As my prayer become more attentive and inwardKierkegaard
I had less and less to say.
I finally became completely silent.
I started to listen
– which is even further removed from speaking.
I first thought that praying entailed speaking.
I then learnt that praying is hearing,
not merely being silent.
This is how it is.
To pray does not mean to listen to oneself speaking,
Prayer involves becoming silent,
And being silent,
And waiting until God is heard.
I would like a stall like that!!
O God, the protector of all who trust in you,Common Worship
without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy:
increase and multiply upon us your mercy;
that with you as our ruler and guide
we may so pass through things temporal
that we lose not our hold on things eternal;
grant this, heavenly Father,
for our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
I wanted to share the above collect from Common Worship – the collect for this last week. Every day I have been struck by the line: “we may so pass through things temporal that we lose not our hold on things eternal“. It is the struggle of all followers of Jesus: to live in this world without being part of this world.
I think theologians have tried to bring balance to this paradox in various ways. But in the end both are gifts from God: the temporal and the eternal. The call is to see the eternal in the temporal and thereby bring the temporal into the eternal.
I like Common Worship more everyday.
I have been using the Church of England’s Common Worship: Daily Prayer for nearly a year. I like the wording and the way everything is organised. I like that there are antiphons and Psalm Prayers.
AND today I found that there is an online site with Morning, Evening, Prayer During the Day, and Night Prayer for the current day. It makes it so easy!
The above is one of my favourite Merton pictures. It is, I think, from the time of his ordination to the priesthood. I wonder how he felt about having his picture taken during prayer? I know how I would feel.
I have been using a “meditation bench” for a time of mental prayer in the morning. I am old and I find sitting, kneeling, or standing somewhat difficult. But I can kneel using the bench. It keeps my back straight so I get little to no ache. Alas, I do not have enough padding so I do get a little sore sitting on the bare bench.
I think about all the things I do during the day. All the things I think are vital. Yet I often cannot find 10 minutes to just rest in the presence of Jesus. I want to organise my day better so that I can start with time with Jesus – resting, listening, lamenting.
Anyway, have a Jesus filled day.
This morning I had a decision: I am going to move to using Common Worship: Daily Prayer exclusively. Not going to change the world, not going to move anyone else! I have used Common Worship with the Australian Lectionary. I have purchased a copy of the lectionary from the Church of England and I will use that lectionary for my divine office.
Yes, not earth-shattering! And most likely very myopic. Yet the rhyme that Common Worship establishes with a four-fold office really suits me. And I am really not sure how I would survive without it – I often say Prayer During the Day in the car at work.
So … nothing happening here, just move on!
Psalm 55 was part of Morning and Evening Prayer today. This morning I was struck by these verses:
And I said: ‘O that I had wings like a dove, ♦Psalm 55:7-9
for then would I fly away and be at rest.
‘Then would I flee far away ♦
and make my lodging in the wilderness.
‘I would make haste to escape ♦
from the stormy wind and tempest.’
I often want to escape. I am never sure if I have faith or just a very strong desire to escape. Maybe a better way to put it is that I am not sure whether I have a vocation or a strong desire to escape?!
So I identify with the above verses. Indeed I would like to be a dove that flys into the wilderness and is never heard from again. And that urge is so strong sometimes. But is it the wilderness that I want to escape to? Or is it into Jesus that I want to escape?
I just wanted to share Psalm 62 again. It was set for Morning Prayer and it always speaks to me. So here is the whole Psalm with Refrain as found in Common Worship:
Refrain: Wait on God alone in stillness, O my soul.
1 On God alone my soul in stillness waits; ♦
from him comes my salvation.
2 He alone is my rock and my salvation, ♦
my stronghold, so that I shall never be shaken.
3 How long will all of you assail me to destroy me, ♦
as you would a tottering wall or a leaning fence?
4 They plot only to thrust me down from my place of honour;
lies are their chief delight; ♦
they bless with their mouth, but in their heart they curse.
5 Wait on God alone in stillness, O my soul; ♦
for in him is my hope.
6 He alone is my rock and my salvation, ♦
my stronghold, so that I shall not be shaken. [R]
7 In God is my strength and my glory; ♦
God is my strong rock; in him is my refuge.
8 Put your trust in him always, my people; ♦
pour out your hearts before him, for God is our refuge.
9 The peoples are but a breath,
the whole human race a deceit; ♦
on the scales they are altogether lighter than air.
10 Put no trust in oppression; in robbery take no empty pride; ♦
though wealth increase, set not your heart upon it.
11 God spoke once, and twice have I heard the same, ♦
that power belongs to God.
12 Steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord, ♦
for you repay everyone according to their deeds.
Refrain: Wait on God alone in stillness, O my soul.
O God, teach us to seek security,
not in money or theft,
not in human ambition or malice,
not in our own ability or power,
but in you, the only God,
our rock and our salvation.
… I have not mentioned it: I have started using Common Prayer: Daily Prayer as my office book. And I must admit I absolutely love it. It is physically a very nice book. And the offices are within the Anglican tradition and solidly traditional in their shape. It provides Morning Prayer, Prayer During the Day, Evening Prayer, and Prayer at the end of the day. I like the four-fold office as it is doable for me in my current context. And, to be honest, I do not want more at the moment!
I will admit that sometimes I feel some anxiety about not using the Australian prayer book that my parish uses. But that is for another day to consider!
Those who sow in tears ♦ shall reap with songs of joy.