As a Lay Reader I am required from time to time to do the daily office or Matins [Morning Prayer] at church. However, when I’m on my own I sometimes like to use the “Pilgrim’s Guide”. This little booklet was given to me over a decade ago when I made my Cursillo. The daily office as presented is modified but sufficient to provide a disciplined form of prayer. It allows for moments of silence, personal prayer, intercession and scripture reading. It begins with an act of worship the “Approach to Christ” and I made it my personal prayer as follows:
“To think of you, O Christ, is to rest;
To know you is eternal life;
To see you is the end of all I desire;
And to serve you is perfect freedom and
everlasting joy; Therefore I come to you.”
The original version is for communal prayer so I changed the “we” to “I” in order to make if more personal to me. Following the “approach to Christ”, there is the “Prayer of the Holy Spirit”. You continue on with Psalm 23 and into the daily devotion. A portion of Psalm 51 is used to provide the element of confession and/or contrition. A short reading is provided in the booklet and after which is a period of silence to reflect on that reading. You then have an option of either a hymn or canticle, which is then followed by the Apostles’ Creed. Prayers for yourself and others follow, closing with the Lord’s Prayer and The Collect.
This disciplined form of prayer has been a blessing and comfort for me. As a morning person I find it very easy to get up and venture into my front room or stay in my bedroom and do this exercise. I have recommended this type of prayer to all Christians and even more so to new converts to the Christian faith.
I must confess however that as helpful and inspiring as this daily practise is, it can become boring and repetitive and, for this reason I make changes where it would be most relevant. I have already indicated that I made the “Approach to Christ and the “Invocation” personal to me. In addition, instead of Psalm 23 I used the one appointed psalm for the day usually taken from a current Diocesan Lectionary. The same is applied to the reading. In this way you not only personalise the devotional time, but you get to read more of the bible.
I would say here that this is a wonderful way to lead into a period of contemplation. Following your devotional time, just sit quietly and ‘listen’ for the Lord. To find our more about this practice you can visit my web page at http://www.geocities.com/ceciaskew/index.html
I trust that as you read this composition you will be encouraged to spend more time in prayer listening to what the Lord has to say to you.
I share this prayer with you and encourage you to make it your own. It is built around a familiar collect which some of you may recognise.
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought me in safety to new new day. Preserve me and all that concerns me with your mighty power, that I may not fall into sin or be oversome by the enemy; but in all that I do direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose for me and those whose lives I touch, this I ask in
the name that is above every name, Jesus the Christ. Amen
Author: R. Cecilia Askew
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