Yesterday was a great day.
5:57am Lent40– showed up at Restoration for morning prayer. Ian Hassell lead about 12 of us for 30 minutes in prayer. Most of the folks were on their way to work. Most had started the day earlier than normal. There was silence, there was Scripture, there were sweet prayers for the work and mission of our church. I was thankful to be ‘one of the congregation’ and to be lead in prayer by another. Loving Lent40.
7:50– as is my custom, I arrived 20 minutes late to the weekly Arlington Pastors Prayer Meeting. About 20 of us pastors meet each Wednesday to pray for each other and the work God is doing through our churches. I really appreciate these partners in ministry. And, as is my custom, I left 30 minutes early to pick up Bennett for school… lovely– practically calling it in.
9:15 on the road to Holy Cross Abbey in Berryville, VA– I am trying to practice the discipline of setting aside the first Wednesday of the month as an intentional day of prayer. There are 4 or 5 places in the area where you can do this. Holy Cross is my favorite. The drive out Route 7 is beautiful and helps me disengage from DC. I highly recommend it to everyone. Setting aside a day for quiet, reflective prayer is a great discipline for anyone who is seeking to follow Jesus in this hectic world.
Here’s what I do:
I read: I usually pack like 15 books because I can’t decide on what to focus. But I make myself leave 14 of them in the car. To get around my rule, I brought a few sermons from John Chrysostom (345-407AD) that I had ‘printed out’ and one book, Culture Making by Andy Crouch. Andy is a former colleague from my InterVarsity days and I have been so challenged by his expansive thoughts on the phrase: ‘culture is what we make of the world.’ It drives me to prayer, to dream, to imagine, to long for God to use me and Restoration as part of what He is making of the world. Highly recommend.
I pray: Holy Cross is an Abbey for monks. At 12:30 they ring the bells for angelus and everyone pauses for private prayer. At 2, everyone gathers in the chapel for afternoon prayer. I love joining in to this rhythm. The prayers give structure, they give companionship to a day of solitude. I also prayed through the confession from Ash Wednesday again (BCP p. 267). A good weekly gift during Lent.
I dream: I imagined preaching series for the rest of 2009. Where is God taking us as a church? How will he use my words on Sunday morning as part of the journey? Thinking about a series on rest/sabbath and a series on poverty/wealth.
I write: The third book I bring is my journal. The best way for me to unload my heart to God is by writing it out. It gives me focus, structure, and discipline. It allows me to look back and say– ‘yep, that’s what is going on.’
I walk: They have about 200 cows, hills, and the Shenandoah river. Gorgeous. The cows were loud.
I nap: About 2 hours into it, when I have slown down, when I have gotten still, I get tired. So I sleep. God likes that.
March 5, 2009 @ 10:59 am
What a coincidence, cows and sleep are also high on my “good things” list.
March 6, 2009 @ 9:54 am
Love this post! Love the concept! In SERIOUS need of discipline. Thank you for setting the example, David.
Hmmm. Got me thinking. When left on my own, I will likely fail (discipline thing). Maybe a group of us could do this together. Travel some where (does not have to be far…maybe we could even bike) together, start out praying together, but then separate to be alone with God, then come together again to end in prayer (the end commitment might help me from trying to escape mid-way through) and leave together. Doesn’t have to be all day…maybe just an hour to start. Thoughts?
March 6, 2009 @ 1:24 pm
love that idea, Jennie.
March 8, 2009 @ 5:04 pm
happy to hear about Holy Cross Abbey. The monks make excellent fruitcake. Saw a little program about them where they said that making the fruitcake is conducive to prayer. I have no doubt this contributes to how good the fruitcake is.
March 9, 2009 @ 7:59 am
LOL, Megan. I have no doubt as well…