Why I Pray The Daily Office

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35 Responses

  1. Xenia says:

    Amen.

    If it wasn’t for my prayer book and our household’s ritual of morning prayers before breakfast, there are times when I probably wouldn’t pray at all, either out of sloth or discouragement or worldliness. But there’s my dear husband, firing up the incense and lighting the candles on our kitchen table: Ok Xenia, time for prayers. He’s more faithful than I am.

  2. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    I need to teach my cats how to light candles…well, maybe not… 🙂

  3. Josh says:

    This is good practice. I pray that it is fruitful for you.

  4. Michael says:

    Josh,

    To be blunt, it’s what keeps me in the faith…

  5. Josh says:

    I should say, I pray that it continues to bear fruit.

    My advice would be to put more effort into this, and less into anything that pushes you away from the faith.

  6. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I’m hanging out with more Eastern thinkers…it’s helpful as well…

  7. Josh says:

    Very good. I don’t know any of those Eastern thinkers. I mostly just hang out with old people. 🙂

  8. Duane Arnold says:

    Michael

    Well said… more than anything else, this is the heart and soul of what it means to be an Anglican. Can’t help but wonder and be moved as I look back over the last many months…

  9. I’m turning 60 next month, and I’ve been reflecting a bit on what has helped me “hang in there” as a Christian. Perhaps the well-publicized defections of late have made me even more mindful of this. For me, it’s a continual practice of looking at Jesus and not people. People stumble and fall. As I do. When my eyes are horizontal, I’m tossed about. Another factor is a simple approach to my Christianity. Basic, essential doctrine and simple life-giving practices. We have a lot of hoopla here in the west, and I think it’s killing us. Lastly, considering my three score years on the planet, I’m convinced it’s Jesus hanging on to me. Like a sheepdog, he keeps me herded when I drift toward danger. Not bodily danger, but danger of the mind and spirit. I’ve been amazed out some of the ways he accomplishes this.

    I’m a big fan of Psalm 73, which describes Asaph, a gifted choir leader in the temple as having “almost slipped.” I love his honesty as he writes about his frustration and jealousy when he looks at how those without live. They appear free, able to indulge in every lust and passion. But then, like the prodigal son, Asaph comes to his senses and thinks about their end.

    Hang in there, Michael. Jesus loves you.

  10. Ha! My second paragraph should read “how those without GOD live.”

  11. Michael says:

    PH,

    For me…a fixation on Jesus is all I can handle.
    There are so many conflicts over doctrine…they exhaust rather than edify.

  12. Michael says:

    Duane,

    It is the heart and soul of Anglicanism…so sad that some have chosen to rip the heart out…

  13. Jean says:

    Praying the daily office is a doctrine. It’s called abiding in the Word. Blessed is that man.

  14. I think our collective lack of “fixation on Jesus” is a primary reason the modern church is so impotent and disappointing. Between the doctrinal fights, me-centered worship theatrics, the comparing of one another, and our constant ecclesial busyness, who has time to stop and reflect? My strong intention is to fight past the static and the chaos and find the Jesus the word describes, not the Jesus our culture forms.

  15. Xenia says:

    My advice for those of you who belong to a tradition that does not publish pray books, you can make your own:

    1. First, say the Lord’s Prayer.
    2. If I were you, I’d recite the Nicene Creed.
    3. Read a few Psalms, whatever you have the endurance for.
    4. Make a list of all the people you want to pray for and work through the list as the week progresses
    5. Read a passage from the Epistles (you could use a lectionary for the Scripture readings.)
    6. Read a passage from the Gospels.*
    7. Finish up with whatever special things you want to talk to God about.
    8. Say “Amen” and go about your day.

    My husband and I say our prayers out loud. Actually, we chant them but that’s probably too weird for most of you. 🙂 It’s ok, just read ’em. Saying them out loud keeps you from drifting away. When do too much silent prayer I begin to think I am talking to myself, but that’s probably just me.

    *If you can find some way to connect the Scripture readings to a church calendar, even a simplified calendar, you might find it beneficial. Maybe observe some holidays you never thought about before, such as observing Pentecost.

  16. Xenia says:

    Sorry about the typos. Anyway, try it for a month and it will become a habit.

