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Structured Prayer

As I've been doing a better job of keeping up with my daily devotional Bible reading and studying, I'm finding that my spiritual life is growing, deepening. That's not really a surprise.

What is a little bit of a surprise is that I'm also finding that I'm very interested in incorporating some structured prayer/worship into my daily routine. It first stated a few months ago when I picked up a 50s-era copy of the Methodist Book of Worship from an antique store. I have really enjoyed reading through it. The past couple of weeks, as this year's Disciple study has kicked up, that desire for more daily structure has deepened. A few weeks ago, I spent a lot of time looking at Anglican Rosaries and picked out a favorite. I don't remember where I got the idea to look for rosaries. Someone must have mentioned it recently, or I must have heard about it on a podcast or something. Regardless, I think that I would enjoy using a tool like a rosary to help introduce and encourage a regular structured prayer time.

Today, while listening to a recent (the latest?) Internet Monk podcast, I heard Michael mention Benedictine Daily Prayer: A Short Breviary, which sounded very, very interesting to me. Using the "look inside" feature on amazon.com confirmed my interest.

I've got to return a book to the library soon. I think I'll look and see if they have any similar resources that I can thumb through and/or borrow. A quick scan of their online catalog indicates that they have several books that I will probably find interesting.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 24th, 2008 10:39 am (UTC)
There are lots of different approaches to prayer, and structured prayer can be a help to get one into the habit of prayer. (Of course I would say that, being Catholic and all.) I downloaded some (Catholic) rosary podcasts, which I found helpful when I used to commute.

Also, sometimes a full size bead rosary is too much, and a chaplet (round of only 10 beads) or a plastic card rosary helps - the whole purpose of a rosary is to help you keep track of where you are in your structured prayer. I used to also just bend my fingers to keep track of the decade. It's nice to have something that's beautiful, but there's a practical aspect here as well.
Sep. 24th, 2008 11:10 am (UTC)
Yeah, I also found a chaplet that I liked. The card is an interesting approach, too.
Sep. 24th, 2008 01:34 pm (UTC)
FWIW, most Christian prayer throughout history has been liturgical "structured," especially in its corporate aspect. The free-form stuff which is common among many Christians these days is historically only ancillary to the more traditional forms (and informed and shaped by them). In Christian history, part of the idea of using prayers written by saints (aside from their value in terms of being from people who really do know God) is that they change those who pray them, whereas if prayers are always dictated by one's ego, they tend to reinforce the sinful passions rather than helping to eradicate them. (Fascinatingly, though, when it comes to something really important, the most free-form Christians tend to want something liturgical and ritualized, e.g., weddings, graduations, inaugurations, etc. One wonders why this doesn't carry into the regular worship of the Holy Trinity.)

Even today, liturgical prayer is the norm for most Christians (1b Roman Catholics, 300m Orthodox, 70m Anglicans, etc.), whether corporately or privately. Even beyond the world of Christians, most forms of religion are liturgical in some way. Methinks it says something about the basic nature of mankind.
Sep. 24th, 2008 03:22 pm (UTC)
Right, I'm somewhat familiar with that. And I do very much enjoy the liturgical aspects of worship. I just don't do a good job of incorporating that into my personal worship/prayer life, and really only do it when participating in corporate worship.

And that's what I want to work to change.
Sep. 24th, 2008 03:44 pm (UTC)
Lately, I've been using the Orthodox Study Bible as my train devotional. The morning and evening prayers in the back are short but powerful. There's a built-in lectionary too, which helps my morning devotionals. The only thing I felt was deficient were the Psalm selections. To alleviate that, I took my good ol' 1928 BoCP, and marked up the Psalter with the traditional Anglican daily selection of Psalms which allows the entire Psalter to be prayed in a month. I know, IS NOT ORTHODOX!! but neither am I.

I do love the Anglican Office. IMHO, it accomplishes everything a Christian ought to do in his daily devotion—confess sin, sing, study, intercede for others, petition for self. Lately, however, I find that it's too "familiar," if that makes any sense. I've been praying the same office for about nine years now, and I think I needed a kick in a different direction spiritually. The simple Orthodox morning and evening prayers help.

And the best part: I got the Orthodox Study Bible (NT/Psalms) for 10 bux at the Strand downtown. Sw-eet!

Sep. 24th, 2008 04:10 pm (UTC)
Sw-eet! Thanks for the recommendations.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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