The Adoration List

April 4, 2008 | 30 comments

One of the things I’ve realized in my ongoing quest for peace in daily life is that I tend to worry and second-guess myself a lot, especially when things are overwhelming. I frequently have all sorts of “am I doing this wrong?” or “would it be better for the kids if I did XYZ like my supermom friend does?” type dialogues running through my head. None of it causes huge amounts of stress, but there is a sort of low-grade angst that’s frequently haunting the back of my mind, especially on tough days when I’m mentally maxed out anyway.

I’ve been trying to address all these little worries individually in prayer, but realized that I stress about so many random things that it’s hard to remember to properly consider each one when prayer time rolls around — especially here at Casa Chaos. A few weeks ago I started to feel like all these little straws on the proverbial camel’s back were starting to get awfully heavy, and an idea occurred to me: start an Adoration List. I don’t know whether it was the prompting of the Holy Spirit or just some crazy idea I pulled out of my hat, but here’s what it involves:

  • Keep a sheet of paper in the kitchen where I can jot down a quick note any time I find myself worrying.
  • After making the note, resolve to let go of my anxiety about the issue for the time being.
  • Plan to have my husband watch the kids so that I can go to Adoration the first Friday of each month (the two nearest churches only have Adoration once a month — which is perfect for me because then I can’t procrastinate).
  • Take this list with me. After spending some time in silence and prayer, consider all of these issues both individually and as a whole: what are the genuine problems that deserve my attention? What are the things that aren’t really problems and I need to stop agonizing about? And so on.
  • Leave the Adoration chapel with a written list of the few issues that are significant enough to warrant further action or consideration; resolve to let go of anything that is not on that list.

Having this Adoration List on my kitchen clipboard has already been a help to free my mind from all the little distracting thoughts I have throughout the day. Some of the items that are scribbled on this month’s list in various colored pens and with stains from various types of toddler-friendly food next to them:

– Kids watching too much TV?
– Not getting enough exercise?
– Necessary to force the issue of potty training? If so, when? This can’t go on until he’s 20…right?
– Parish Mother’s Day Out program — good idea? Bad idea? Too expensive?
– Have been trying to get to household projects like pantry reorganization, garage cleanout, etc. for more than a year, really bugs me that it never gets done
– Spending too much on groceries?
– Not looking at spending vs. budget each month — are we over budget? How to get more time to focus on this?
– Kids eating too much processed food?

To give you an example, last week I got home from the grocery store and all the kids were tired, hungry and fussy. Standing in a sea of grocery bags and listening to a symphony of shrieking I thought about how our grocery spending has been increasing lately, and wondered how far over budget we were. Not able to listen to much more noise without losing my mind, I brought out my secret weapon: the bag of Goldfish. As the toddlers sat happily munching on the little orange crackers, I wondered if perhaps my pediatrician was right that Goldfish are not actually the fifth food group, and wondered if I resort to feeding the kids processed foods too often. Then I remembered that I was worrying about our grocery spending, so I got back to that. But while I was putting away the groceries a bunch of cans fell off the shelf and I was reminded once again the our pantry is a disaster area and I’ve really wanted to sort through it for more than a year yet it’s never happened. I was trying to focus on the “my life is out of control because my closets, pantry and garage are overflowing and trashed and I never have time/energy to do anything about it” stress when I saw the kids eating Goldfish and remembered that I was supposed to be stressing about that, and then I saw the grocery receipt and…well, you get the idea.

In that moment, it was a great relief to simply get out my Adoration List and start writing. Though there was that control-freak voice in the back of my mind that said “YOU MUST FIND THE PERFECT SOLUTION TO EVERY ONE OF THESE ISSUES NOW! NOW! NOW!”, I was actually able to make a conscious choice to just let go and revisit it at Adoration.

Today is the first Friday of the month, so as soon as my husband gets home in a couple of hours I’m going to take my little list and head out. I’ve never tried this before — heck, I’ve never even been to Adoration before — so we’ll see how it goes.

