Friday, August 1, 2008

Friday Fodder

I've been reading through The Ancient Practice Series. It's been a chance to understand Christian heritage and to ask important questions. Robert Benson writes the second book in the series entitled In Constant Prayer.

Benson suggests Christians should return to praying the divine office. In other words obtaining a prayer book and being liturgical in prayer (Lauds, Prime, Terce, None, Sext, Vespers, Compline). I'm really enjoying the book. However, because of the tradition in which I was raised, I've never prayed as Benson suggests.

Does God bless a certain way of prayer? Does the way we pray need to be changed from time to time? What are your experiences/thoughts?


Ted M. Gossard said...

I'm not used to that way of praying, either, but I believe it's beneficial. It has been for me, at least to some extent.

The book called "the little book of HOURS: Praying with the Community of Jesus"- Paraclete Press- I think is a good way to start and not be bogged down in the process.

I like the "Book of Common Prayer" I ordinarily use for a prayer on Sunday on my blog. But I'm not used to the idea of going down the entire list of things, though I think it would be beneficial.

I liked a Yancey quote from his recent book on prayer which I recently quoted on a Sunday on my blog, where he talks about this very thing from his own perspective. His background isn't entirely different than our own, I gather, so it's worth a read.

I love the Celtic prayers, as well.
And of course there are great prayers from other traditions like the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions.

But I'm definitely a beginner on this, myself.

Mike said...

Thanks for the thoughts Ted. I plan on getting something without the goal of getting bogged down.

It's been awhile since I read the Yancey book. Maybe it's time to pick it up again.


Chris said...


I think it would probably be very helpful for more Christians to use structured, liturgical prayer as the backbone of their spiritual life - but certainly not all! My life of prayer is rooted in the Daily Office / Liturgy of the Hours - I pray the Office of Readings, Morning Prayer, Daytime Prayer, Evening Prayer and Compline daily. It's not as onerous as it sounds(!); in fact it's a very helpful way of ensuring that prayer is not just slotted into the shape of my day, it becomes the shape of my day. It also allows me to immerse myself frequently in Scripture, and to pray the Bible along with the wider church ... so many benefits!

But it is somewhat formalized way of praying, which simply won't suit all people. The point of prayer, after all, is increasingly falling into a deeper and richer relationship with God which spills out in our compassion for the world around us. Anything which helps that to happen is good, in my book. And anything which hinders it, however great for other followers of Christ, we can gently lay aside.

Pray liturgically - if it helps. Pray spontaneously - if it helps. Pray standing on your head, if that really makes a difference! But, above all, pray.

The Lord be with you!


Mike said...

- Really like how you summarize Chris. "...above all, pray".

I also like the idea of the wider church participating in the liturgy as a family. I believe the benefit of this spiritual discipline would be evident in the entire church.

Blessings and thanks for the comment!