Jesus told his disciples and his friends that they should pray, always, and never get tired of it. From that exhortation comes the Liturgy of the Hours, which schedules the moment of prayers during the day, so that every moment of our lives is a praise to God. That is how a good Christian should live every day, in communion with Christ, observing night and day with prayers. That is not always easy. The frenzy of modern life, work, and many commitments make it very difficult for most of the devotees to comply with the many appointments given by the Liturgy of the Hours, even the two on the canonical Hours, the morning Prayers and the Vespers, which should be celebrated everyday at the beginning of the day and at sunset.
But Jesus is aware of this obstacles, he’s close to us every moment of our life, and knows well how difficult it is to complete every task some days. That way he understands if we cannot dedicate enough time to prayers everyday, if we “skip” one sometimes, or we just give it brief moments.
There is a good way to start the day though, right after waking up, and it is the morning Offer.
What is this about? It is easy, the name itself explains it: it is about offering our day to Jesus.
So, when we open our eyes, or even before that, our first thought should be: “Lord, I offer You this day.”
Is that all? It actually is. Everyone can enrich their prayer with personal words, or choosing among the many morning Offers composed by devotees throughout the centuries.
The morning Offer helps us face the day with the right energy, fully aware that, since the moment we woke up, Jesus is by our side, that our victories are his victories, our disappointments are his disappointments, and all the good and the bad that will happen to us during the day will be shared with Him. It is a way to offer ourselves in the hands of God, to state that we accept his will, and that, in any case, it will be a good day, because we dedicated it to Him.
Pope John Paul II aknowledged that the morning Offer is a fundamental act in the life of each devotee. There is no spiritual growth without the morning Offer.
It’s like saying: “A good start…”
Clearly, saying it is not enough to make sure the day will be perfect. As our Pope Francis pointed out “Prayer is not a magical wand!” But it is proved that those who constantly rely on this good habit, receive a remarkable energy to face the day with an extra kick.
As we were saying, many great devoted men and women wrote about the morning Offer throughout the centuries. There are no specific rules on what to say and how to say it, nor a univocal outline. Since it is about a dialogue between God and us, we should express ourselves in the way we prefer, laying our heart bare, and entrust our spirit to the Hands of the Lord.
The first thing to do is obviously thanking Jesus for giving us a serene night and for watching over our sleep, and ask for forgivness for the sins we might have committed, and for those we are going to commit in the coming day. That should give us the awareness that the day that is opening in front of us is full of opportunities to make mistakes, but also to do good things that make us feel good and draw us nearer to Grace. With this awareness, we should prepare to face everything the day will bring us, thanking God for giving us the chance to live it, and to do it at our best, if we only want it.
During the morning Offer, we have to plan what our day will be like, according to what we are going to face: work, meetings, visits. If we are ready, we will face every moment with the right energy, with the right mental approach, with the right words in our mouths, and we will avoid getting angry, losing control or patience, being disappointed, making someone angry or letting their grudge affect us. Promising Jesus that it is our resolute purpose to do our best in order to make our day worth of him, we commit to behave properly, to make him proud of us. Again, it is important to stay humble during the Offer. All we are, all we can do, we owe it to God, and Him only. We couldn’t do anything good on our own, nor avoid doing evil. We must invoke Him and his endless Mercy, so that he can guide or steps, our choices, and support our heart, our hands, and our words with his Strenght. Also in this case, we have many words written by more capable men that we can make ours in order to make our prayer appreciated, our offer a joyful hymn, and a wonderful way to start our day.
It will also be nice to involve the whole family in that. Some prefer to recite the morning Offer in communion with the beloved ones, their children for example. Others prefer to do it privately, encouraging their beloved ones to do the same. There is no wrong way to dedicate a new day to Jesus, as long as it is done, and with our heart on our lips.
Choosing to recite prayers we invented is also a way to give thanks to God, to show him that our thoughts are always leaned towards him. It is like declaring our love for him with our own words, maybe lower and less efficient than the ones coming from psalmists or saints, but they are surely heartfelt, pronounced with the zeal of a devoted soul.
As an alternative, you can find so many prayers, even on the internet, to give a voice to your love, to your morning greeting.