veil that needs stealing and then checks to make sure the drawer that I keep my prayers and religious books and headcoverings in, is closed.

If it's not closed she pulls out anything she can reach with a squeal while and spreads dupioni silk snoods and lace around the room, with glee.

Somehow, amidst all of this, I've managed to pray morning Lauds.  Sometimes with more focus than others.  Sometimes with a few giggles at the insanity around me, because if I didn't giggle I'd likely be pulling out my hair and so I choose laughter!  After all, Lauds are joyful prayers of praise!

I am less consistent with afternoon and nighttime prayers (the divine office prayers I mean).  But I've been making a point to say a certain novena, as I've been asking for Saint Philomena's prayers and intercession lately.  This may be the year of novenas for me (although I still do miss some days and then begin again!)!

A certain blog that I recently discovered has been quite inspirational to me in my prayer life, however.  Daria writes Coffee and Canticles, a blog about the Divine Office, and a particular post, "Worth Doing Badly" is a wonderful reminder of the importance of the prayer, even when the circumstances for praying are less than perfect!

And I have to say that when I peer ahead and imagine the future (God-willing!), I know that there will likely be plenty of time for more peaceful prayers!  I imagine in those days I'll miss the noise that todays prayers inevitably bring!  So for now I will embrace these days of "imperfect" prayers, knowing that they are very much a part of my vocation at the moment, as the little ones learn amid the noise and silences that our day should be filled with the joy that comes from a constant conversation with God.


  1. Amen!! I am very imperfect at getting my regular prayers in and I just keep working at it.

    My favorite prayer is from my childhood church experiences and I re-purposed it originally for baking day and then for when I am doing dishes. I also changed some words to correct for an inadvertent heresy that had been included.

    "Bless Thou the gifts my hands have brought bless Thou the work our hearts have planned, Ours is the Faith, the Will, the Thought, the Grace for all comes from Thy Hand."

    I also like to sing other hymns while I work. It makes prayer a bit more seamless and is well suited to my ADD brain's difficulty with getting prayers that are on a schedule to happen.

    I enjoy your blog. It is so nice to read about another person for whom these things are IMPORTANT.

  2. God will bless you for your efforts, Cammie! Goodness knows you're better at praying with two little ones than I am with just myself (and the husband and dog)!!


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