Posted by: jadanzzy | April 12, 2008

::just to make it today::

One of the biggest struggles in my life has been doing quiet times. I am in large company; admit it. I would have “off-seasons” and “on-seasons” where during the off-season I would feel guilty and in the on-season I’d be waiting for someone to ask me how I was doing with God so I quickly respond with, “oh man, I’ve been praying and reading scripture everyday! How wonderful!” Pride is ugly.

About 6 months ago, our own nieophyte recommended the lectio divina to me, an ancient Christian practice of biblical contemplation, meditation and prayer. Being of Korean descent, I was informally taught to pray with intense passion, which usually translated to LOUD NOISES!! So this new form of the discipline of prayer and scripture reading was very revolutionary for me. So much so that it’s influenced a lot of the meditative nature of my worship song writing and the practices of my faith community that I engage in currently.

I loved it so much. Basking in God’s presence while remaining silent: I shut up. God speaks. I let scripture speak to me rather than scrounging for a way for it to apply to me. I fought through the boredom of silence understanding that God was meeting me. I even felt connected to the ancients as this was how they met God in their solitude. But that dwindled. I couldn’t maintain it for so long. It required… discipline. That dreaded word.

And so came another period of my life where I was not actively engaging with God on a very regular basis.

Tonight, while eating ribs at a rib shack on Edgewood Ave in Atlanta, I felt so lonely all of a sudden. I felt so far from God. I realized how much I miss intimate, regular connection with God. And so I decided to do something about it. I would purchase The Divine Hours by Phyllis Tickle.

I heard so many wonderful things about Ms. Tickle’s book and how it inspires intimacy with God through praying at certain hours of the day. Using scripture, ancient prayer texts, and poetry, Ms. Tickle set out to help reignite the ritualistic prayer methods of ancient Christianity for our time and for our spiritual benefit. Coincidentally, I’ve been really inspired by Muslims and their practice of Salah, praying five times a day. It was a discipline I wanted to incorporate in my life and I took the initiative and purchased two of her books.

Tonight I came to a conclusion. Prayerful intimacy with God is crucial. It’s not about how many times a day you do it, how you do it, or when you do it. There was a period of intellectual rebellion where I painted quiet times as almost silly. I take it back. I’m sorry. I feel starved and I want God again. It doesn’t matter where I end up philosophically, theologically, ecclesiologically, or blah blah blah. I need God like food.

And I don’t feel sad for purchasing a book to help me be close to God. Whatever works, as long as I can feel the breath of God coursing through me. I’ll let you know how this goes. And if it doesn’t hold out long enough, maybe I’ll try Doug Pagitt’s BodyPrayer next. The fight is just as important, isn’t it?

I hope you have a way of finding God, whether it’s reading through the bible with pen to journal, praying while walking the dog, sitting silent for several minutes a day, praying your Hail Mary’s, using prayer knots, Salah, lectio, etc.

And please share with us know how you meet God in the secret, quiet places of your lives.

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Responses

  1. http://www.monachos.net/library/Prayer_as_the_Act_from_which_All_Good_Comes

    “Our prayer is good and holy by virtue of its being prayer, but there are depths we have not sounded and heights to which we have not yet climbed. These are to be found in a profound inward prayer to which we are all summoned by Christ Himself.

    It is this deeper, inner prayer to which we must turn if we are to understand how prayer is genuinely the source of our communion with the blessings of God.”

  2. last night at church, i remember while i was praising how alone i felt in a huge room of people..but that didn’t bother me..what bothered me was how far away i felt from Him and how i was most aware of this loneliness at church of all places.

  3. The thing I like about The Divine Hours is that you are praying individually AND corporately at the same time. There is awesome connectivity knowing that perhaps thousands of others are praying the same ancient, timeless words at close to the same time. We are at once alone with God and together with God. We are at once with God in the present and in the past.

    The other book I have found to be invaluable in my trying to BE with God, is Brother Lawrence’s “Practicing the Presence of God” (the Tony Jones version).


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