Spiritual Discipline: July 2008 (always subject to change!)

Oh yeah. The post title says it all, doesn’t it! <smile>

I have these great intentions of reading the newspaper, and forming my intercessory prayer around what I find there and read. Plenty of prayer fodder there, eh? And actually do a good civic duty by being a better-informed citizen. Kill two birds with one stone, right?

I never do though. I lose track of time, or I just want to do something else. And (pitiful confession time) I’m not much of an intercessory pray-er. I see the natural laws of the universe at work, and they win, again and again. I see people moved by some “force” this force I identify as God, and I see “miracles” happening through them. I pray to come closer and respond to this force. I hope that it is enough. I hope that someday my belief will improve, and that my faith will strengthen, or at least stay constant. (see previous post and rlp’s mention of faith.)

I LOVE doing Centering Prayer. I slack off on it regularly. But this is realistic in my short term as a goal to set and become more faithful in the practice. I really will try.

(interested in centering prayer? google on the term, check out books by Thomas Merton, Thomas Keating – also Thelma Hall and Martin Smith. They may not use the term centering prayer, but their influence on the practice of my own spirituality has entered the seams of my subconscious.)

I have tried, with varied success to read the Daily Office, as it is laid out in the Book of Common Prayer. I have even gotten it loaded on my PDA, so I don’t have to hunt for Bible passages, and flip pages incessantly. I have also toyed with abbreviating it in a custom manner for my personal style.

And I do it sometimes. I don’t currently include it as part of my “regular” discipline, and yet, it would seem that some daily read devotion to complement a praying style such as Centering Prayer would be grounding, and beneficial.

Enter Day by Day devotionals. http://www.forwardmovement.org/fdbd_options.cfm They’ve been in my church narthex forever, but I picked up a copy last week. This might just be my thing! Most online or written devotionals have not interested me. I find myself having thoughts and further prayer provoked by this. And it’s short enough to fit pretty easily into my daily life, with the ease of extending it with further bible readings, if I have time or desire. I’ve even thought of posting pondering responses to some of the devo’s. We’ll see I guess.

Good stuff, at least for me. But that’s just it, I think. Prayer, and the accompanying relationship with God it nurtures, is primarily about finding what’s right for you – that is, with the caveat that you’re grounded in some kind of anchor to tradition or wisdom that’s not merely your own fond creation. Or to quote one of Merton’s students (whose name escapes me at the moment), you can get a little “weird.” I mean, shoot, I think the writing of some of these blog posts “counts” as prayer. (?) I mean, with your earthly friends, you find activities that are mutually beneficial, right? If you’re a big country music fan, your best friend doesn’t pressure you to attend the opera with her. You give and take, you find a variety of friends who share your interests. Of course, the great thing about God is that he created all the variety of interests in the first place, and when there is purity of heart, he blesses all forms of genuine prayer, methinks, whether you’re a gregorian chanter, or a praise band person; whether you’re a meticulous prayer list intercessor or a contemplative centering pray-er. Having said that, I do know I need (again, FOR ME!) to take a little more intentional time of listening and receptivity to the gentle nudges of God, and wrench my eager-beaver typing fingers away from this ol’ keyboard.

Off to that, right now in fact! Peace. – Karla

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One Response to Spiritual Discipline: July 2008 (always subject to change!)

  1. Brad says:

    You are right on Karla with the Day by Day. The morning resolve on the front cover is a very powerful prayer. I have set the Day by day daily devotional as the home page for my web browser so that every morning when I fire up explorer my devotional pops up first thing. In site, in mind.

    p.s. nice blog, don’t even ask me how I ran into it. See you at CDI.

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