I am in the process of finishing a Daily Office book that I have been working on since last Fall. It is going to the printer within 2 weeks and I recently made a change in one of the Offices (there are two per day, five days a week for eight weeks and are based on the themes from the workbook/book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality).
One final change I made was to replace a devotional from one of the Offices to the one from Leighton’s Ford excellent new book that was recently published: The Attentive Life: Discerning God’s Presence in All Things (IVP, 2008). The book is filled with insights and learnings from his 76 years as a follower of Christ. I highly recommend it. He has been a personal mentor of mine for over 25 years. Geri, in fact, is with him now in North Carolina for 4 days on a spiritual mentoring retreat.
Read it below. In fact take a few moments in your day and actually do the sample morning/midday prayer below.
Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)
Scripture Reading — Matthew 16:21-23
From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and the he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, LORD!” he said. “This shall never happen to you.”
Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”
Devotional (See changes from here…)
The apostle Peter had a flaming heart for Jesus but was proud, immature and inconsistent. His impulsiveness and stubbornness are evident throughout the gospels. Yet Jesus patiently leads Peter beyond his layers of self-protection so that, finally, he can hear what God is saying to him.
When I am still, compulsion (the busyness that Hilary of Tours called “a blasphemous anxiety to do God’s work for him), gives way to compunction (being pricked or punctured. That is, God can break through the many layer with which I protect myself, so that I can hear his Word and be poised to listen…
I can mistake the flow of my adrenaline for the moving of the Holy Spirit; I can live in the illusion that I am ultimately in control of my destiny and my daily affairs.
French philosopher and mathematician, Blaise Pascal, observed that most of our human problems come because we don’t know how to sit still in our room for an hour.
Leighton Ford,The Attentive Life: Discerning God’s Presence in All Things (Downers Grove, IL, 2008) 138-139, 173
What might be one way your “busyness” blocks you from listening and communing intimately with the living God?
LORD, forgive me for running my life without you today. I offer my anxieties to you now – as best I can. Help me to be still, to surrender to your will, and to rest in your loving arms. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, amen.
Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)