Friday, March 21, 2014
About a year ago, a fellow sojourner gave me a book which has become one that stays close, especially during these Lenten days. It was written by Elizabeth Tickle out of the Episcopal tradition and is entitled "The Divine Hours, Prayers for Springtime." For the months of February through May she provides four different orders of prayers and readings for the reader to use at appointed hours in the day. Using it according to her design is like becoming immersed in moments of worship four times each day.
Having appointed hours for prayer is not a new thing. The Scripture points us to the practice. One of the more memorable stories about praying at the appointed hours is the story of Peter's rooftop prayer when he was led to Cornelius. Six in the morning, again at nine, at noon, and at three in the afternoon were designated times of prayer. Peter was praying at one of these times when he had his vision that changed forever the way the church viewed its mission. Elizabeth Tickle invites and encourages believers to follow such a practice in their daily life with God. She makes it clear the practice is not just something for the residents of monasteries, but for all of us.
So what keeps us from praying and worshipping in such a way? Oh, I know the excuses. Yours are mine. But, I also know I can choose to move in the direction she points me. Recently I memorized the 46th Psalm so that I can carry it with me wherever I go. It is an easy thing now to simply stop where I am throughout the day and use it as a focus for a moment of being in the presence of God. The only excuse I have now is choosing not to avail myself of the opportunity.