Forums Spiritual Theology 2.2: The Daily Office

  • 2.2: The Daily Office

     Anonymous updated 1 year ago 14 Members · 41 Posts
  • Anonymous

    Deleted User
    October 6, 2020 at 11:55 am

    Reflect on your experience of experimenting with and praying the daily office. How did you experience the Collects of the BCP? Did you gain any insight from John Calvin’s reflections on the Lord’s Prayer? Do you find structure helpful for your daily prayer life?

    Due: Initial posts due by 10/14, responses to at least two peers by 10/16.

  • Anonymous

    Deleted User
    October 12, 2020 at 11:54 pm

    The deeper and deeper I get into this course, the more I am realizing just how much trauma I carried with me into this program. Having studied the teachings of John Piper and Mark Driscoll while sitting under the leadership of Greg Laurie and Chuck Smith made the reading from Calvin feel particularly hard to read – and it took a conscious effort for me to not toss it all aside, stating simply that “I know that – it’s the ACTS model, right? Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.”

    That being said, there are some good things that I still hold to in the praying of the Lord’s Prayer and especially as I have been finding more comfort and solace in the older liturgy and practices. It is only in the legalism that declares “this is the right way to pray” that I take issue and tend to turn the other way.

    • Anonymous

      Deleted User
      October 13, 2020 at 2:12 am

      Couldn´t. Agree. More.

      Thanks SO much for this Ellie. I´m so sorry for the trauma you carry. In some ways I still carry trauma too.

      I felt the same way … like been there, done that. What I am thankful for, though, is that I have come so far in my theological and spiritual growth and understanding that I found myself able to (at various times) argue with Calvin! Years ago I would have simply gathered all the proverbial “honey” falling from his intellectual “honeycomb”. Now I can see that even 16th century reformers like Calvin were also proof-texting machines who do not corner the market on the understanding of God´s character. Now I much better understand where Piper, Driscoll, Smith, etc. cut their teeth but thankfully biblical interpretation and church tradition did not beging and end with the Reformation.

      • Anonymous

        Deleted User
        October 13, 2020 at 11:35 am

        Thank you Ellie and Matthew for sharing this and I am truly sorry for the ways Reformed fundamentalism has traumatized you. Thank you for sticking with the reading. One of the challenges with historical sources is that we experience them through their interpreters. There is no shortage of scholars who say “Calvin was not a Calvinist!”–so much of the “new Calvinism” is a product of later centuries. Still, the Reformers, like anyone, had their blind spots and baggage. The polemics from this time (Protestant and Catholic) are really hard to take in. Their rhetoric is strange and offensive.

        It helps me to remember that Calvin was a refugee in a city of refugees. He was attempting to pastor an international congregation of traumatized people in a time when the world was coming apart. One thing that genuinely distinguishes him from the “Young, Restless and Reformed” crowd was his tireless work for social justice reform–e.g. the creation of the diaconate, an empowered group of people who worked to secure the rights of the poor. It involved some major innovations (such as adding a floor to EVERY building in the city to make room for people, and making the city purchase a working stove for anyone who came to live there). I share this not to heroize–just humanize.

        What I am hoping for in this reading exercise is that we meet a voice different than our own engaging with the central prayer of Christian spirituality. What is he saying about prayer and how does that stimulate our own thoughts about what really matters in the life of prayer? Does he think prayer or correct doctrine matters more in the Christian life?

        • Anonymous

          Deleted User
          October 13, 2020 at 10:52 pm

          Scot – That’s an interesting take on it, especially since I know that a proper understanding of context – historical and literary – is important in our understanding of Scripture. So, that being said, it is interesting to think about this writing from the standpoint of Calvin’s context. I do know that Calvin wasn’t an intellectual – in fact, he shied away from that a bit, not to mention away from systematic theology, which came as a surprise to me considering how much of his works are now used to build a systematic theology.

          At a glance, I would say that prayer matters more to Calvin within this passage of his writing, though that also is admittedly overshadowed by how his writing comes across to me as a certain doctrine of how to pray correctly.

