These ancient phrases speak to me and sometimes it's a relief not to have to think up all the words on my own. It's not that this is my only prayer form, but this tradition has added a new dimension to the time I spend with God each day.
This weekend I was particularly mindful of what I was saying because I'm in the midst of a longer bout of single parenting which always stretches me. So, when I prayed,“This very day the Lord has acted” (and realized I was sitting on the sunwarm porch longer than usual because someone else was sleeping in) the response, “May His name be praised!” came from my heart.
The next section gave me reason to pause: “Deliver me Almighty God from the service of self alone that I may do the work you have given me to do in truth and beauty and for the common good....”
And a few lines later:
Grant me such an awareness of Your mercy that with a truly thankful heart I may give you praise not only with my lips but with my life by giving up myself for your service...
These phrases and the truth they contain turned out to be the framework upon which my weekend rested, and my soul has been stretched in the process...and once again, the work that God has done is good, even very good.
I won't go into detail...but I needed to invest heavily in a few situations that weren't ones I would have chosen had I not been listening very attentively for the Voice. Last night I fell asleep with intense concerns and anxieties swirling in my mind; at early light I woke with the whisper of an idea that wasn't my own, and discovered clarity and direction in the coming hours. It was a day for being delivered from the service of self alone and for being part of God's greater work in my world.
In some way that I can barely articulate, for a few hours my ordinary life has been a gift of praise to the One who has given so much to me...(today, he gave me an unexpected window of time for a much needed walk...with this view as a bonus!)
to keep praying,
to keep listening,
and to keep saying the single word that stretches my soul more than any other: