Friday, March 03, 2006

The Friday... four?

Over at RevGalBlogPals the Friday Five is actually a four. What intentional practices have you done?

Here are mine:

1. Centering Prayer. This is the big one! I began this practice on my first Easter as a Christian. Up to that point I had been struggling with prayer. I was already setting aside time for meditation using the Upper Room daily guide. (Great resource!) But Centering prayer appealed to me, so I read a couple books by Fr. Thomas Keating and Fr. William Menninger and decided to give it a whirl. I did it twice a day for 20 minutes each time and continued for over 2 years, until this past Advent when I felt called to try something else. For Lent, I have chosen to begin again... and will keep it up even after Easter. It is a very helpful practice.

2. Reading the Bible daily. This is a new one that I just started in January. I am reading the 'Bible in 90 Days' by Zondervan. At first it was tough, but now I am glad I am setting aside the time to do it. It takes a bit over a half hour. (About the length of one stupid sit-com....LOL) I hope that when I finish this, I will continue to incorporate scripture into my daily routine.

3. Saying Grace at dinner. God seems ok with the fact that we use the exact same words and are often rushing to get through it. I once invited an Evangelical friend to say grace for us and was moved by how heartfelt it was. Ours is totally by rote. But my 5 year old can and does say it and that makes me smile. So maybe it makes God smile too.

God, Thank you for the food you have laid before us. We ask that it nourish us, body, mind and spirit, so that we may better do your will. Amen.

4. Attending Church. This isn't a daily practice, but it is a new practice for us. Up until 4 or 5 years ago, we never went to church. Then we became regular churchgoers. We go every week unless there is something major preventing us. I go during the week sometimes too, to take communion.

Oh, ok, 1 more: Journaling. I started with a leather journal when I was baptized... and still write in it regularly. But this online blog is more of my daily (or at least weekly) practice. It's funny because I know that I must bore the crap out of you guys. It might even be dreadfully self indulgent. But it has been a very helpful practice for me... to put the Glory of God's work in my life out in the world and publicly thank him for it.

Have these practices changed me? Oh, yes. Especially the Centering Prayer. When I first read Keating, I laughed when he said to try it for 3 months and see if it made a difference in your daily life or relationship with God. I didn't think I could do it for 3 DAYS never mind 3 months. But sure enough, I would miss a session and really feel the difference. It became a very important part of my day. I felt a heightened awareness of God's presence throughout the day and would miss that feeling when I skipped the prayer time. I am excited to be back at it.

What would I like to try: Lectio Divina.

In all of these practices, Beloved, I seek to draw closer to you. I practice them all imperfectly. I neglect them, rush them, ignore them. But even so, you are faithful. I am ever amazed at the miracle of your love.


Songbird said...

Well, is it rote or is it a practice? My background is Baptist, and we would have resisted anything repeated from one day to the next, thinking it couldn't possibly be meaningful. But at 44, I find The Lord's Prayer, for instance, more meaningful than ever. And when we say the grace (we don't always use the same one) my mother and grandmother used to say, or even the one they told my father was theologically incorrect, I am touched by their participation in our lives and our practice even though they live now only in memory.

ceal said...

My parents said the same prayer and now my family uses it. It give the thanks we want to give while providing continuity and comfort for me....
"Father, thank you for this food. Let it nouish our bodies Bless the hand that prepared it,"

And Rachel, this blog has evoked laughter and tears and even a touch of envy of your journey... But never boredom. Most days your journey aids mine.

I even loved the deer story-- brought back memories of my childhood as well. You should have seen my teacher's face when as kid I brought a pheasant's craw to show and tell. Garage venison girls need to stick together.

thanks for sharing!
ceal (who met you once at a Reader's Studio)

Rachel's Big Dunk said...

I think one of the big attractions of a practice or religious ritual is that it offers a framework or structure within which we operate. And it requires discipline to continue to do it even when it is boring, unfulfilling, ritualistic. Thanks for sharing your family experiences around saying grace. We never did when I was a kid, so I am glad that MY kids will have that lovely practice as they grow up.

And Ceal, how cool that we met! Email me offline if you want to chat. I don't think I am going this year... but meeting Lon Milo Duquette is pretty tempting! LOL.

juniper68 said...

never, never boring. :)