        • Anonymous

          Deleted User
          October 14, 2020 at 1:38 am

          Thanks so much Scot. I appreciate the information you share about Calvin´s social activism and also the reminder not to forget to take historical, cultural, etc. context into account. I was also not aware of what the “new calvinism” folks had to say about Calvin himself. Thanks again.

          That said, I feel like whatever Calvin was saying about prayer was overshadowed by how his writing came across to me and how he seemed to be enforcing some sort of model everyone must follow when they pray. I believe I can bring my prayers before the throne of God in any myriad of ways and in any emotional state I find myself in. I don´t think Calvin supports such a notion, hence the reason I really struggled with this reading assignment.

        • Anonymous

          Deleted User
          October 15, 2020 at 1:09 am

          Thank you for some of the context of this, this was my first time reading Calvin in his own words, and I found it quite engaging, perhaps more than the “Young Restless and Reformed” new calvinist movement. One section that really caught me was on 897 or 7 on our pdf “and indeed, the heathen man is wise in that he judges how dangerous it is to seek from the Lord what our greed dictates; at the same time he discloses our unhappiness, in that we cannot even open our mouths before God without danger unless the Spirit instructs us in the right pattern for prayer” because I really appreciated his invocation of the Holy Spirit as our guide and perfecter and sanctifying interlocutor for our prayers because I think Calvin’s emphasis on perfection of “doctrine” in prayer could be interpreted as a burden upon us to pray in perfect doctrine as opposed to an opportunity to turn our hearts in humility to reliance upon the Triune God- Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. The section where he goes in depth about “who can address almighty God as Father with such intimacy” is an example of that emphasis on God’s holiness and glory, while also emphasizing that we can approach with boldness because of our adoption and Jesus our brother and mediator. To me, the role of doctrine is then to give us rest, to know that we can never be perfect in doctrine or orientation of the heart, and must therefore rely upon God instead of our own strength or ability to know or believe perfectly.

        • Anonymous

          Deleted User
          October 16, 2020 at 6:55 am

          As I read his work, it felt to me that he cared more for right belief than right living. But I appreciate the additional background to his story – it does humanize him, and I really needed that reminder. My reactions to Calvin were similar to @elliegirl77 – it was a real effort to read through both articles (that’s what I get for jumping in on the readings early! 😆) As a pastor, I am always walking this path of teaching and instructing others on the spiritual traditions of Christianity, while encouraging a freedom to experience God as only each individual can. I don’t want to err on the side of a spiritual free-for-all, with no anchoring to the past. But I sure have to work at it to hear words like “must, ought, should” in relation to our approach to prayer.

          • Anonymous

            Deleted User
            October 16, 2020 at 6:43 pm

            I agree with you, Rachael (and many above) the “should, ought, must” is over the top. It’s not just Calvin, it’s 16th century polemic–Catholic, Protestant, Radical Reformation– often accompanied by “and if you don’t, you’ll burn…” It’s odious (and grimly comic). I try to read ancient sources with compassion, but it always take work. But I’m always glad to have gone there, to hear what they were saying. And way to jump ahead and read BOTH articles!

        • Anonymous

          Deleted User
          October 20, 2020 at 12:37 pm

          Thank you for sharing this, Scot. I, too, share Ellie’s aversion to Calvin’s writings. I really appreciate the context you are providing, though. I think part of growing up in an ahistorical Christian context is that you read the writings of Calvin or Wesley, etc, and only have one lens through which to interpret them. Knowing Calvin’s context and the work he did actually does make reading his work much more meaningful.

          • Anonymous

            Deleted User
            October 21, 2020 at 12:33 am

            This is very helpful. I agree. I probably shouldn´t have given up on the Calvin readings so soon.

