In the gentle rhythm of existence, there lies an opportunity for transformation, for discovery, and for connection to the divine. My youngest asked me recently, "Dad, why do you pray so much?" The query arose from a moment when I was ensnared in contemplation, looking for divine insight about our current social strife. I explained, "I'm calling out to the divine because these moments of prayer fill my heart with peace."
You see, prayer is a discipline at the heart of being a disciple of Jesus. We find that in the budding Christian community, they "devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers." (Acts 2:42) The very act of observing prayer, of holding onto those weekly gatherings, of having a daily discourse with God, has its foundations deep within Jewish traditions and customs.
The practice of structured church prayer — known variously as the daily office, the divine office, daily prayer, the liturgy of the hours, praying the hours — carries a singular, clear intention: to consecrate time. Every moment, every heartbeat, is God's time, rescued through Christ, sanctified by the Spirit. Our quest to disciple and mold disciples, then, must lead us to the restoration of some form of daily prayer, a practice that has been overlooked, yet the value of which is immeasurable.
There's a great deal of wisdom and support online for those eager to explore this daily discipline of prayer. There are resources that span historical examinations of praying the hours of the day, personal stories, theological investigations, and even digital tools to assist your journey.
Praying daily is not about subscribing to a complex ritual. On the contrary, it's about integrating moments of prayer into the quotidian cycle of your life. It's an intimate song of morning and evening, sung from your heart to the divine. You could memorize simple prayers for traditional hours of the day, or cultivate a habit of imagining your prayers entwining with those of the wider church body. By establishing a sacred space in your home or your church for these daily prayers, you create a sanctuary that is both God's and yours.
But here's the important thing to remember: prayer is not a burden, nor should it strain you. Like the heart-wrenching story of a mother struggling in a harsh system, or the simple yet profound art piece carried by Andre Henry as a symbol of collective burden, your journey with prayer should motivate, inspire, and transform, not cause stress. In the words of Jesus, echoed in the heart of the believer, "It doesn't have to be this way!"
Resist the temptation to see the daily office as just another task. Embrace it as a delight that gives structure and sacred significance to the hours of the day. Use the Psalms, the Bible's prayer book, as a starting point. Stay with one psalm for an entire week, or assign different ones for morning and evening. Pay attention to the verses that resonate with you and carry them in your heart and mind throughout the day.
And finally, consider integrating music into your daily prayer. The power of songs like those from the Taizé community in France, for instance, can provide a beautiful background to your daily discourse with the divine.
So, to answer my youngest's query, "Why do I pray so much?" - prayer is not merely a ritual; it is a commitment to stand in the presence of the Divine every day. It is an act of defiance against the empire that says, "You're alone." It's an affirmation of faith that echoes the proclamation of the early followers of Jesus and us today
"We are not alone. We are the beloved of God."
Happy praying, beloveds!
Prayetic: Enhancing Your Spiritual Journey with Meditations
The digital age, despite its challenges, has provided us with many tools to enhance our spiritual journey, and Prayetic is one of them. Prayetic is an online spiritual platform offering versatile access to 'The Divine Hours' by Phyllis Tickle, ensuring your spiritual practice remains consistent no matter your lifestyle.
Whether you're at home, commuting, or taking a break at work, you can connect with Prayetic and enrich your spiritual journey. Prayetic offers daily meditations in both audio and written forms, serving as a reflective companion to your prayer guide, fostering inner peace in your everyday life. Every day, you're welcomed with a unique, carefully selected inspirational image, enhancing your spiritual exploration with feelings of tranquility, joy, and motivation.
Prayetic simplifies the process of integrating spirituality into your daily routine, making it easier to maintain consistency in your spiritual practice. It's a platform designed for the modern age, taking into account our busy schedules and varied lifestyles, and making it possible to keep a connection with the divine at the heart of our daily lives.
Are you ready to start your day right? Sign up for Prayetic today, and transform your morning prayer and meditation practice! Embrace the peace, purpose, and joy of starting your day connected with the divine, armed with grace and gratitude, ready to meet whatever the day may bring. Remember, every sunrise offers a fresh start, a new day to express your faith, cultivate gratitude, and live in alignment with your spiritual values. Make the most of these precious morning hours—your heart, mind, and soul will thank you.
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