Pictured is a large sign posted on one of our 5th grade classroom doors. It is a simple checklist for the students to ensure a successful day. My favorite is to make sure your water bottle is full. I can imagine a student telling the teacher, “Here’s my water bottle,” and the teacher’s reply, “But it’s empty.” This list may seem like a no-brainer, but, if you’ve ever met a 5th grader then you know that nothing on the list should be assumed. The checklist goes like this:
Something to write with,
something to write on,
the work you’ve done yesterday,
the water you’ll need for today,
and an attitude to be ready for whatever comes your way.
This truly is a checklist for a great day.
I wonder what your daily checklist looks like. I have a particular routine that ensures I have my wallet, cell phone, pen and keys. In addition to that list, I have a daily spiritual checklist. On most days my spiritual checklist looks like this: I pray; in thanksgiving for the day, for those who are sick or in need, and for God to watch over my family; I read Scripture and I exercise. This may seem as much a no-brainer as the list for the fifth graders, but if you know much about my life, you might note that none of these should be an assumption. Consequently, to avoid starting my day with an empty Living Water bottle, I have a spiritual checklist.
St. Benedict created a spiritual checklist, called the Rule of Life. It is simple: pray, work, sleep, repeat. Before everyone jumps on the Benedict bandwagon, however, I need to warn you that Benedictine prayer involves formal, communal prayers that typically hold to a schedule like this, 4:30 am, 6 am, 9 am, noon, 2 pm, 5:30 pm, 7 pm, and 10 pm. Manual labor is interspersed between those prayers throughout the day. Benedict believed that there is very little difference between labor and prayer. Whatever one’s labor, tilling a field, mopping a floor, or teaching a philosophy class in college, work is an integral part of the spiritual life.
The apostles taught that we are to say the Lord’s Prayer at least once a day and to remember the needs of others. They also prayed at 9 am, noon, 3 pm and in the evening. That’s a good checklist and I think it would go a long way toward warranting a great day. Whether you follow a list like mine, or the apostolic list, or if you want to try a Benedictine spiritual checklist, setting time each day to praise God and to remember the needs of others will go a long way to ensure a great day and have a full bottle of Living Water.