    • Anonymous

      Deleted User
      October 14, 2020 at 2:36 pm

      It’s really interesting for me to hear about how reading Calvin brings up a lot of pain for you. I’m sorry that it’s been a difficult process for you, Ellie, and I admire how you persist in staying open to receive even from something that reminds you of trauma. I don’t have much familiarity with Calvinism. The only Calvinist whose words I’ve really steeped myself in before is Marilynne Robinson, who is so wonderful. I’m curious of what you might think of Marilynne Robinson’s writings on Calvin if you ever read (or have read) her!

  • Anonymous

    Deleted User
    October 13, 2020 at 8:34 pm

    Praying the daily office has still proven a little difficult to me as I get my flow down and make it part of my daily rhythm. I love the ritual of it and the structure. Calvin’s writing on the Lord’s prayer also highlighted the importance of the structure and the ways in which we pray, making sure we are both praising God and asking for those things needed to sustain us. I could not help, when reading Calvin’s words, however, wonder in what ways we can expand that family of God he talks about. Given we are reading Enns book at this time as well, I could not help but think about the context Calvin is writing from. I can’t help but wonder what his writings might sound like in today’s context and if, for example, there would be room for other interpretations, even perhaps saying “Our Mother” or “Our Creator.” I certainly think that we are called as Christians to constantly be expanding the ways in which God’s love can be expressed, including the feminine and masculine.

    • Anonymous

      Deleted User
      October 14, 2020 at 9:25 pm

      Yeah, I use to struggle so much with that idea of expanding the way God’s love can be expressed. I thought about it as just a deviation from truth. Now, I have the same thoughts. What about our Mother, who are in heaven?

      Once I understood that God does not have a gender, and that “Father” is a metaphor used by God’s people to try and understand him better, it makes sense.

      Anyway. I like your thoughts.

    • Anonymous

      Deleted User
      October 20, 2020 at 12:45 pm

      Thank you for sharing this, Sarah! I have been exploring what it means to expand how I communicate with God by incorporating the feminine. This hasn’t been an easy process as I’ve been pretty conditioned to stick with masculine pronouns. I love how you talk about “expanding the ways in which God’s love can be expressed.” I think that’s really the most important thing for me to keep in mind. This is more about how we include others in Her love!

  • Anonymous

    Deleted User
    October 14, 2020 at 1:54 pm

    Scott, thanks for the BCP overview. My introduction to this general form of prayer was the Celtic Daily Prayer book by the Northumbria Community, which was given to me by a dear friend. The Celtic blessings are among my favorite, including, “Calm me, O Lord, as you stilled the storm. Still me, O Lord, keep me from harm. Let all the tumult within me cease. Enfold me, Lord, in Your peace.”

    This past week I’ve been trying out a wide variety of BCP versions and finally landed on the Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals by Shane Claiborne and co. that I shared in the Activity Feed, after discovering there was a related app that I could listen to on my morning runs.

    Since I’ve memorized and prayed whole sections of the Celtic Daily Prayer book, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot from this new experience…but for whatever reason I’ve been struck by the power of a daily assigned Scripture reading (neither of my own choosing nor related to sermons I’m giving), which has been pulling me along in a larger narrative. I’d also forgotten how much I love the Psalms. I know for some these ancient forms of prayer can feel formulaic, prescriptive, and limiting, perhaps even part of what is wrong with the church––but today I was reminded of how they can also act as guide rails when the world feels like it’s falling apart.

    Today’s Psalm in the Common Prayer book strikes me as a litany of hope for our day. I’m attaching a screenshot here.

    • Anonymous

      Deleted User
      October 14, 2020 at 2:16 pm

      Thanks so much for helping me remember why I love the Northumbria Community so much. I´ve been a friend for about 10 years now and I love their prayers. CDP (Celtic Daily Prayer) has been a helpful resource over the years. Thanks also for the screenshot 🙂

    • Anonymous

      Deleted User
      October 14, 2020 at 9:18 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Mary. I also love using the Book of Common Prayer for Ordinary Radicals. I really like when they share interesting and helpful facts about a particular date, perhaps a history that I didn’t know that brings new depth to the daily scripture or prayer. And the quotes at the end are often very good, as well. So glad to see others appreciating it, too!

