On our retreat last month, one of the things that I decided to start incorporating into my day was mid-day prayer. Given our schedule, it sometimes ends up being right-before-dinner-prayer, but I have been able to fit it in somewhere every day. The priest encouraged us to spend some time in prayer using the following formula: an aspiration, an act of thanksgiving, petitions, a brief check on our particular examination and an act of repentance.
I have found that sometimes it takes some real effort to perform that act of thanksgiving. On days where nothing seems to go right and I'm crabby and behind in what I thought I wanted to get done, I really have to sit there a few minutes and think of things that I am grateful for. It helps me to start broad - I look out my window and thank God for the beautiful view that I have, for the trees and the wide-open spaces. Next I might move to something more specific - like the room I am sitting in, and the family that I have. After that I give thanks for any special personal blessings that may have been given to me that day and then finally I thank God for all the work that He is doing in my soul. I have found that this is turning out to be a great remedy for the crabbiness that sneaks up on me by lunch time. If nothing else, it is a great few minutes alone to recollect myself and try again to do better for the afternoon.
I found this prayer in a prayerbook that was put together by Fr. John Hardon. It is a great prayer to pray in order to consecrate the next segment of your day to God. I place it here for you all to read and hopefully even use.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, as I am starting this morning's (afternoon's) work, may I offer You through Mary's immaculate heart and in the company of St. Joseph all the chores I am about to perform. May I be diligent and hard working, generous and self-sacrificing, cheerful and patient, and above all motivated by a strong love for You. I unite myself to all the Masses that will be offered during this time, my Jesus. May they obtain many graces for myself and all Your children throughout the world, especially those who are in most need. Amen.