It's been a long time since I prayed silently, "Lord, I can't wait to spend time with You, hear what You have to say." Sure, I read the Bible and pray, at least a little bit every day. Yet it was different today. For once in a long while, my opinions and to-do lists seemed irrelevant. I stuffed dirty towels in the washer and smiled at the thought of an empty house (Johnny is helping a friend move) and a weary body needing to rest. Not to sound silly, but it really seemed as if God waited for me over on the couch. Patient while I tended to laundry.
Our rector (pastor) printed a short form of Morning and Evening Prayer for our Church which I use quite often, even if I goof and it ends up being Afternoon or Midnight Prayer (Sext or None, and Compline). I love the structure and guidelines, but I also love how the short form allows for the creativity of the Holy Ghost. There are places where I can insert a different confession, song, Scripture, or prayer. And by all means, pray my own words, too.
Saturday Afternoon Prayer was special. Sometimes, I raised my right hand, I guess thinking I could touch the peace that hovered in our dusty living room. Both cats ran around the house like maniacs, fighting; and the washer tumbled loudly. But my soul felt quiet, my heart still, and I listened.
Here's the liturgy I put together:
* "Confession and Petition."
[from this wonderful book]
* An old (and new), favorite hymn.
[from The Builder and the Architect]
* "This has become mine,
Because I kept Your precepts.
You are my portion, O LORD;
I have said that I would keep Your words.
I entreated Your favor with my whole heart;
Be merciful to me according to Your word.
I thought about my ways,
And turned my feet to Your testimonies.
I made haste, and did not delay
To keep Your commandments.
The cords of the wicked have bound me,
But I have not forgotten Your law.
At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You,
Because of Your righteous judgments.
I am a companion of all who fear You,
And of those who keep Your precepts.
The earth, O LORD, is full of Your mercy;
Teach me Your statutes.
You have dealt well with Your servant,
O LORD, according to Your word.
Teach me good judgment and knowledge,
For I believe Your commandments.
Before I was afflicted I went astray,
But now I keep Your word.
You are good, and do good;
Teach me Your statutes.
The proud have forged a lie against me,
But I will keep Your precepts with my whole heart.
Their heart is as fat as grease,
But I delight in Your law.
It is good for me that I have been afflicted,
That I may learn Your statutes.
The law of Your mouth is better to me
Than thousands of coins of gold and silver.
Your hands have made me and fashioned me;
Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.
Those who fear You will be glad when they see me,
Because I have hoped in Your word.
I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are right,
And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.
Let, I pray, Your merciful kindness be for my comfort,
According to Your word to Your servant.
Let Your tender mercies come to me, that I may live;
For Your law is my delight.
Let the proud be ashamed,
For they treated me wrongfully with falsehood;
But I will meditate on Your precepts.
Let those who fear You turn to me,
Those who know Your testimonies.
Let my heart be blameless regarding Your statutes,
That I may not be ashamed."
* "After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, Who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen."
[1 Peter 5:10-11]
* "And they will be radiant over the bounty of the Lord -
Over the grain and the new wine and the oil....
And their life will be like a watered garden,
And they will never languish again....
satisfied with My goodness."
[from Jeremiah 31, a great chapter]
* The Apostles' Creed.
* The Lord's Prayer.
* A prayer called "Grace Active."
[from that same lovely book]
* My own prayers.
Posted by jenni at 5:12 PM