P.S. If anyone has any thoughts / experiences / stories about Adoration, I’d love to hear it. I know a lot of people find it very spiritually fulfilling but, like I said, I have no direct experience with it.

UPDATE: Click here for the update.


  1. Heather

    “Adoration” however Elisabeth Elliot (whom I heartily recommend reading) has the perfect anti-worry solution–Do the Next Thing. I spend time each day with God asking Him what I need to change. Also, God tells us that if we pray for wisdom He will give it. God told us to worry about nothing therefore worry is a sin.

    Instead of worrying about something pray aboutit, ask for wisdom, then focus on the very next thing you can do, leaving the rest for later. Don’t let yourself be tossed to and fro. The thing is that by focusing on the very next thing God takes care of the rest.

    Oh–and I can guarantee that NONE of your kids will still be in diapers when they are 20. It will come with time and every kid is different.

  2. Thia

    I can’t wait to hear how this goes for you! Many times I jot those same thoughts down in my journal…but I rarely go back to them and bring them before our Father. I love the idea of having a committed time to deal with it all.
    As for the thoughts you have, your list…it’s amazing how like mine it looks. lol.

  3. Barb

    Being Non Catholic I have no Adoration stories. Will love to hear yours though. What a wonderful way of sorting the laundry that goes on in our heads!

    After raising (or mostly raising) 7kids I learned to look at the bigger context. I too felt guilty at the pop tart that I would give them on a hectic morning. But then I thought that that pop tart was so much better than many babies in Africa were getting that morning. Mine had heath care and vitamins and milk and meat and so much more. The pop tart – although was considered ‘bad’ by so many americans was only because there were so many choices here that so many others in the world did not have. My kids did not die of pop tart abuse – nor will yours of toxic goldfish 🙂

  4. Patty Arnold

    It seems that whenever I go to adoration with something in mind to do (reading, journaling, decision-making, etc.) I end up just being quiet with Jesus, because that’s what I really needed–some quiet and just to BE and not DO, because that’s all Jesus wants is just plain old ME, and turns out what I needed most was Him.

    I always leave peaceful. You’re going to love Adoration, I’m sure of it.

  5. Anne Marie

    A: Adoration: My favorite devotion. Period. Like spending time with, well, GOD. I’ve been known to bail out of a particularly difficult day for a few hours to run up to the perpetual Adoration chapel an hour away from us just to get some perspective before returning to the fray. I’ve been thinking of posting on this topic, maybe I will.

    B: I believe I recall you mentioning that you are the mother of small children. So as an outside observer I’m going to mention that I’ve noticed that small children are 1) incredibly needy and 2) rather uncivilized. Now this is not intended to be a criticism of small children, simply an observation. Their neediness is appropriate, their uncivilized nature, well just the way it is.

    The pantry will get organized… eventually. The boy will use the toilet…. eventually, but don’t forget that they don’t ever seam to get over the desire to pee wherever. Perspective, yes, that’s what’s needed, perspective. Adoration is just the ticket.

  6. Laura

    Adoration is like a drug. Once you get a taste of it, you need to keep going back for more. We have been fortunate enough to have a standing adoration time once a week at a local monestary for the past 6 years. Every Monday night from 9-10 pm, either my husband or I go (we alternate) for our weekly spiritual boost. The neat part about it is that now our kids are asking to go, too. Our 16 year old goes every week. Even our 7 year old squirmy, can’t sit still for two minutes boy goes and actually sits still and quiet for the entire time. I cannot even begin to expound on the graces that have come to our family because of our commitment to adoration. Give it a try and you will find yourself desiring it more and more! God Bless!

  7. elizabeth

    Oh, finally! Something I might be able to shed some light on for you! After months of taking from your blog, I might have something to give.

    I’ve been attending Eucharistic Adoration weekly for a few months. First and most practically, it gives the week some structure. Not unlike your AREWP giving structure to your day. For me, it was simply too long between Sundays. I forgot whatever it was I learned the previous Sunday. I lost whatever closeness I felt with God. I needed a midweek chance to reconnect. You might only have the opportunity to go monthly, but it will quickly become a much-anticipated ritual for you, I suspect.

