Brandon Vogt

How I Pray: A Peek Into My Prayer Routine


My friend Tom McDonald, who blogs over at God and the Machine at Patheos, recently interviewed me for his series on how people pray. Read a part of the interview below and then click over to Tom’s site for the rest. Enjoy!

Who are you?

In order of importance, I’m a Catholic, a husband, a father, the Content Director for Fr. Barron’s Word on Fire, and a dabbler in writing, blogging, and speaking. I hope to be a saint.

What is your vocation?

Thérèse discovered it before I did: “My vocation is love!” And more specifically, to love my family. I’m convinced the first two questions God will ask at my judgment are how well I loved my wife and how well I loved my children.

What is your prayer routine for an average day?

It’s changed many times over the years. I used to wake up early–between 4:00am and 5:00am–to pray and read Scripture for half an hour. But I just can’t do that any more. I don’t know if it’s because of kids, because of staying up later with my wife, or just because I’m getting older. But whenever I try to pray in the early mornings now, I can’t focus and usually drift asleep. So here is my typical schedule today:

  • 7:00am-7:30am – Mass with family – We’ve been attending Mass together everyday for the last five years. The Mass is the beating heart of our prayer, the “source and summit’ not just of our Faith but of our devotional life. My wife and I agree that if we fail at everything else during the day but get our family to Mass, our day is a success.
  • 7:40am-7:50am – Personal prayer after Mass – After I help my wife and kids into their car, I head back to the chapel and pray for 5-10 minutes, running over the day’s tasks and asking for the Lord’s help. This is often hit-and-miss–I would say I make it 3-4 times per week.
  • 12:00pm-12:05pm – Angelus – I use the Angelus app, which sends a push alert and notification. For me, the Angelus offers a five minute break during the day to stop, join with others, and focus on the Lord. It’s both the shortest and most difficult part of my routine, which I’ll explain in a moment.
  • 3:00pm-3:20pm – Prayer break and study – At the Word on Fire office in Chicago, they celebrate Mass every day. Since I work remotely, though, I try to take a 20 minute break each afternoon to read and reflect. I usually focus on the saint of the day. This year, I’m working through the entire revised version of Butler’s Lives of the Saints, reading all the entries for each day.
  • 6:30pm-6:45pm – Rosary with family – We started slow with this routine, praying only three Hail Marys per night. After a few months, we moved to a decade. Then a few months later, two decades. We’re up to three decades now, which we’re really happy with, considering our four kids five and under. Each of our older children takes a turn leading a decade.
  • 7:00pm-7:10pm – Prayer with wife – My wife and I just added this to our routine after noticing that neither of us were finding regular quiet time for uninterrupted, personal prayer. We decided the first thing we would do after putting our children down for bed is spend 10 minutes in silence, praying or reading Scripture. We’re only a week in, but so far it’s been a huge help.

How well do you achieve it, and how do you handle those moments when you don’t?

After I became Catholic in 2008, I was pretty scrupulous about keeping my routine. I came from a Protestant culture that supremely valued the “daily quiet time with Jesus.” You miss that, and you’ve missed the core of Christian life. But as the years have passed, I’ve given myself much more grace in the face of life’s vagaries.

I’m still committed to my routine, but when I fail I don’t get discouraged. I understand that the needs of my wife, or children, or work often trump the routine. A figure who understood this well was St. Frances of Rome, one of our few married saints. I spent a while researching her for my book, Saints and Social Justice, and included this quote: “Sometimes a wife must leave God at the altar to find Him in her housekeeping.”

The same can be said of our prayer routines. The routines are simply means to an end: to commune with God. We can achieve that end through many means. Sometimes God uses our routine, sometimes other ways. But I’m no longer a rigorist about my routine.

Read the rest of the interview here!


(Photo credit: Joe Garcia)
  • Harvey

    I can only wish to have a schedule exactly like this. You’re very fortunate.

  • Caroline Routson

    Our family weekday routine begins at 5 am with the rosary, reading National Catholic Register, then listing to Ave Maria radio while getting ready for 7 am Mass. I am on the road so I listen to Lighthouse Catholic Media tapes, Relevant Radio, EWTN, Vatican News throughout the day. I read the catholic classics before bed for an hour +/-. All household responsibilities are done on Saturday so the family can have a Sabbatical rest studying, reading, discussing salvation history after going to Mass.

  • Caithleen Malone

    Dear [email protected], I am posting a link to a youtube clip about the rosary that I found really helpful both personally and as a teacher and catechist. Bear with it in the frist five to ten minutes…

    God Bless,


  • great exemple for all of us. I hope we will pray together in our family. Most of the time when I’m blogging about catholic faith and reading and listening to Father Barrons teaching, and there is something special who resonates with me, I stop and start praying. What is your meaning on this?

  • Lorie C Weeden

    Rosary prayers is the greatest prayer of all times. With my Mom & Dad and all of us 5 children joined together in prayer. Early in the morning @ 5 all of us were already awake getting ready for the early morning mass @ 6, By 7 in the morning we’re ready for the school together with Mom as she’s one of the school teachers in the community. After supper time, Dad will lead the family Rosary, taking turns every evening, followed by the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy. The fruits of daily Rosary prayer has lots of blessings for us in the family. All of the children had been blessed with good grades and honors in school works. I got married to a convert, a Baprist, but his attitude and interest in the Catholic faith has been very fruitful, As usul got up early in the morning, attending daily masses @ 6 and got to work @ 7:30. My husband has been retired early as a Master S, in the U S Army. .He has a vegetable garden

  • I have found that with a little creativity I have always been able to find time for at least 30 minutes of mental prayer daily for the past 20+ years–years of infants, toddlers, homeschooling, and writing. That doesn’t mean I never miss, but only very rarely (like the day a baby is born). It is possible and I do believe this is God’s will for us. Of course, like everything else in the Christian life, it takes time to form the habit. And when we fail, as in anything else, we should not despair. I think we too easily believe it’s not possible for lay people, so we don’t make it a priority. We can overdo the prayer, of course, and I suspect that’s what St. Frances of Rome was referring to. If a woman with small children tried to spend hours a day in mental prayer, that would be out of balance. But that doesn’t mean family life should as a general rule trump prayer. I think we need daily prayer to live our vocations well. As St. Francis de Sales said, “Pray an hour every day. When you’re really busy, pray two hours.” (That’s a paraphrase.) I am always in a better mood and more efficient when I pray.

