Prayer: Great God, we reflect upon Your love this day as we go about our lives. As we watch were we walk because of slippery ice, may we give You thanks for the ability to walk in freedom. As we wait in the check-out lines, O LORD, may we give You thanks for the ability to wait in joy. As we review sermons or center ourselves in meditations, may we give You thanks for the ability You have given us to Worship You. Amen.
This week there have been discussions of how long should a Christian spend in reflection, meditation, prayer, and reading scripture each day. The answer is it differs between ages and abilities but if one does not spend a bare minimum of 30 minutes per day in study of scripture, prayer and meditation, then one is not fully involved in a relationship with God. Some people say they do short times of prayer - study-meditation each day. Some people say that they take the first minutes at the Church Office for prayer-study-meditation.
Good ol' St Benedict said that prayer, study, meditation, and work must be our priority and the other stuff get added in where needed. Three to six hours was set aside each day for prayer, study, and meditation.
Back in December 1983, the Rev Dr James Thomson was asked to write a discussion paper for the Knox College Worship Committee on the nature and significance of the College Chapel Service. During that time, ministry students were whining that Chapel got in the way of their studies. For some ministry students, Chapel was an addition to their day that irritated them rather than a priority in their day for worship. For people who have been called to the vocation of Word and Sacrament, it makes one wonder at their priorities.
The Rev Dr James Thomson's discussion paper is as relevant today as it was in 1983...... "If we complain that the spiritual life of our Church is dead, that people do not pray sufficiently, that prayer is not a vital aspect of the life of our people, then perhaps the fault lies in the fact that we have totally ignored a whole side of public and private devotion that would enable such activity to come to life. The self-discipline needed to develop a public and private devotional life needs assistance. That assistance can come conveniently in the form of "the Daily Office", or some such form which enables people to pray and to praise God with a sense of thanksgiving and affirmation, and to intercede before God concerns the trials and problems of our modern world The Christian Church today is more akin in its relationship to society to the Church of the first four centuries than it has been since that time. Perhaps, therefore, the time is ripe for Presbyterians to learn how to practice devotional again. The Chapel Service can be a useful form of such activity."
So, today go out and practice devotional again...and also.....don't forget to also clean up your office!
Prayer: We call You anew this day O LORD, that we can come to You in prayer and worship and study and meditation. Help us to thirst for Your Word. Help us to love You with joy and glad hearts so that prayer and study become a delight and not a sacrifice. Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal One grant us Your peace. This we ask in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.