    At my parish, Adoration takes place for an hour, with the last 15-20 minutes spent praying the rosary. That is what I really went for. Many people even show up at about 20 or 15 before the end, just to be there for the rosary only. I did that, too, but soon became coming for the entire hour.

    I’m still not entirely sure what I should be doing in that first 40 minutes. Various people have various prayer books, and I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect thing to bring to Adoration, so I’m still learning here. But there is something undeniably moving about being in a still church with others in the presence of God. I think we Catholics call it the Real Presence, right?

    The best way I can describe it is that, short of attending daily Mass (and I don’t see that happening in my life for a long while — it will probably have to wait for my empty-nest years) it’s the next best thing to keeping that Sunday feeling all week long. You are in the presence of a miracle.

    I feel very special and honored that the Blessed Sacrament is exposed for me. Even with dozens of others there, I feel as if the priest set this up just for me. At first it was odd to sit and look at a consecrated eucharist, but over the weeks it dawns on you that this *thing* is SO special that benefits can be derived just by *contemplating* it. Not only does eating the eucharist turn over more of your heart’s real estate to Christ, praying while you look at it has the same effect!

    As I’m typing these words, I imagine a non-Catholic’s reaction. Or my own reaction, just a few months ago, before I came back to the Church. This must sound like crazy talk to an outsider.

    I love your idea of saving up your concerns and worries and handing them over at Adoration. I’ve just been concentrating on the sensual aspects up to this point — the incense, the quiet, the candles on the lovely altar. It helps to remind me that my faith isn’t just a beautiful Sunday morning activity that has no relevance to the rest of my week or life.

    The miracle doesn’t just exist at Mass. It didn’t just happen that Holy Thursday long ago so that priests would have a script to read from every Sunday. The eucharist IS Christ. How many chances do we get to see that???

  8. elizabeth

    That was crazy long. My apologies.

  9. RCB

    Bringing your individual worries before God in the Blessed Sacrament is a great idea. I hope it brings you peace.

    Something that brought me peace from a specific but nearly-overwhelming worry was a little different: I stopped praying for Jesus to resolve the worry, and instead prayed for him to take away the anxiety. The prayer at Mass after the Our Father inspired me, with the words addressing God as the one who “protect(s) us from sin and save(s) us from all anxiety.” And though the problem remained for several more months before it was resolved, the fear and anxiety was almost gone the next day. It felt like a miracle – perhaps because it was.

  10. Tausign

    One of the best ways to offer prayer (especially in front of the Blessed Sacrament)is to keep in mind the acronym ‘ACTS’

    Adoration: Simply adore God for who he is. Praise Him and bless his Holy Name, etc.

    Contrition: Tell God you are sorry for your sins and realize how your sins frustrate his plans for you.

    Thanksgiving: Call to mind how good God is to you and Thank him.

    Supplication (Petition). NOW ask God for favors.

    This is the ‘perfect way’ to pray and if you investigate this you will see that all Liturgical Prayer (The Mass, LOTH, and Benediction) have those four elements. That’s one of the reasons why Liturgy surpasses our personal prayer.

    Try that format (in that order if you can keep it in mind) when you go before the Lord. If you find yourself oozing out ‘Praise and Adoration’ do NOT stop, keep it up as that is the highest form…the Lord will forgive your sins and take care of what you need without you even asking. Nothing will change you spirtual life more than some personal time in front of the Tabernacle, even you presence at the Sunday Mass will become transformed.

    Lastly, if you cannot find The Blessed Sacrament exposed – just do the same in front of the closed Tabernacle. He knows you are there. You see, it takes real commitment for a parish community to establish Perpetual Adoration. And when they do He must not be left alone. I myself am loath to leave the Lord alone if the next scheduled person is delayed or doesn’t show up.

    Anyways, I’m sure you had a blessed time this evening. The Lord falls over those who spend time with Him.

