By: Leah Robin
Daily Prayer, it can be argued, is the oldest of Christian practices. Before the complete compilation of scripture – both old and new testaments – Christians were praying. And not just praying at whim, but engaging in a rhythmic practice. We see our early Christian fathers and mothers living their days ruled by hours designated for prayer. In fact, Daily Prayer precedes Christianity. Those of the Jewish faith prayed at marked times throughout the day, sometimes praying on the hour, every hour.
Daily prayer is also deeply rooted in the Anglican Tradition, a tradition that continues to this day. It serves as a touch point for us to connect with our Heavenly Father throughout our daily business and busyness. We stop. And are reminded that all we are is from God and all we are is for God.
“Engaging in Daily Prayer is the single practice that has caused the most transformation in my life,” says Billy Waters, lead pastor of Wellspring. “I have experienced less anxiety, less fear, less anger, and been filled with more hope, more love, more peace, and more joy by utilizing this spiritual discipline throughout the day.”
If you were in church last Sunday, you know that we have made this accessible to our people in a small book – a field guide, if you will. We’ve compiled the somewhat confusing grid of the lectionary, the beautiful prayers from the Book of Common Prayer, and included the Lord’s Prayer and the scriptures marked by day.
The prayers in this book are not magic words or formulaic prayers that instantly transport you to sainthood. You already are one! Rather, they draw upon the inspiration of scripture, the ancient prayers of the faith, and a new immersion in our Anglican tradition to give us opportunity to connect with our Heavenly Father throughout the day.
There are four times highlighted in this book: Morning Prayer, Midday Prayer, Early Evening Prayer, and Evening Prayer. Morning Prayer sets our agenda and intention on the ways of Jesus and his kingdom before our day even starts. It’s our chance to cry out: Come, Lord Jesus! Your ways, not mine! It’s our golden ticket to not let our day be dictated by the demands of the job, the opinions of others, or frustrating circumstances. It’s our time to center ourselves as the Beloved, as the delight and apple of his eye. Midday Prayer causes us to stop amidst the clutter and clamor and remember that all we are is from God and all we are is for God. It redirects the trajectory of our work. It opens our hearts to love others. Early Evening Prayer is like a quick inhale and exhale at the close of the working day, perhaps before dinner. It causes us to review the day in light of God’s faithfulness, with a grateful heart. The Evening Prayer, said before bedtime, is a sort of Examen, if you will. It acknowledges that all of life is lived before his presence; it allows you to offer up the concerns of the day, and ask for peace and rest in the night to come.
We hope you will engage this little book. We hope you will engage scripture and prayer. Explore and experiment. Let us know your feedback. Indeed, Eugene Peterson says that all of scripture is prayer and that the work of the Christian is to engage is this scripture-prayer rhythm. John Wesley says that "God’s command to ‘pray without ceasing’ is founded on the necessity we have of his grace to preserve the life of God in the soul, which can no more subsist one moment without it, than the body can without air.”
By: Leah Robin