Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Praying our lives
Dividing up our days into blocks can be a helpful practice - time with family - time for exercise - time for eating - time for sleeping - time for work - time with friends - time for commute - time for reading - time for relaxation - time for study. Do you structure your day this way? Many of us may do this kind of dividing up of the day. We feel the need, perhaps, to compartmentalize so we can focus on what we're doing and be more productive - maximize our time, and all the rest. And so, we also may create a block where we tend our spiritual life - where we practice our Faith. Perhaps some time for individual prayer, and hopefully also time to join with others in corporate prayer on Sunday - we block off this time.
But, is this what God really desires? Of course, there is much good in setting aside time for prayer, time for worship, but doesn't God desire it all? Doesn't God want us to live out our prayer? Doesn't God want us to turn in worship at all points of the day? Paul admonishes his readers to "pray without ceasing," ... and so whole monastic traditions developed dedicated to praying at all times - and monks would memorize the Psalms so that they could recite them throughout the day. The Jesus Prayer developed, "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner," and people recited the prayer throughout their entire day.
What if in our Outlook Calendar and our Google Calendar instead of only creating a block of time for prayer and worship we were able to shade the entire day with God's presence in all of our appointments? What if we were to acknowledge the essence that we desire to be "wholly yours, utterly dedicated to you"?
What if we were able to go beyond "punctuating" our days with prayer, but rather we were able to "pray our lives"? The truth is, that we can, God is upholding us and lifting us with his loving embrace at all times, and in the midst of all our appointments...
We might start with the Prayer of Self-Dedication found in the Book of Common Prayer:
~The Rev. Peter M. Carey
A Prayer of Self-Dedication
Almighty and eternal God, so draw our hearts to you, so guide our minds, so fill our imaginations, so control our wills, that we may be wholly yours, utterly dedicated unto you; and then use us, we pray you, as you will, and always to your glory and the welfare of your people; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.