  11. Carol

    I’ve only been to Adoration twice, but that was more than enough for me to get “hooked” on it!

    The very first time I went was on Monday of Holy Week. It was there that I finally decided, once and for all, that I was going to convert to Catholicism. I’d been struggling with converting for 8 years, the last 2 years have been particularly intense. Sitting in silence, in that little room, in front of Sacrament….well, I just don’t have the words to describe what happened.

    Our local church only has Adoration on First Fridays also. I went yesterday and prayed the Rosary and did some reading, I wanted and needed to stay longer but I had a teenager with me who, while he had wanted to go all week, did not want to stay as long as I wanted. Next month, I’m going by myself.

    I have absolutely no good advice for you at all. I do like your idea though. I’ve noticed also, that while I take things along with me to do, in the end I tend to just fall silent and “be” there.

    I can’t remember where I read this recently but there was a little,old man who would spend hours and hours on end in Adoration. He was asked once what on earth he was doing in there for all that time and he replied to the effect of-
    “I look at Jesus and He looks at me and we are happy together.”

    My apologies for the length of this!

  12. Stevie

    What a wonderful idea!! I’m looking forward to hearing how it went for you but I’m not going to wait for the response before starting my own list!

  13. Catholic Bibliophagist

    I have to take slight exception to part of Heather’s comment: “God told us to worry about nothing therefore worry is a sin.”

    No, no, no. “Sin” is too strong a word here and may be causing some readers excessive worry. Better to say that worry is pointless, and that we really should consider the lilies of the field.

    Jen, your plan of postponing the worries and taking them to God during adoration is a very good one.

  14. ashleyrae

    Adoration will bring a certain kind of peace to you life – especially if you make going to Adoration a habit. I’ve noticed that the times in my life when I’ve had the best mental health, been able to cope with the stress the best, was when I went to Adoration on a regular basis.

    I’ve also noticed that once I let go of the habit, it’s really hard to get back into it. All of the excuses crop up (current excuse: our Adoration chapel is in a college community building and some guy always plays “Clementine” on the piano in the next room – he’s just a beginner, so it’s got a horrible, jarring noise I just can’t ignore!).

    I am very excited to hear about your first Adoration! What I found out the first few times I went was that it’s ok to just not do anything, to just be still. I think the Lord will guide you in your Adoration prayers. You may find yourself coming with a certain prayer in mind or with a book or journal and then God says, “I’d rather you do it my way.” Funny how His way always gives you exactly what you need…

  15. Jeana

    I loved how you “started to worry about one thing and then remembered you were supposed to be worrying about something else”. So true!

    And now I’m off to look up what Adoration is. 🙂

  16. Thomas

    Adoration is amazing, but like many Catholic devotions, it can take time to begin to appreciate the depths of its riches. Don’t be alarmed or feel deficient if you didn’t get much out of it yesterday. Sometimes I’m deeply aware of the Presence of Christ, sometimes I’m just deeply aware of the fact that I am not naturally given to silence and stillness.

  17. Sarah

    Good luck with Adoration! I have never been either . . .

    My only note to you – buy wholegrain goldfish! They’re the same price, taste the same, and you’ll feel better! 🙂 I actually think I like them better than the original; they’re a little bit fuller in flavor (but don’t really taste any different!) And seriously, if a handful of goldfish will buy you a few moments of sanity to put away the groceries and make their lunch once a week, give them goldfish! It’s not like you gave them Wonderbread spread with Miraclewhip with a side of Doritos and a Coke! 🙂

    I like your Adoration List idea though! Have a great weekend!