    • Anonymous

      Deleted User
      October 15, 2020 at 7:00 pm

      Thank you so much for sharing this information. I love looking at different interpretations of the BCP and different ways to look at the liturgy. I had seen the app for this one and was intrigued so I’m excited to check it out. One thing I am noting as we go through these resources is how expansive God’s kingdom really is when we open our minds and hearts to all of the possibilities and ways of worship.

  • Anonymous

    Deleted User
    October 14, 2020 at 2:27 pm

    Praying the daily office was a challenge for me. I realize that these prayers are meant to be prayed with a congregation, rather than by an individual reading the prayers quietly to themselves. Trying to pray through reading unfamiliar liturgies made me realize how my relationship with text is usually one of extraction. Thoroughly trained by my liberal arts degree, I primarily read to extract an idea that I can utilize in a future argument. Until attempting it multiple times a day, I hadn’t realized how difficult reading devotionally had become for me. I’m grateful that praying the daily office helped me to slow down and consider this.

    I appreciated John Calvin’s reflections on the phrase “Our Father.” It reminded me of the deeply relational nature of prayer, that Scripture continually defines God through God’s relationship to humanity. Father, Savior, Shepherd, King, Judge. Praying the Lord’s Prayer is an opportunity to remember the way God has chosen to be bound to humanity, and how I am also bound to a wide family of people throughout history and place. Both the Lord’s Prayer and the BCP connect me to the strangers who have prayed the same words both before me and synchronously with me. In prayer, I am not just speaking into a void, but joining in a chorus and communion.

    • Anonymous

      Deleted User
      October 14, 2020 at 9:19 pm

      I can relate to reading the bible so I can use it for future arguments. It sucks because I think the very best use of the scriptures is for “devotional” purposes, whether communal or individual. The temptation to use it as a resource for argumentation is a temptation to rob the scriptures of their power and purpose.

    • Anonymous

      Deleted User
      October 15, 2020 at 7:02 pm

      Yising, you bring up some really wonderful points. I can remember many times when attending a church or memorial service outside of my own faith tradition, being comforted by a common prayer or the Lord’s prayer. It really does connect us all so deeply and intricately.

    • Anonymous

      Deleted User
      October 16, 2020 at 2:22 pm

      “Both the Lord’s Prayer and the BCP connect me to the strangers who have prayed the same words both before me and synchronously with me.”

      YES. Looking back at my own faith journey, some of the most impactful moments was standing in a crowded church, holding hands (pre-covid, of course), and singing the Lord’s Prayer together. The moment when we all raised our joined hands to sing “Amen” is a moment that sticks with me to this day in this way.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyLdgmAy_tc

  • Anonymous

    Deleted User
    October 14, 2020 at 8:39 pm

    I think the structure and dedicated time commitment is helpful for my daily prayer life. However, I did not find much connection or relationship with God in practicing the daily office. For some people, routine and ritual is important. For others, myself included, the forced nature of the ritualistic style is not very helpful. I grew up in a conservative protestant church. Every Sunday was typically the same format with rehearsed liturgy and prayers. I checked in for an hour on Sunday, and then checked out. My faith life has grown tremendously from a more personal relationship with God.

    • Anonymous

      Deleted User
      October 15, 2020 at 11:55 am

      I hear you, Brandon! Ritual and routine can definitely begin to feel dry impersonal. It’s funny, I think was on the opposite side of the spectrum of you growing up –– the Pentecostal and charismatic worship I participated in is founded on improvisation and eschews structure. I began appreciating liturgy more in the last few years not so much because it helped me feel a direct connection with God, like you mentioned, but because it helped me feel more connected with other people. There was something special about participating in words and movements that others throughout history have partaken in as well. I liked the feeling of rootedness in a historic Christianity, rather than just having an individual relationship with God. Though of course, I still enjoy a wild, unpredictable Pentecostal service 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Deleted User
    October 14, 2020 at 9:09 pm

    This exercise was difficult for me. If I’m honest, it felt like work.

