Prayer by the Hours

prayerLent 2016 is almost upon us. Every time I’ve considered what my Lenten practice should be, the Divine Office has leaped up and raised its hand. And waved enthusiastically.

That’s probably because I’ve been studying Benedictine living. Benedict created a moderate schedule of work, rest, prayer, eating, drinking, and study for his monks – a HUMAN paced life, centered around the Divine Office.

It’s very appealing. A daily schedule of prayer breaks up the day; it could prevent me from slipping into the obsessive, hyperfocused, body/mind/soul-damaging ten-hours-without-a-break work mindset to which I’m prone.

But really – how practical is it with my life? Not at ALL. I’m busy. Really busy. I’ll forget. I’m lucky if I remember to pray once, much less multiple times, each day.

Sigh. That’s EXACTLY why I need this discipline. Lent isn’t about choosing the easy thing. It’s about choosing the needful thing.

And I need balance in my life. I need awareness of the Divine in my life during the day. Every day.

So I’ve created 2-5 minute contemplations, loosely based on traditional Divine Office services, along with a one-page conversation to explain what Prayer by the Hours is all about.

Would you like to join me? I don’t expect everyone will pray five times a day (or seven or three or…) There are no expectations. No success or failure. Just an opportunity to walk (stumble) together through Lent.

For 40 days we will:

* pace our daily lives ala Benedict
* increase/improve our prayer life
* explore who we are as expressions of the Divine

I’ll provide daily contemplations from scripture, Rumi and other Sufi mystics, etc, and together, we can see how it feels to Pray by the Hours.

Click here to join the group. Feel free to invite friends. Blessings!

Forty Days a Pilgrim

07-08-WalkingtheLabyrinthWouldn’t it be wonderful to embark on a Lenten pilgrimage? Here’s my plan:

In the Middle Ages, pilgrimages were popular. A group of people who may or may not have known each other ahead of time gathered, traveled together, stopped at shrines/altars to offer prayers of beseeching or thanksgiving. They were led by a monk/friar/priest, who read to them and encouraged spiritual conversation. Their travel was (ideally) a deliberate, spiritual one.

I’m creating a virtual pilgrimage during the forty days of Lent. We start at a newly created Facebook group: Forty Days a Pilgrim. The travelers are assembling as we speak.

Once gathered, we’ll start our journey on Ash Wednesday. This will be accomplished via labyrinth walks. Find one near you, or make a finger labyrinth, or…? I’ll provide detailed labyrinth instruction, in case some are new to the practice. Twice a week, I’ll send a labyrinthian meditation (I have books with great ideas – I’m not that clever all by myself.) 🙂 You’re free to use them or not, as the Spirit moves you.

Our spiritual leader will be Barbara Brown Taylor. Her book, An Altar in the World, will make a wonderful focal point for our travels. It’s available via Amazon or other bookstore (I have a Kindle download in addition to a hard cover) and it’s readily available in libraries.

We can read a chapter a week (not too arduous) or more if the group decides. We can take turns choosing a chapter. As we read, we can talk together on our Facebook page.

We’ll share prayers. We’ll share ‘travel.’ We’ll share our lives. I would love if we could even – via Skype or FB or something – share a meal or two! People are already ‘assembling’ from around the world.

Everyone can choose how much or how little they wish to participate. There is no pressure, no expectations. No one will be keeping score. We’ll just be journeying together and loving one another.

I hope that by honoring the way of the pilgrim, we’ll leave Lent as changed people – at least in little ways. (I can hope for total life transformation, right?)

So, what do you think? Are you ‘in’?