Thursday, July 7, 2011

Praying the Offices: Why I Like This Form of Prayer

My watch alarm just beeped and it reminded me to pray. I set this alarm for a few minutes before noon so that I can pray the Lord's Prayer at noon. Today, I also prayed the office with Phyllis Tickle's book, The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime.

Why do I like this form of prayer?

One day, I just got sick of my prayer list. My eyes were opened to the selfishness of the list. I was praying for good things for family, friends and myself. But it was just one long list of things I wanted God to do for me. Yes, many of them were spiritual things, but still....

1. Praying the office causes me to pray in the language of the Bible. Psalms and other portions of scripture are used extensively.

2. Praying the office lets me use some of the deepest and most beautifully worded prayers that I have ever seen. And they are things I want! For example, "The Prayer Appointed for the Week" for this week, from The Divine Hours:

O God, you have taught me to keep all your commandments by loving you and my neighbor: Grant me the grace of your Holy Spirit, that I may be devoted to you with my whole heart, and united to others with pure affection' through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Divine Hours, page 206. Taken from the Book of Common Prayer, slightly adapted for individual use.

3. By using the form of prayer, over time, I will begin to remember these phrases, ideas and perhaps eventual even memorize psalms and prayers.

I think those are my top three reasons. More later.

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