Apr 10, 2024 by Colleen C Orchanian

I was listening to a podcast with Fr. John Riccardo who was sharing his morning prayer routine. He said that he begins by covering his day in prayer, explaining that he looks at each item on his agenda and prays specifically into the situations and meetings on his schedule. I thought, What a great idea! What Fr. John shared was very brief, as this was not the focus of his talk. But the idea came through to me as something I needed to do. A nudge from the Holy Spirit.

At the time, my habit was to make a to-do list each night for the following day. That list would include urgent tasks and appointments as well as less urgent things. What was missing was praying over the list as I began my day. I often prayed throughout the day as I began a task or before a meeting, but again, I didn’t begin by covering my day in prayer. I decided to change that. And so I did.

I began by making a list of the tasks I wanted to complete that day and then brought all of these, one at a time, before God. In some cases, I asked God for wisdom, in others inspiration, patience, or self-discipline, whatever I needed to complete my list.

Then I thought about the things that were not on my list, like my family and household chores. I prayed about those things and asked God to open my eyes to the needs of my family so that I wouldn’t get so caught up in the to-do list that I ignored my family’s needs. As I prayed with this long list, I was able to surrender things to God. I knew I might not finish the list and that was okay. I prayed for the grace to know what to delay and what to finish.

There are many benefits to covering my day in prayer. I’m integrating my prayer and my life rather than separating the two. I am acknowledging that I cannot do this alone. I need God’s grace. I’m bringing my challenges or concerns about the day to God, so I’m being realistic. I am less inclined to feel like I’m on my own – doing it all alone.

How might you cover your day in prayer?

Teachers. Look at your schedule and begin by praying about your drive to school. Then pray for each of the specific classes for the day and the students in those classes. If you know you will need extra graces for some of those classes, pray for that. Maybe there is a staff meeting and you often get frustrated with the wasted time. Pray for patience and the person leading the meeting.

Those serving clients. (Hairdressers or massage therapists, chiropractors, nurses, doctors, or lawyers.) Pray for each of the clients on your schedule, that your time with them will be a blessing to both them and you. You pray for the projects you’re working on that day.

Volunteers/Retired. Are you going to church? Pray for the priest or minister that they are led by the Holy Spirit as they preach. If you have a meeting, what are the needs of those at the meeting? What are the needs of the group? What is the meeting about? How can you cover it in prayer? If you’re serving by cooking and delivering meals to families, how can you cover that ministry in prayer?

Home-school parent. Cover in prayer each of the lessons and activities planned that day. If you expect the math lesson to be a challenge, pray for the graces needed. If you are under the weather, pray for strength and patience with the kids. If your house is a mess, pray that God will give you the time to do what is necessary and leave the rest without guilt. You might even teach your kids to cover their day in prayer as you begin each morning.

Students. Cover each of your classes in prayer. Include prayers for your teachers and fellow students. And of course, pray for yourself for whatever is happening in each of those classes. Tests. Presentations. Projects. Bring each of them to the Lord.

If your day is especially busy, one of those days when you know there’s no way you will finish everything on the list, ask God to free up the time you need. I’ve done this a lot. My list is impossible to finish – I know that when the day begins. I pray that God will give me the time to finish what needs to be finished, surrender what I cannot do, and keep me from getting overwhelmed with the workload. God answers that prayer so often with canceled meetings. I never mind when that happens. I know it’s God freeing up my schedule to finish what He wants to be finished.

Consider bookending your day by covering it in prayer in the morning and reviewing the day at night. At night, look at the list you began with and pray about how things went. Thank God for the graces you received. Pray about any failures you experienced. Acknowledge God’s blessings that came through the day – the answered prayers from the morning.

I thought that by starting my day with a focus on my schedule I would get distracted from my prayer time. Often, when I am trying to meditate on Scripture, my mind wanders to the things on my list, so I thought that would make it more difficult to have fruitful prayer time in the morning. I found that is not the case; the opposite has happened. I am more able to enter into the rest of my prayer time because I’ve already turned everything over to God.

Be like Fr. John Riccardo. Cover your day in prayer. Show your calendar to Jesus and ask for the help you need to make it through the day, to grow in virtue, to share His love, to serve Him, and to be a blessing to others. God wants us to share with Him the little details of our lives. He knows the number of hairs on our head, and he knows the number of tasks on our to-do list. He cares about both. So let Him in. Tell Him your needs. Allow Him to help. He is listening!

Questions for prayer:

  • What are you already doing to bring the details of your day before God? How is that working?
  • What more will you do to cover your day in prayer?