Two weeks ago, I introduced a Daily Office to the church office. Three times a day at 9:15am, 12:15pm and 5:00pm, whoever is on site is invited to join us for prayer. It’s an opportunity to stop, reflect, consider, pause and pray.
This Daily Office of morning, midday and evening prayer is compiled from various liturgical sources with the intention that a regular cycle of daily prayer will create a rhythm of life around which all our other activities can take place. Sometimes we light a candle or make the sign of the cross as we commit these three 10-15-minute sessions to God and still ourselves in His presence.
It’s a rich new discovery for me to use the same readings and prayers with such regular occurrence but the depth of meaning in the words is profoundly uplifting.
Our Morning Canticle from the Northumbria Community contains the beautiful lines:
‘Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me’
I love taking my time with these lines, being drawn into them imagining who I might be meeting and how I then should act and speak as the day unfolds. It’s been a wonderful mantra to play through my head before my meetings and visits take place.
At 12:15pm we draw together again for ten minutes to pray for the morning past and the afternoon to come. This prayer taken from the Order of Baptist Ministry sets the atmosphere and tone for all the afternoon activities.
‘Living God, enable us this day
to be pilgrims and companions:
committed to the way of Christ,
faithful to the call of Christ,
discerning the mind of Christ,
offering the welcome of Christ,
growing in the likeness of Christ,
engaging in the mission of Christ,
in the world that belongs to Christ’.
Then at the end of the day as the church office closes, we meet for a short time of evening prayer before the church evening programme commences with a wonderful poem of faithful affirmation:
‘Lord, you have always marked the road for the coming day;
and though it may be hidden,
today I believe’.
This may not be for everyone, but as someone who usually likes to be quite busy, I have found it very helpful to stop and centre myself in prayer three times a day. As someone who usually favours contemporary ex tempore prayer, I am loving reciting rich written liturgy and discovering new depths to prayer and contemplation as I step away from my familiar models.
If you are on site at these times, please do come and join us. If you’re not on site but like the idea of stopping to pray at the same time, I’ll make the prayers and liturgies available on our website.
Let me encourage you to at least give it a try.
Let me finish this week with the beautiful Celtic blessing of the Northumbria Community:
‘May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you.
May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm.
May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you.
May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors’.