Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday #4

I'm certain that I am not the only Christian mom who struggles to find time alone with the Lord. It's hard, especially with little early-risers! I am not a morning person, so my brain is pretty sluggish until I get that first cup of coffee, and after that--I have to confess--my prayers start sounding pretty much like a review of the day's agenda. You know, "Please help THIS go well today, and help the kids do better with THAT today; give me strength to do all THIS and Your help in solving THAT."

Not that it's wrong to bring every concern to the Lord--and I do! But I have found this webpage--ExploreFaith's The Divine Hours--to be a godsend in quickly getting my morning mind and half-awake heart focused on the important things. I don't know enough about the rest of the site to recommend it or not, but this page--based on the Anglican Book of Common Prayer--is mostly Scripture, selected and arranged as prayers.

It's short, so it's the perfect length for us moms with not a lot of time before the kids interrupt. But it's just enough to meditate on, and the selections always point you straight to worship. And the page updates every few hours, so you can read a few more different verses and prayers at mid-day, and you can end your day with vespers--appropriate selections and prayers for concluding the day.

Besides the Scriptures, I love the short prayers called "collects," which express so beautifully what I want to pray and NEED to pray--what rich little theological nuggets they contain!

Many of these collects are ancient prayers which were collected and translated by the author of the Book of Common Prayer, Thomas Cranmer, into the poetic English of Elizabethan times. They have been slightly modernized on this site, but still retain that beauty of language as well as the rich theology of the earliest church writers.

Consider these examples:

Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought me in safety to this new day: Preserve me with your mighty power, that I may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all I do direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.†

Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know my necessities before I ask and my ignorance in asking: Have compassion on my weakness, and mercifully give me those things which for my unworthiness I dare not, and for my blindness I cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ my Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.†

Almighty and eternal God, so draw my heart to you, so guide my mind, so fill my imagination, so control my will, that I may be wholly yours, utterly dedicated unto you; and then use me, I pray, as you will, and always to your glory and the welfare of your people; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.†

O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon me your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, I may so pass through things temporal, that I lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen†. (emphasis mine)

Aren't those better than praying the to-do list??

Here's another tip: Make this site your home page, and every time you sit down to the computer, take the first few minutes to read the Scriptures and pray. It's the virtual equivalent of the church or monastery bells calling everyone to prayer at fixed hours of the day. (Just like in the Brother Cadfael or Dame Frevisse mystery novels! Which I also recommend....)

The online prayer book: I never misplace it, never lose my page in it, never wonder what to do for my quiet time...It really works for me!

Visit Rocks in my Dryer for more Works for Me tips.


Totallyscrappy said...

A great suggestion.
You reminded me that I could also use our hymnal to start my day off with prayer. In the front of our hymnal are lots of scripture and collects.

elaine said...

I love this suggestion. I'm going to explore ways to integrate this into my computer time. Thank you for pointing it out!

Joyful Days said...

Lovely. I have a prayer book given to me when I was a child. They're aren't children's prayers--but just common prayers. I've used that and been so blessed.

Thank you for this.

My WFMW was about prayer too.


cmm said...

I love this idea! Thanks for sharing it with us!

penguinsandladybugs said...

Would you like to know how God used you today....a simple little detail, but God is in the details, isn't He? I am currently out of home, I have my Bible set up in a special place with all my "supplies" for my morning quiet time. I didn't want to mess my stuff up and pack it all away for a one night out of town trip. I just decided that I would use my computer and have quiet time on it believing that He would lead me to a Bible website or something. I am reading over some of the WFMW's and your tip with this website came just in time! How absolutely cool is that? Thank you for sharing!

tonia said...

oohhh...another mystery writer! yippee! I'd never heard of Dame Frevisse!

At A Hen's Pace said...

Thank you everyone for the comments.

I'm delighted to hear how God has used this post, Penguins and Ladybugs!

Tonia--I was hoping someone would benefit from that little aside. I think of Dame Frevisse as a female Brother Cadfael--you'll love her!