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Thursday, November 1, 2007

How do you not forget? - Part 2

This is the second part of an answer to a question a friend asked me - "How do you keep talking to God throughout the day? I mean, how do you not forget?" My last post on this topic could be called my outlook on life. My (undivided) life is "hidden with Christ in God" and "in him I live and move and have my being". This seems to set my heart to realize that God is at work all around me and in me, and if I seek to see my life and my world this way, how can I not "not forget".

But this post and the ones following are in the realm of practice. What do I do?

I used to have a "daily quiet time". You know what I mean, don't you. Set apart an hour with God a day, at the same time every day. Pray and read your Bible. This works for many people, I suppose. It did for me at a certain time in my life. But I don't do that any more. For me it seemed to condense God to just an hour of my day.

Instead I have come to practice what may be called a daily rhythm of prayer. What I mean is that I pray daily at the specific times throughout the day, following the pattern of the Hebrew prophet Daniel (Daniel 6:10). For me this rhythm generally follows the pattern of my commute to and from work and lunch. Also I often pray before I go to bed. I use a form known as the daily office. I generally use a Celtic Christian liturgy posted on this site ... (You can find a link posted to the right under my profile.) Although I have memorized the psalms and prayers that make up the “liturgy” of this daily office, I mix it up with spontaneous non-written prayer. Also I employ periods of silence, meditation and singing as well. There are daily bible passages that are scheduled to be read, and I generally pull them up on my computer at work and read and meditate on them by “stealing a moment” while waiting on hold or between customers or at other times.

This practice or using a rhythm of prayer according to the cycles of my day, has helped to transform my days and my moments from just hurriedly moving to my next destination or chore, to realizing God is present in all the times, seasons, cycles and patterns of my days. It helps me to move from mere mundane to recognition of Emanuel, God With Us.

Am I perfect at this? No. After 18 months do I still struggle at times to implement it? Yes. Do I always sense God's presence in it? No. Do I sometimes miss a beat in this rhythm? You bet ya. But I have found that by having my prayer follow the patterns of the ebbs and flows of my day, it makes it easier to get back on track and in tune with God, when I skip a beat. I also find that this rhythm helps me to keep Jesus in the center of the simple patterns of my day, and so I look to him through out the day.

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