Daily Prayer

For the last four months I've started using Daily Prayer from the Church of England as a way to start out my mornings.  You might ask, "What is someone who grew up in an Evangelical church doing using Liturgical prayer?"  This is a question I've asked myself at times, but the beauty and enjoyment it has brought to my faith has practically erased the question. I will share with you the pieces from my journey that have led into Liturgical Prayer.

A couple years ago, I read Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas.  The book was profound for me on so many levels.  The one thing that Dietrich Bonhoeffer had integrated into his life was Daily Prayer, three times a day: morning, noon and night.  He also said that he daily prayed the Psalms.  After reading his book, I started praying through the Psalms and it really did open new doors in my faith.

Then last year, I read Our Favorite Sins by Todd Hunter and he would end each chapter with a prayer from Daily Prayers.  The prayers started to intrigue me and it got me interested in exploring Daily Prayer.  I would return to his book periodically and grab one of the prayers he wrote to use it as a springboard for prayer.  Then one night I typed "Daily Prayer" into Google and I came across Daily Prayer from the Church of England and I've been doing it ever since.

Finally, I read Monk Habits for Everyday People by Dennis Okholm and it solidified the purpose and the reasoning's behind the rhythm of Daily Prayers.  As he discussed his faith journey, he infused the beauty of how participating in Daily Prayer affected his spiritual walk.

So why do I love Daily Prayer?

1. The connection to the larger body of Christ: It amazes me that people all over the world are reading the exact same prayers and Scriptures on the same day, during the same time slots.  I find it encouraging to be reminded that there are other Christians out there being encouraged and strengthened by the exact same Scriptures as I am.  It helps me to tangibly feel a part of the body of Christ.

2. It connects me to the history of the Church: The Church of England celebrates the saints and the history that their individual lives have given to the Church.  I have learned so much about Church History since I've started doing Daily Prayer.  At the beginning of each day, they list the saint or the holiday being celebrated.  If and when I have time, I look up the saints on Wikipedia (I almost always find the time when it is a woman).  I have been utterly amazed at the women of the church and the movements that they have started, which have literally changed their cultures.  Starting my day with the thoughts and inspirations that these saints bring once again, reminds me that today really does matter.  It may seem like I am making, small insignificant choices but the Lord truly does move through our everydayness and it does impact history in tangible ways.

3. Praying through the Psalms:  Daily prayer always includes Psalms.  The thing that stood out to me from what Dietrich Bonhoeffer said about praying the Psalms was that Jesus himself used the Psalms as prayers.  That thought reminds me of the humanity that Jesus carried along with His divinity that He used His physical mouth and His physical mind to celebrate and praise God.  To have the privilege and opportunity to do the same, daily is a huge blessing.  Also, using Scripture as a platform for prayer instead of just filling my mind with information has helped me to interact with Scripture differently.

4. The connection of Scripture:  The majority of Daily Prayer, is straight Scripture.  In the morning, there is always a Psalm, an Old Testament Passage and a New Testament passage.  As I read through all three of these at the same time, I continue to be amazed at the continuity of Scripture and the themes that seem to jump out at me even more clearly through Daily Prayer. 

5. The repetition:  There are a few Scriptures that are a) either repeated daily or b) repeated on a weekly basis.  These Scriptures contain the foundational truths of God's daily love for us and His plan of salvation.  Having them before me daily helps keep me oriented to the truth of God.  John Eldredge discussed in one of his books - our amnesia of God.  How easy it can be to lose sight of the reality of God when we get bogged down in life.  For me, Daily Prayer, has kept God and his purposes at the forefront of my mind.

6. Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and shall be for ever. Amen.  
Throughout Daily Prayer, these words are repeated several times.  I am still reading through Practice Resurrection by Eugene Peterson and now he is covering the Trinity.  Being confronted with these words multiple times on a daily basis keeps me keenly aware of the Trinity and how I can allow the Trinity to shape my life this day.
7. It gives order, purpose and direction to my prayer: After reading and praying through all the Scriptures there comes a point towards the end which states, "Pause and pray for : the day and its tasks,  the world and its needs, the Church and her life."  The reason I love this is because by this point in time, my troubles, worries and fears have been greatly minimized from when I first entered my time of prayer.  The glory of God and what He is up to has reshaped my mind and helped bring perspective to my day.  It also helps me to take time to look outwards to the people in my life that might need prayer, and to have concern for the greater issues that may be affecting our world, at this moment.

So these are the things that I love about Daily Prayer.  Growing up, I always thought liturgical prayer was so boring, so restrictive and so unnecessary but I had never delved into it because I allowed my preconceived biases to block my path.  However, now that I've experienced it, I've discovered that rather than constricting my faith it has helped to direct it, strengthen it and encourage it. 

Daily Prayer does have a morning, noon and night prayer - all different Scriptures, directions and focuses.  I have yet to fully venture into doing all three prayers on a daily basis, but I love that it is there and I love that when I need a middle of the day refocus, or a night-ending wrap up, Daily Prayer provides that for me.

In Christ,

All thoughts in this post are from me and have come from my personal interaction with Daily Prayer from the Church of England.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this Jaime. I come from an evangelical background and now a minister in the Church of England. One of my trainers at college was one of the compilers of Daily Prayer and he always said 'it's praying the Scriptures'. I'm so glad that it so clear also to those outside the usual bubble like yourself who have identified that and appreciated it. 

    I know many who will be joining with you in prayer, but just to add that when you pray Daily Prayer, you pray it also with me too. Best wishes, David.


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