Saturday, 1 February 2014

Saturday - Devotional time

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.

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