Friday, November 30, 2012

The Daily Office of Prayer


          
          I think that one of the things the season of Advent does for us is really expose that the trajectory of our daily schedules tend to revolve around, well, me! As believers in Jesus most of us would like to have our everyday center in Christ. But it does not often happen for a host of reasons, not the least for all the many responsibilities we have.

          Now, hang with me for a moment. I think one of the great tasks of all churches, ministries, and individual Christians is to be both indigenous and catholic. What I mean, is that we are to live our lives in such a way as to express our faith in ways that are realistic and consistent with the society and culture that we are in, but to do it in such a way that connects us with what Christians of all times and all places have done throughout history and do now all across the world. It is to this last point that we tend to woefully fail and find ourselves living a bifurcated existence with no relation between our faith and our work.

          One of the things that has been done throughout church history and can help connect us to Christ each day what is called the "daily office." This is a routine and rhythm of short prayers throughout the day that center in the life and death of Jesus. Hippolytus, a third century father of the faith, instructed Christians to pray immediately after waking up for God's presence through the day, at nine in the morning remembering that Christ was nailed on the cross, at noon because of the darkness that fell over the earth, at three in the afternoon to mark the death of Jesus, and before bed to give one's life over to God.

          The idea here is to always have Christ in your mind so that you do not succumb to temptation and live, instead, according to God's will. No matter where you are, at set times in your day, you can pray in your heart or out loud remembering Jesus and offering yourself to him, pressing the effects of Christ's redemptive events further and deeper into your heart. Why not give it a try? The only thing to lose here is a few ungodly thoughts and selfish decisions in your day. May you find peace in the coming of Christ.

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