When I was in either kindergarten or first grade, I learned a simple prayer. For a child attending a Catholic parochial school, prayer was as much a part of my daily school routine as saying the Pledge of Allegiance. This prayer was so simple and easy to remember, that it came home with me. My mom, a native French-Canadian speaker, embraced it and would lead my sisters, brother, and me to recite it, along with a prayer in French, before we ate our breakfast each morning. To be honest, I didn’t understand the French prayer, although I could somewhat recite it. However, the simple morning prayer I learned in kindergarten or first grade, I remember to this day:
Good morning, Jesus, this day is for You.
I ask You to bless all I say, think, and do.
Two sentences. As I said, very simple. And yet those two sentences convey acknowledgment, intention, reflection, and a request for support. While the prayer may be short, it offers a thoughtful way to set the tone for the coming day. While it is phrased from a Christian perspective, it may be adapted to other spiritual or religious traditions, appealing to God, a Supreme Being, or even to an undefined guiding force. “My friends” or “Mother Earth” may also be used. While it was introduced to me as a prayer, I don’t think one needs to be a believer of religion to benefit from what is, essentially, a meditation or mantra for meditation.
Reflecting on the Message
Good morning, Jesus, this day is for You. The first sentence is about acknowledgment. We begin by acknowledging the beginning of a brand new day. This morning is full of potential, offering us the opportunity to work, to learn, to interact with others, and to experience earthly life. To know that we have made the journey from yesterday to this present moment is to know that we have been given the gift of possibility. While we don’t know what experiences the day will bring us, when we open our eyes and rise from bed we at least know that we have been given a chance to find out.
We also acknowledge our connection to Other. While it is easy for us to focus on Self, it is important to remember that we do not live or thrive in isolation. Whether we acknowledge a higher power, our fellow human beings, the spirits of deceased loved ones, or the sustenance of our earthly home, we must recognize that we are connected to someone or something outside ourselves. We do not come into being by ourselves, and we do not sustain life without dependence on others.
By saying, “this day is for you,” we acknowledge that our life has purpose, and that part of that purpose is service to others. In this sense, we offer ourselves in our service, by making the world a better place and by bringing happiness to others. Those who believe in God may see this offering, or dedication of oneself, as a manner of worship or devotion. Even if this meditation is used without the religious context, we can see it as a daily reminder to ourselves to reach out to others, to learn and understand our purpose, and to make meaningful choices throughout our day.
I ask You to bless all I say, think, and do. Life, no matter who you are, is challenging. Even the fictional Superman, with all his powers and abilities, is challenged. As much as we’d like to believe that we are able to take on all of life’s tests, there are times when we could use some support. The second sentence of the prayer is just that: a request for support. Whether we reach out to God or to our friends or to the forces of the Universe, we recognize that we can ask for support and that we have a support system we can depend on.
We ask for a blessing. Maybe this sounds like a religious term, but we do look for blessings from others all the time. For example, a couple contemplating marriage may seek the blessings of their families and friends. For them, the blessing is an approval or endorsement of their love and their decision to join their lives. We want to know that we have support and that someone believes in us. When we say, “I ask you to bless…” we are asking not only for support, but also for endorsement of our ability to do and be our best possible self. From a Christian perspective, we might see this as asking for God’s grace, a gift of divine influence to assist us.
“…all I say, think, and do.” Our human essence is often described by mind, body, and spirit. Our thoughts influence our words and actions. Other people’s words and actions may influence our thoughts. We are emotional and logical creatures, and to thrive and feel our best we require balance between these two aspects of ourselves.
When we meditate on this part of the prayer, we are preparing ourselves for the coming day and all the unknowns that we will face. Maybe we will get to school or work, and a colleague or supervisor will confront us with an provoking remark. Or maybe on the way home from work someone will cut us off in traffic. Maybe someone, a young child or a sick relative, will need our attention or help, even when the day has been long and we are already tired. How will we respond to the day’s events? Although we will not know until we meet them, we can mentally, physically, and spiritually prepare ourselves by stating our intention and creating a mindset for how we would like to think and behave. While we cannot predict the future or our responses to life’s challenges, we can imagine the way we will hope to act and respond.
Using the Message
The little prayer or meditation is a very simple way to center oneself for the start of the day. Going out the door each morning, I do not know what my day will bring. I have no guarantees and no assurances. This is neither a negative nor a positive statement. Instead, it is a reminder that life can only be lived in the present moment. If we accept life on these terms, we can maintain our focus on our purpose and on those we serve. We can free ourselves of unnecessary worries or concerns. We can handle challenges and decisions with greater confidence and better judgment.
The little meditation can be said like a mantra throughout the day; a reminder that we are not alone and that we want to strive to be our best. On especially difficult days it can be a real comfort, always bringing us back to the center.