  • SK

    Made my own prayer blog… just for my own personal use, easy enough to do and then whenever I am sitting waiting or find time I go online (even on my phone!)…also use the rosary app and divine mercy app everyday.

  • Joycey

    I have a routine of prayers that I feel I must complete every day and I usually succeed..Attending Mass and reciting the Holy Rosary are at my core…The Divine Mercy Chaplet and other devotions I also try to fit in daily. Of course Morning and NIght prayers including the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be…Invoking the help and prayers of my Guardian Angel and all the Angels and Saints in Heaven is a daily cherish.

  • isabel

    My day always starts with this prayer: Jesus, Lord, I offer you this new day because I believe in you, love you, hope of things in you and thank you for your blessings. I am sorry for having offended you, and forgive everyone who has offended me. Lord, look on me and live in me – peace and courage and humble wisdom that I may serve others with joy and be pleasing to you all day. Amen. Then, on the bus, on my way to work, I say my “thank yous” because, in my opinion, I am now fully awake and won’t miss anything that I wanna be thankful for. My husband and I pray the Rosary nightly before turning in and then I end the day with a little “thank you” for the day, say the Act of Contrition and Angel of God.

  • Steve

    Alarm set to go off at 4:20AM and after one snooze up at 4:30. I’m usually at my prayer station by 5. Say Morning Offering and prayerfully Psalm 145 or 103. Then read the readings for today’s Mass and perhaps an extended section of the epistle or gospel or both. Reread one of them again and sometimes listen to the entire chapter its taken from using my Bible app. Practice Lectio Devina and conclude by writing down what I’ve heard the Lord saying as well as my prayers. Attend 7AM Mass and conclude with 10-15 mins in front of the tabernacle in intercessory prayer. What a blessing it is to be able to continue this practice. Needless to say by bedtime my bones are tired and therefore my nighttime prayers are limited, but I do enjoy praying night prayers with my Compline app.

  • Philip Mackin

    Reminds me a lot of my own attempts with our four children. We’re at 3 decades too. I’m still trying the 5-5:30 am half hour, but fail quite often. I have a 40 minute commute both ways and have a wonderful local Catholic radio station, WAOB, which broadcasts mostly live prayers of all the divine office, has lectio divina, and messages from Bishops and the Holy Father. That silent prayer with your wife is a great idea. Thanks for the ideas.

  • David Mortley

    Really, I don’t have a definite prayer routine and this is something I am working to correct this year. My family and I go to Mass at least twice per week, we have weekly Charismatic prayer meetings, we pray the Rosary often, in fact, we are part of a Rosary group in our Parish, we have irregular family prayer time. I pray with persons over the phone and face to face and generally I create prayer time as circumstances demand. Your schedule is interesting!

  • Wendy

    This was truly inspirational – especially as I’m a new Catholic and finding it hard to get into a prayer routine. I shall be doing my best to copy this (with the exception of daily Mass – ours takes place at 12 and I’m already at work by then. But I do go on my days off

  • Roger Merrill

    Prayer time is valuable for us I spend about an hour each morning with a list of prayers and praying for a group of people who are in need also for many ministries that have needs . Also daily prayers from the Magnificat book. The Rosary and the daily Mass from the Word among us. Then go to daily Mass with my wife. Before bed I spend time with the Lord again with the Word prayer and some times quiet time.

  • Thanks for joining me, Brandon. That was a really, really good one.

  • Barbara

    I don’t have set hours but I go to mass, pray the Rosary and do a Holy Hour each day. I, too,used to be very scrupulous after my conversion in 2003 about keeping a daily routine but now I give myself more grace if for some reason other needs take precedence. The main thing is I’m totally committed to my prayer life, I love spending time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and miss it if I can’t get there.

    By the way, I’ve also been reading the Bible and Catechism in a year program you laid out for us. I love it.

  • Barbara

    I don’t have set hours but I go to mass, pray the Rosary and do a Holy Hour each day. I, too,used to be very scrupulous after my conversion in 2003 about keeping a daily routine but now I give myself more grace if for some reason other needs take precedence. The main thing is I’m totally committed to my prayer life, I love spending time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and miss it if I can’t get there.

    By the way, I’ve also been reading the Bible and Catechism in a year program you laid out for us. I love it.

  • I learnt something. Good post and reminder. I pray you become a saint. That is why we are all here to become HAGIOUS (Holy/Saints) by the grace of God.

  • This was really inspiring to read, especially considering my melancholic temperament and tendency to substitute prayer with reading books on theology… Thanks for sharing this, Brandon!

  • Your response to the question regarding the Rosary gave me one of those “Hmm” moments. I love praying the rosary, and I have a difficult time explaining to people (Catholics as well as non-Catholics) how this centers me in my praying. How can I help them understand better? Perhaps I, myself, don’t understand why I find it so fulfilling. Do you have written works or a blog post that would help me? I so enjoy your site; your words always strike a chord with me.

© 2019 Brandon Vogt