    I’m not suggesting that it wasn’t good. I gained a lot from the scriptures, and turning the readings into expressed prayers. I learned that more structure is good for me in some respects, and that I have a lot to learn from this kind of prayer. The aspect of saying a lot of these prayers from the communal “we” felt awkward at first, but the kind of awkward that is stretching, something I could tell I needed to spend more time in and think about. My “quiet time” has historically been a very individualistic time for me, but I recognize I am not alone in my walk with God, that I grow through community and fellowship. It is a new and growing thing to think about how my personal time with God can be in part done communally as well.

    That said, I felt disoriented by the number of scripture readings. I could have spent all my time on just one small portion of the daily office, but having to read through so many brought me too many messages for my heart to find a place to rest. I felt as if I skipped like a rock over a deep lake, not spending long enough at any one point to sink down and let the truth soak into my bones.

    Perhaps this is because I wasn’t doing it right. But I’m learning, and even though this has been a difficult exercise, I’m still growing from it.

    • Anonymous

      Deleted User
      October 16, 2020 at 12:41 am

      I think that the way I’ve often been taught about prayer in Western Christianity is a focus on the individual instead of collective, and I think the last few years have challenged me to think about / work through some of the awkwardness you’ve described in learning how to pray as a “we”. My PCA church was the first place I ever had seen collective confession done, sometimes in moments of collective confession I feel my heart saying “well I don’t struggle with this sin” but then it pushes me to think about my participation in community and how there are those who are needing to confess this sin, and in confessing it alongside them, we are shouldering a burden together to repent and heal. It’s pushed me to grow in thinking about collective sin and praying for collective healing/justice etc.

      • Anonymous

        Deleted User
        October 16, 2020 at 2:38 pm

        Thank you, SueAnn. Your words here give me a lot to wrestle with, especially considering that I had run from my corporate form of liturgical worship in the Catholic church in which I was raised and into the arms of Calvary Chapel, where worship was all about one’s “personal relationship with Jesus.”

    • Anonymous

      Deleted User
      October 22, 2020 at 10:31 am

      I really feel you on this. I appreciate broadening my engagement with God in this way, but it also has felt a bit too much to take in as well. I’ve found myself thinking “how do people do this twice a day?” lol

  • Anonymous

    Deleted User
    October 14, 2020 at 9:15 pm

    Praying the daily office brings to mind different periods in my life: praying alongside a local Anglican priest and a couple congregants each morning in a small parish outside of Oxford, England, or alongside a dozen fellow students and faculty members in divinity school. Even now, praying the daily office on my own reminds me of the communal nature of prayer—using well-worn prayers that have held together fellow pilgrims around the globe and across the centuries. For the past few years, I’ve used the Book of Common Prayer for Ordinary Radicals, hard copy or app. It has become a familiar and helpful practice, so that I actually find myself missing it when I’m not able to get to it on a particular day. It is odd to write this out, but I look forward to getting to the Collect at the end of each morning’s prayer—to discover a creative turn of phrase, for example, or the way an earlier passage of scripture is intricately woven into the prayer.

    The structure of these daily prayers has been helpful
    for me, yes—especially during seasons where I needed help with healthy rhythms,
    or where I wanted to want to pray, but often struggled to find the
    energy or the words. One thing I have been thinking about, however, is the way
    in which I can benefit from more time in silent prayer, in addition to set / my
    own prayers. There is, of course, time given for this in the daily prayer that
    I use, but even that is often filled with my own words. This, to me, feels like
    the growing edge of my own prayer life—leaving more room for the Spirit to blow
    through.

    • Anonymous

      Deleted User
      October 16, 2020 at 6:21 pm

      Ryan – I appreciated your perspective here. The way the daily office and structured prayer has become so engraved in your routine that missing a day is greatly noticed. It can also be a great tool when you can’t find the words or energy. I think I need to try setting aside a dedicated prayer time in my day – whether it is using the daily office, or spontaneous conversational prayer with God.