  17. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    Well done!
    I concur…

  18. Xenia says:

    If you are going to read a portion of the Epistles and Gospels out loud as part of your prayer regime, don’t read chapters and chapters; save that for later. This is not a Bible study!!! Resist the temptation to turn it into a Bible study!!!

    Find some nice Anglican, Lutheran, or Orthodox lectionary of short Scripture readings to be used during prayer time.

  19. Josh says:

    Xenia has offered wise counsel. For any who do not have a daily practice, take up the one she describes.

  20. JoelG says:

    I sadly let my bad moods dictate may “prayer life” (or lack thereof). When I get down, discouraged and feel disconnected all I can muster is a “thank you”, or “forgive me”, or “please help them”, etc. I hope that’s enough sometimes.

    Thanks for the reminder to keep plugging away even when we don’t feel like it.

  21. Kevin H says:

    JoelG,

    You are not alone in your struggles.

  22. JoelG says:

    Thank you Kevin H. When I think of our faith, my first thought is that it’s mainly a relationship God. So the thought of prayer as a discipline, even though my heart isn’t in it, seems forced and I know God sees that.

  23. JoelG says:

    But then I think about my relationship with my wife, and cultivating good communication and habits in my relationship with her even though we both sometimes aren’t “all in”.

  24. Michael says:

    JoelG,

    It is forced… and that’s the point.
    We’re commanded to pray and I’m at a point in my life where I’ll be damned if I know why.
    The command still stands.
    So…it forces me to do things I really need to do if my relationship with God is going to survive in a meaningful way.
    It forces me to obey and submit my will to His.
    It forces me to affirm that He is God and He is good.
    It forces me to speak out loud the things I claim to believe about Him…to affirm those things in the midst of unbelief.
    When I don’t speak to someone for a long time or I communicate nothing of importance to them it says the relationship is dying or over.
    I have a sinful tendency to cut people off as if they were dead to me…I get too close to that with God at times.
    Praying the Office may not work for everyone…but it keeps me in relationship…and close enough for Him to work…I think…

  25. JoelG says:

    And that is why I follow you here, Michael. Thank you, my friend. This is very helpful.

  26. Michael says:

    JoelG,

    We’re all glad you’re here…
    The reality is probably that I’m such a difficult person that extraordinary measures are required to reign in my sinful nature… 🙂

  27. JoelG says:

    😊 I get that. When you pray the Office, do you read or listen or both/and?

  28. Michael says:

    JoelG,

    Both/and.
    Sometimes I just don’t have what it takes to engage fully…but I show up to keep an ember burning.

  29. JoelG says:

    Thank you

  30. Dan from Georgia says:

    Michael, JoelG, et al…

    15-25 years ago this post would have made my blood boil as I was deeply entrenched into my evangelical-is-the-only-way way of thinking (borderline fundy), and would have thought that such things were forbidden by God.

    I’m glad I have been around this site for the last several years to see a much more open view of praying. Like JoelG and probably most/all of us, I struggle at prayer alot, stammering my words, using “just” too much, not “feeling” like praying, etc. I am glad to know that I am not the only one and that I am not forever doomed because I can’t live up to one way of praying and focusing upon our Lord.

    Thanks much!

  31. Michael says:

    Dan,

    It’s not for everyone…but I try to feature things that help people stay in the faith without making them absolutes.
    Different kids in the same family have different ways of communicating with their parents…

  32. Josh says:

    “but I show up ”

    And that is the answer, regardless of the practice. Keep showing up. Reminds me of Brother Lawrence.

  33. Xenia says:

    Ugh, wrong thread.

  34. Sue says:

    I homeschool my two kids. Not because I am a “homeschool is the end-all, be-all” type of person, but because it is the right choice for our family. I’m not going to lie, there are days when it is filled with monotony and drudgery (not to mention bad attitudes, me included). Having prayed the Anglican morning prayer for more than a year now, much of it is familiar and I know by heart. The prayers and psalms come to me through the drudgery, and help me to offer my monotonous day to God, reminding me that all of life belongs to Him, and will one day be redeemed by Him. This is one big reason I love the discipline of Morning prayer.

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