  18. eileen

    Jen: I have been blessed with living near a parish that has had an Adoration Chapel for the past 25 years. I have been attending for 11 years now. That may sound impressive, but I have to admit that when I first began I often fell asleep! Not to excuse myself, but the warmth and darkness of the chapel with Our Lord often brought this on. I seem to have it “down” on my prayer life before the Blessed Sacrament, I often pray the Rosary, and there is a daily meditation book in the chapel that I read from as well. The poster who described “ACTS” is right on. I have found, not even knowing this acronym before, that I find myself going through these steps as well. Great advice here. You will surely love your times at Adoration. Oh, regarding your worries with your children, all so natural. You’ll find things do fall into place. Take it easy on yourself 🙂

  19. Andrea

    Adoration is the best! It is definitely a necesity for me. My husband and I share an hour: he goes on week I go the next.
    I have gotten SO much out of it, I could probably go on and on and on…
    It is so wonderful to have a scheduled time to just soak in the presence of Our Lord!
    I love your list idea, can’t wait to hear how it went!

  20. Shannon

    We don’t have the luxury of keeping communion in a tabernacle here in the prison, but there are plenty of worriers around. My advice: make a list and keep adding to it until everything you’re worried about is on the list, then put the list into the prayer basket on Sunday. Writing everything down keeps the brain from getting on the hamster wheel trying to remember everything. The prayer slips are taken to a group of retired sisters who love to spend time in the chapel praying for the needs.

    Sometimes I also encourage a mental “God-box” where all those worries can go. Once they are in the box, the mind can take a rest.

  21. Maria

    How did my list get on your refridgerator?

    Seriously, I think I have the same list word for word on my fridge!

  22. asv

    And so, how did adoration go Jen?
    I have no good suggestions, I have an hour of adoration weekly from 2 until 3 am.. and most of the time I am just trying to stay awake… Sometimes I ask God if this counts!!! Maybe not. Anyway, I would follow your example of listing my worries, but I am not the worrying kind… In fact, Father Joseph Kentenich, the Founder of the Marian-Catholic Movement I belong too (Schoenstatt ) always repeated that our main worry should be not to be worried at all.

    Mater perfectam habebit curam et victoriam

    (The Blessed Mother will take perfect care and she will be victorius!)

  23. Andrea

    Uh–I could have just written this post? 🙂
    Seriously, I do the same thing. I love the idea of writing these things down then presenting them to the Lord in more of a state where you can think clearly and listen to Him.
    Wonderful–can’t wait to see how it goes for you.

  24. Ouiz

    As always, your ideas are so inspirational! I love the idea of writing down all my worries and bringing them to the Lord (I am a CONSTANT worrier, and the list would be pretty substantial!)

  25. Chelsea

    I just read Eileen’s comment about how she used to fall asleep in adoration and that reminds me of something St. Therese of Lisieux, who strove for spiritual childhood, said. She, too, used to fall asleep during adoration and got very upset about it until she realized that sleeping in the presence of the Lord is like a little child sleeping in her Father’s lap. I know it is in her autobiography, but I can’t remember where at the moment. When I get time, I will have to go through it and see if I can find it. I haven’t read it in a while. Her testimony of spiritual childhood has had the greatest influence on me spiritually. If you haven’t read it yet I think you would really enjoy it. You can read an excerpt of it here:
    The Little Way


  26. elizabeth

    I wanted to share this with someone who’d appreciate it. I just purchased my first rosary so I can pray the rosary even when I’m not at Adoration. I can’t wait for it to arrive.

  27. Jennifer F.

    Elizabeth – that is SO exciting! Sorry it’s taken me a while to reply. 🙂

  28. Susan

    Although I converted to Catholicism over 7 years ago, I still carry around a lot of Protestant baggage. But my husband wanted to try adoration and I thought it couldn’t hurt, so we went. While there I devoted my time to praying the rosary while pondering the fact that God became a real, tangible person in the form of Christ. I considered your blog about “God Became Dust” and though about the physical reality of the Eucharist.
    Anyway, my intention for the rosary was our son, Chris, who is 19, bipolar and had been living in terrible conditions, off his meds, since Father’s Day. Shortly after we returned home, we got a call saying the Chris had decided to voluntarily enter a psychiatric hospital with the intention of getting back on his meds, and beginning to put his life back together.
    So, consider me a major had of Adoration.

  29. Tara Meghan

    I just found out that there is a monthly adoration at the parish nearest to my house. I AM SO EXCITED!

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