I’m a couple weeks into new routine of paying attention more regularly to my prayer life. I have been doing this through the discipline of praying the hours. I can’t say that I have hit every time slot, but what has happened to my train of thought has been nothing short of wonderful.
As an extrovert with a husband working mostly from home and four children, I have no shortage of voices to engage my thinking throughout the day. Maybe for you it is work conversations, people you bump into at school, your children’s coaches or ballet teachers. Maybe for you, you have voices that are challenging or exhausting. Maybe as much as you love talking (like me) the sound of your own voice and thought life exhausts you at times.
Fixed hour prayer has been one way to integrate all of my external noise with internal dialogue with Jesus. Our family is in the midst of a few path-altering choices where my husband and I are facing decisions that affect our financial future. We can only talk about these things for so long before we come to a place where we are forced to surrender. We do not control every outcome. We do not hold the responses of others under our influence. We can make predictions, but they are just as likely to not happen as they are to happen. So instead of spinning these thoughts like plates in the air, fixed hour prayer is one way to set all of the plates back in the cupboard and let them rest for awhile. After a momentary pause from spinning, I am finding myself more content with the unknown, more ready to face the next few hours without anxiety.
We have many voices to engage throughout the days and week. For me it is husband, children, friends, ministry partners, authors, spiritual directees and mentees who cause my own mental noise to become a jumbled mess of ideas and problems to consider. Having the fixed mark of praying the hours has been one way to regularly deposit the cares and concerns of my day into the capable hands of Jesus Christ.Then, I move on the the next few hours with a much more contented and clear conscience. It’s as if these regular stops are reminding my soul that God is always aware of me in an even greater way than my little mind is aware of Him.
Do you find it easy or difficult to pray throughout the day?
What are the practices of habits that you engage to bring you back into knowing the presence of God?
wow. who knew that there would be such a perfect treasure awaiting me in the the divine office/praying the hours. most moms worth their salt will admit to occasional if not frequent bouts of nightly wake-ups, returning little ones back … Continue reading →
Today we went on a looonnnggg car ride to take a look at a possible kitchen space for my husbands biz. I thought about how car rides have changed since I was a kid. Media, in it’s many forms, has made the car less of a family cocoon and more of a place to be individually entertained ( at least in our family these days).
And something about this bothers me so much even while i do very little to change it. It’s like something invisible and powerful presses slightly against my best intentions and I give in like my life depends on it.
Enter the daily office. A simple little practice ( well, in theory) where I am joining the monastic cultures worldwide to pause at regular intervals and enter in to an intentional time of reciting prayer. I have attempted this practice before and failed miserably…. Or did I? Even the attempting to draw closer to my heavenly Father, the Spirit who loves me, and Jesus my savior and friend… Even my worst attempts can bring such intimacy. Even a half read prayer is giving me new language to communicate with and about God.
And just like the way I am raising my kiddos, my absolute number one priority is that my children know they are watched and waited for… No matter what. That we learn each others language and give grace where grace is needed. Car rides are great places to do all of that, even if there is music or movies or iPod touch games or instagram photos or texting or whatever! It’s not my ideal, but we are drawing nearer to one another, observing each other, watching and learning each others language. And any one who has ever travelled in a car with children longer than 4 minutes knows that auto travel is a hotbed for grace awakenings.
So, imperfectly and less than ideal I may go, I purpose myself to journey this path of daily prayer.
Want to join me?
The Refrain for Tuesday Morning Lessons:
Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord.
“We do not think ourselves into new ways of living, we live ourselves into new ways of thinking.”
― Richard Rohr
I so appreciate just about everything that Richard Rohr has to say. He is a man that is not only a prolific writer and thinker (which is inspiring) but he is a man who has pursued simplicity and integration as ways to make his faith more real (which is even more inspiring). I’d like to think that is my aim as well.
So in this season of Eastertide (the days beginning Resurrection day until Pentecost) (a season I have never observed in any formal way) I purpose myself into a new way of “thinking by living”. For the next 50 days I will attempt to read through the liturgy of the hours. For those unfamiliar with this practice, I promise to share more as I go. Simply put, it is a practice of praying on the hour about every three hours throughout the day with some specific guidelines to help anchor your time. The best way I have heard liturgy of the hours described is by Phyllis Tickle who writes
“The daily offices are like small chapels or wayside stations within the days courses” (The Divine Hours/Pocket Edition).
In recent years I have fallen in love with the practices of churches that have pentecostal theology. Somehow in my formative faith, I missed the emphasis of the Holy Spirit and it’s power for transformation in much of my life as a Christian. Just a few years ago, I was fortunate to have a time span of two years where I was weekly attending church services where the gifts of the Holy Spirit were part of the teaching. Concurrently I was engaged in a Masters in Spiritual Formation program that included several courses and experiences that reconnected for me the link between healing and Christian spirituality. It was as if God woke me up into the reality that the Holy Spirit was more than a fuzzy feeling, but a Person coming to bring me the fullness of the Kingdom Jesus kept talking about to me in Scriptures.
Why do I bring this up here?
Eastertide, which begins on Easter Sunday, is the 40 day journey between Jesus resurrection and His ascension and then 10 days later, the Holy Spirit arrives. (Easter+40=ascension. Easter+50=Holy Spirit arrives).
When I think back to my own Christian life, most of it could be summarized as an Eastertide Christian. I had a deep relationship with Jesus and was well acquainted with God through His Word, but I had not ever really recognized or received the Holy Spirit as a person to have a relationship with. As long as Jesus was in the picture, the Holy Spirit could remain an ambiguous force . But an encounter with the Holy Spirit changed that for me. And that is something I wish to commemorate by acknowledging that as real as the historical appearance of the Holy Spirit was at Pentecost, I have had my own pentecostal experience. So in this season, another one of expectation and mystery, I lean in through a new spiritual path of regular intervals to pause and pray and watch for the movement of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
So perhaps in this season of Easter, you can be expectant about the ways in which the Living Jesus will encounter you? Perhaps there is a way to pray or notice Jesus that you would like to observe for this period of time?
Perhaps you would like to share some of those ideas and observations here?