12.20.2005

the divine hours revisited

I have been praying The Divine Hours for the better part of the last three months, now. This means, as I've alluded to earlier, coming to prayer four times a day. It means praying the Lord's Prayer four times a day, too. Of course, I do not always make it to prayer all four times, though I try. Most often I make three times a day, however.

When I first began praying these fixed hours I found it refreshing and exciting. I looked forward to coming to prayer at the next part of the day. A month or so in, however, I had to work at it a bit more. Some of the freshness was gone, but I still missed praying when I didn't get to it.

That freshness is back, however. One of the most powerful parts of my experience with this approach to prayer has been how different prayers connect to my experience on a day to day basis, even though I may be praying these same prayers daily for a week or a month. When I get to the end of the day and pray at compline, "Almighty God, my heavenly Father: I have sinned against you, through my own fault, in thought, and word, and deed, in what I have done and what I have left undone..." rarely a day goes by that I do not feel the sting of pain I have caused my wife or one of my children or someone with whom I have spoken. Rarely a day goes by that I do not realize how badly I am in need of God's forgiveness and mercy. And when I pray four times a day "forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors," I am humbled at how often those words have meaning for me personally, at how often I need to pray them. And I wonder what I did before I prayed those words four times a day.

And when I pray the closing prayers at the end of the day and remember struggles I've had with my children or with people I've dealt with at church who are in pain or suffering, these words connect my heart to God's in a special way as well: "Watch, O Lord, with those who wake, or watch, or weep tonight, and give Your angels and saints charge over those who sleep. Tend Your sick ones, O Lord Christ. Rest Your weary ones. Bless Your dying ones. Soothe Your suffering ones. Shield Your joyous ones, and all for Your love's sake. Amen."

2 Comments:

At 4:21 PM, Blogger Scot McKnight said...

Stacey,
Are you in my skin? Same experience I have had -- and I've been doing this quite a bit longer, but I find them so refreshing today.

 
At 6:21 PM, Blogger theultrarev said...

Dear Revinator,
I admire you as I always have. I wonder if you would consider describing in greater detail what you do — details like where, what times, are you using BCP, etc.? I would love it if you said more.
PEACE - sme

 

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