It’s a confession. Self-absorbed says it all. Not so much that it’s all about me, just spending way too much time and energy on how “me” is doing. How do I look? How’s my weight? Should I cut my hair? Should I meet a man? How will I support myself? Worries and questions are like a drumbeat within.
Posts Tagged ‘Brother Lawrence’
Rejoice always. Pray continually. Give thanks in every situation because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Don’t suppress the Spirit. Don’t brush off Spirit-inspired messages, but examine everything carefully and hang on to what is good. [I Thessalonians 5:16-21, CEB]
I mean it! Outside of Brother Lawrence, a 17th century Carmelite “lay brother” (not even a monk because he did not have the necessary education), who does that? It was Brother’s Lawrence’s words, maxims, and prayers that were compiled after his death into the Christian classic, The Practice of the Presence of God. And what does Brother Lawrence “do” most of any day? He was the cook and bottle washer in the monastery, and all the while, he practiced awareness of God and ultimately, prayer. He prayed continually. Yay Larry.
But what about you and me? I can barely manage to remember to pray the hours, that’s one prayer every 4 hours during the day.
So, just to get a little break from this guilt-producing mandate, I googled it. And there might be a reprieve of sorts. One writer suggested that this passage could have more to do with consistency than non-stop talking (although, I have been known to do the latter under certain circumstances). Another writer advanced that the passage could mean a “ready response” to circumstances, so that the first comeback is a prayer instead of a smart remark. And yet another writer proposed that the verse could refer to an awareness of the beauty around us, thereby giving thanks or when tragedy strikes, ask for mercy, etc. Or, perhaps all of these together make for continually?
Or, perhaps, it’s the goal. Is this verse any more difficult (or easier) than this one, “ Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” [Matthew 5:48, NIV]
And for this reason, I pray this prayer willingly. Join me. Daily.
Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in your will,
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your Name. Amen.
Posted in Random Thoughts, tagged Brother Lawrence, engaged with God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, meditation, practice the presence, prayer, Psalms, sitting with God, stand firm, walking, Watchman Nee on September 23, 2012| Leave a Comment »
Here’s a few questions I find myself pondering: where do I walk? Where do I stand? and Where do I sit? I mean, in my every day life, am I putting myself in harm’s way, despite being unengaged? Am I assuming that my lack of a direct encounter with the “enemy” means I am unaffected by the surround? Does passivity promise protections (forgive the alliteration)? Apparently not.
Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night. [NIV]
Funny, I had forgotten about the old Watchman Nee (1957) book called Sit, Walk, Stand, which has a slightly different take on these same words with different order and as a result, a different emphasis: sitting as rest in God (finding strength there), to walk in trust and perseverance, and then to stand in faith to end. All valid points.
But I am taking the psalmists interpretation of these words to heart. This first verse is really a series of 3 “do not’s” and the more active “do” is quite simple: meditate on the Word. That’s prayer, that’s consciousness, that’s intentional.
Our pastor tries to give us “action” steps each week and this is mine for myself:
- Watch where I am walking; look around; examine the stimuli around me; where am I headed and why; use the time well.
- Stand on solid surfaces on purpose; be centered and grounded; be aware of the temperature and the environment; use the time well.
- Sit alertly; notice what I am watching (as in television) or listening to (as in radio); where do my eyes wander and am I judging the others “walking” by? Use the time well.
For example, yesterday, I ran several errands throughout the day and while waiting for my daughter to finish her hair and doctor’s appointments, I wasted the time with Sudoku and Words with Friends. Or, in the evening, I watched a show on television I had already seen, but was too lazy to either change the channel or go to bed. My reasoning? I don’t watch TV that much, so I can afford to just “veg.” I’m not saying I can’t do those things, but in most of those cases, I just did them by default. I didn’t choose, I just allowed. Wasting time is OK as long as it’s intentional. But if it’s not, then really, the time is being stolen from me.
And lastly, I considered this idea of “meditating.” I’ve struggled with this idea before. After all, who hasn’t read Brother Lawrence’s Practice the Presence of God? (If you missed it, go to the library.) I was always a little numb after reading it. That’s impossible. I can’t do it. I can’t pray without ceasing. My life is too full.
And so, with all the “I cannnot’s” rolling around in my head, I can excuse any effort whatsoever.
But a couple of years ago, I challenged myself with praying the Hours and although it was difficult, I had some success. And looking back? It made a difference. And now, I’m thinking, maybe just a single verse in a single day, a popular verse, so that I’m not overwhelmed with memorization or some such, just a thrum, a slight little thing to repeat when I am quiet, before I click on the app.
You won’t believe it, but there’s actually a website called, Top Verses: The Bible, Sorted. Perfect. The top, most referenced verse on the web is no surprise, John 3:16; so that’s my verse for today. And when they sort the Psalms, verse 1:1 is near the top, the same verse that challenged me today as I start my next drive through the Word, through Psalms. I’m digging for God again.