A Mom’s Daily Office
It’s nine o’clock p.m., so I wonder: what prayer of the daily office goes with putting my one-year-old to bed, for the third time?
This is the way my mind works, at least lately, as I try and groove with interruptions that are just the normal parts of mom life. I could be mad about them, and sometimes I am, but when I am able to chill and roll with it, I try to see these moments as sacred pauses, holy in and of themselves.
If I were a Benedictine nun, part of my calling would involve pausing throughout the day to pray, to sit in silence, read scripture, and worship God with my sisters. If I were a Trappist monk, maybe I’d up the ante and sleep on a cushionless board on the floor or wear a humble habit to remind me of my commitment to servitude.
But I am neither of these. I am a mom.
Even so, I am trying to see a connection between the sacred calling of the cloistered life and the blessed vocation of motherhood. When I can remain here, in this healthy and calm perspective, I engage in something the monks and nuns do: I pray the daily office.
What is it exactly?
For those in sacred orders, they rehearse the “liturgy of the hours” pausing to pray six or seven times throughout the day.
I have yet to complete the full schedule in the span of twenty-four hours, but find myself asking throughout the day—especially times of stress or challenge, but also moments of joy—"I wonder which prayer is happening right now?"
And then, thanks to the lovely internet, I look them up so I can pray with my monastic brothers and sisters even as I sit here at my own dining room table.
And because I am who I am—a millennial pastor who can’t seem to keep her fidgety fingers off social media—sometimes I tweet my prayers. Here are some examples:
(Early A.M.) “May what is false within us
Before your truth give way
That we may live untroubled
With quiet hearts this day.”
-Stanbrook Abbey Hymnal #morningprayer
(Morning) My soul proclaims your greatness, O God!
(And my hands prepare pbj sandwiches.)
#feastofascension #morning prayer
(Afternoon) In the spirit of Psalm 119 & in
thanksgiving for a nap: Revive me, O God,
& restore this fridge full of decay,
too, please. #afternoonprayer
(Evening) Great River Nut Brown, Psalm 91,
& Today’s Hottest Country, WLLR.
(Dawn) Baby back to sleep, Psalm 51, silent house.
As a mother, life is going to include interruptions. Disturbances of sleep, for me, are the hardest. So when I have to rise at dawn to console a restless child, I also try to calm my own restless mind with prayer.
Kendra Thompson is a part-time minister and full-time mom living in Davenport, Iowa. In her spare time, when she's not at the mall, she blogs at Cry Laugh Snort.