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I had two plans for this Advent. One was to give up extra sugar throughout the day. The other was to re-read the book The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence to help me reflect and pray better. I did pretty well with avoiding sweet things, but I did not crack open Brother Lawrence’s book at all. However, I’m not going to beat myself up about it. For some reason, that part of my Advent plan didn’t work this season.
That being said, I do want to make sure I’m doing something intentional and extra these last few days of Advent to prepare His birth. Here is my goal: Add a psalm to each day. This will hopefully introduce an extra shot of Scripture and reflection that I can have moving through my heart during these last-minute times of preparation and anticipation.
Here are a few ways to add at least one psalm into your day.
IF YOU HAVE 15 MINUTES …
Pray Morning Prayer or Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours. I currently pray some of the Liturgy of the Hours each day, which has introduced me to the lifegiving nature of the psalms. If you are not familiar with how to pray these prayers, try listening to them prayed at divineoffice.org. On that site, you just choose from the menu whether you would like to recite Morning or Evening prayer (or one of the other hours), and then there is an option to listen to the prayers for the day at the top of the page.
If you try Evening Prayer, pay attention from December 17 through December 23. The antiphons before and after the Magnificat are special — they are called the O Antiphons; they have a rich history and are very beautiful.
IF YOU HAVE 2 MINUTES …
Recite Psalm 95 every morning while you wait for your coffee to cool or between the last time you hit the snooze button right before you commit to getting out of bed. This psalm is the first one prayed in the day for the Liturgy of the Hours and is a wonderful way to begin the morning anew by praising God and remembering His faithfulness and presence.
This psalm will set the tone for your day, and the verse “Do not grow stubborn like your fathers did in the wilderness, […] when they challenged me and provoked me, although they had seen all my works” always gives me a nice kick and reminder to live my day in gratitude to God rather than clinging to my agenda.
IF YOU HAVE 0 MINUTES …
Use the site EveryPsalm to incorporate one psalm into the mundane parts of your day. I recently discovered this ministry and enjoy the psalm-based songs they produce. This husband-and-wife team (called Poor Bishop Hooper) set some or all of one psalm each week to music for three years in order to sing every psalm there is. I like to listen to one while I do dishes and would love to incorporate it into a commute or other time in the car.
You can listen on Spotify or YouTube as well. There are many, so instead of just playing roulette with YouTube, I have looked up which psalm was used during the readings at Mass for the day as a way to choose which psalm to listen to and reflect on.