  • Anonymous

    Deleted User
    October 15, 2020 at 12:27 am

    I have to admit that this practice is very new to me. I have been a part of the low church tradition for many years, and although I’ve been aware of the BCP, I’ve never actually followed it or used it in my devotional life. In fact, I found it intimidating. I now have two apps on my phone, both versions of the BCP with the Daily Office, and I’m now realizing what I have missed out on. I’ve been going through a deconstruction process in my faith over these past several years. Finding time to pray – or rather the discipline of making time to pray – has become more challenging and less frequent. Quite to my surprise, having a structured morning and evening prayer time and praying these beautifully written, thoughtful, theologically rich prayers, is both comforting and fulfilling. Admittedly, I am not perfect and am still getting into a routine. I find the collects to be rich and succinct versions of what I otherwise might have used many words to say. I remember being taught at some point in my evangelical experience that the Lord’s Prayer was meant as a model prayer, not as a prayer to be prayed repeatedly. After reading John Calvin’s work on this prayer, I’m reminded that not only should I be praying this daily, but I need to really spend time with each line. Calvin reminds us, “…we are not so instructed that each one of us should individually call him his father, but rather that all of us in common should call him Our Father.” One of the most powerful truths I am learning as I explore this mode of prayer, is that while I may be praying these prayers alone in my living room, I am joining my prayers with all of those who call Him Father.

    • Anonymous

      Deleted User
      October 15, 2020 at 11:50 am

      I agree that praying pre-written prayers, including the Lord’s Prayer, helps connect me to other Christians around the world. It’s so easy to get cut off from Christianity as a community experience, especially right now when lots of us can’t be physically present with a congregation. I’m not sure who said it originally, but I like the quote “you can’t be a Christian by yourself.” This kind of conflicts with the Christianity of my youth, where the focus was very much on one’s personal relationship with Jesus. While I still think it is important to have a personal connection to the divine, I think this connection is really fed by being in community with others. And these kinds of prayers can help bring us together with community even when we have to be apart.

    • Anonymous

      Deleted User
      October 15, 2020 at 7:05 pm

      I will admit I grew up in a “middle church” tradition (that’s how I refer to it) some high church some low church…my dad had a book of common prayer and I didn’t think about what it was. When he left our denomination after coming out as an openly gay man-part of why I’m fighting for full inclusion in our denomination because my dad was a gift minister and it breaks my heart he didn’t feel comfortable being himself in the faith tradition he was raised in. Now he is Episcopalian and prays the Daily Office and was telling me how simple it is and how much a part of his ritual it is. As a kid I always thought of the BCP as “the little black book my dad caries around to have for pastor stuff” so it’s been fun this week to talk to him about the different ways it has played a role in various stages of his life.

  • Anonymous

    Deleted User
    October 15, 2020 at 12:59 am

    The Collects of the BCP and the Daily Office were a totally new experience to me, other than visiting a few friend’s Anglican and Episcopal churches before, I do not have a lot of experience in the COE. I think in my earlier evangelical mega-churchy days, the idea of reading a pre-written prayer was very foreign to me, but as I moved into the Reformed/Presbyterian tradition, I was introduced to books like the Valley of Vision which showed me how empowering it could be to use prewritten prayers, that they can often help us find words to express things in our hearts that we do not have words for. Prewritten prayers often help me to pray or consider things that I would not/do not consider out of my own experience that are things I could/should and can add into my prayer life. I think that one thing I appreciated in Calvin’s reflections on the Lord’s prayer is his emphasis on the collective nature of the prayer, always returning to the “our” of the Father- invoking the familial nature and connection to Christian brethren, and the “our” of bread— how we cannot neglect the hungry among us, that our need of bread is not an individual one, perhaps we have the bread we need but there are those brethren who are unsure of where their bread is coming?

    Recently my friend asked me to weigh in on Donald Trump contracting COVID (can we pray that he would die?) and I replied that I would simply pray the Lord’s prayer, the the Lord’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven, and to trust that whether Trump lives or dies, it will all be to the glory of God. I was encouraged then, when reading Calvin’s reflection on the Lord’s Prayer because I felt it aligned nicely with my response.

    I think that structure is helpful for me, but I also feel the need to act freely within the flexibility of having a structure. In the last few years, I have often found myself turning to the Lord’s Prayer in times of great distress, it helped me calm down during times I was overwhelmed with panic attacks or anxiety (like a kind of stimming), having the rhythmic and familiar words that never seem to fail to express the needs and fears of my heart has offered a comfort in distressing times.

    • Anonymous

      Deleted User
      October 15, 2020 at 11:43 am

      The question of how to pray for someone like Trump is a big one. It reminds me of a joke from Fiddler on the Roof. Someone asks the rabbi if there is a proper blessing for the tsar. He says yes, there is a blessing for everything. “May God bless and keep the tsar far away from us.” 🙂

      But seriously, I think the idea of praying God’s will, as modeled in the Lord’s Prayer, is a good solution and at times a massive challenge. It’s hard to disentangle God’s will from my own will at times. I think I’m on the right track, trying to following the ethics of Jesus, but of course my human ego gets in the way a lot of the time. Praying for God’s will is an act of humility and faith that I think serves us as much as others.

  • Anonymous

    Deleted User
    October 15, 2020 at 11:37 am

    My experience of praying the daily office was challenging. In the evangelical world where I grew up, there was very much an idea that written prayers were not “authentic.” Even the Lord’s prayer was referred to as “the model prayer,” and we were told that it was not meant to be prayed verbatim, but rather serves as a model of how we should address God. Like others have commented, I find it a little more natural to pray written prayers in a community context – my divinity school was very ecumenical, so I was exposed there to many different forms of corporate prayer. Nevertheless, I think I will continue to refer to the Book of Common Prayer in my private devotions, since sometimes I do not have the words to pray, and it is always helpful to borrow from the wisdom of others.

  • Anonymous

    Deleted User
    October 16, 2020 at 6:50 am

    I appreciated very much this connection/introduction to the Collects. I’m familiar with the Daily Office, but have never incorporated it into my own practice. I really like the rhythm of morning and evening prayer, being a creature of ritual in many small ways throughout my day. It’s funny – I lean into a lot of written liturgy in my role curating Sunday worship, and I find so much that is rich. But I also find much that feels stale, with language I can’t relate to. Generally, this was my response to the BCP Collects – I just couldn’t center myself in the words or find an authentic way to embody them as my own.

    • Anonymous

      Deleted User
      October 16, 2020 at 6:26 pm

      I can definitely relate to this Rachel. There are just some liturgical recitations that are very good and others that seem to do more harm than good. The trouble is, what connects in my mind and experience could be different than yours. I try to take remove myself from the text and ask how people in other shoes might experience it.

  • Anonymous

    Deleted User
    October 21, 2020 at 12:20 pm

    Thank you all for the honesty and transparency of your reflections, and your willingness to engage with this practice! What I am most encouraged about in these responses is that everyone (it seems to me) is attuned to the goal of spiritual practices, of tending the inward journey and seeking ongoing transformation. The daily steps—whatever shape they may take—matter because the journey matters.

    I’ll leave you with this thought from Bishop Mary Edgar Budde’s new book, Receiving Jesus: the Way of Love. She writes, “the world is full of enough distorted, unappealing, and unloving expressions of Christianity to convince anyone that the entire Christian message is a sham. But for those of us who have known an experience of encounter with Jesus and have taken steps toward him in response, the assurance of God‘s love can become, if we allow it, the defining narrative of our lives.”

    • Anonymous

      Deleted User
      October 21, 2020 at 2:43 pm

      Thanks so much for your input on this topic, Scot and thanks also for the great quote!

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