Tag Archives: Prayer

Seven Sacred Pauses: Living Mindfully Through the Hours of the Day (by Macrina Weiderkehr) | A Book Review

“If you want to he attentive to your soul, you simply must find ways to honor your need to acquire a sense of rhythm in your life-some kind of balance in your work, leisure, and prayer.” (Weiderkehr)

How can ordinary people practice a rhythm of pausing and noticing, noticing the work and presence of God in their world? 

Why are the Divine Hours a helpful rhythm of prayer?

A few years ago I discovered the Divine Hours – those ancient rhythms of prayer that purposefully take one through the day with the Lord, pausing in the middle of the day for small conversation. I’ve discovered wonderful prayerbooks that guide through the hours, but it wasn’t until I came across a Benedictine Short Breviary that I had seen a prayerbook that really guided through all seven hours (see below).

I quickly purchased that Breviary and excitedly kept company with the Lord on the seven hours, with some routine, but a lot of struggle to keep the rhythm. Carrying that little book with me everywhere as well as trying to pause in the middle of the day was a tough discipline to establish. I enjoyed, however, the significance of the pauses in the day; each pause and time of prayer had a certain something to add to that time of day, even projecting and connecting times of life to times of the day.

To illustrate what I enjoyed, this comes from Weiderkehr’s book: “We practice pausing to remember the sacredness of our names, who we are, and what we plan on doing with the incredible gift of our lives-and how we can learn to be in the midst of so much doing. We have to practice loving and forgiving. We practice breathing and being careful with one another’s life. We practice nonviolence. We practice enjoying what we have rather than storing up possessions. We practice silence.”

After loosely keeping company with the Divine Hours (6, 9, 12, 3, 6, 9, with sometime in the middle of the night for an enthusiast – which I wasn’t) and the breviary, I needed to pause. What I wanted to discover was a rhythm that I could share with my family, Jenny and my two boys who are 3 and 1. I wanted to practice rhythms of prayer so that I could walk with them in prayer as well, once the boys discover the beauty of sitting still (this might be a while…).

So, the Benedictine Breviary, though so richly beautiful, was too much to engage for where my family is at and will be for a while. But, I wanted to retain the beauty of the hours, the significant pauses of the hours.

That’s when I discovered Seven Sacred Pauses (through seeing it mentioned in Phileena Heuertz’s A Pilgrimage of a Soul).

I read with thirst.

What I’ll share with you now comes from the book; these clips are helpful phrases regarding the intent of each hour. I find them helpful and hope to memorize them in order to continue to keep company with God, pausing in the various special times of a day.

1.) Matins or Vigils. “The Night Watch” (Sometime between midnight and dawn). Themes for the hour: vigilance and deep listening mystery and silence surrender and trust.

2.) Lauds or Morning Prayer. “The Awakening Hour” (apx. 6am). Themes for the hour: praise and resurrection joy and delight the coming of the light.

3.) Terce or the Third Hour of the Day. “The Blessing Hour” (apx. 9am). Themes for the hour: the coming of the Spirit wind and flame, breath and blessing strength and courage the sacredness of work.

4.) Sext or the Sixth Hour. “The Hour of Illumination” (apx. noon). Themes for the hour: commitment and passion courage and faithfulness healing, truth, and peace.

5.) None or the Ninth Hour. “The Wisdom Hour” (apx. 3pm). Themes for the hour: steadfastness, surrender forgiveness and wisdom impermanence, aging, maturing death and transition.

6.) Vespers or Evensong. “The Twilight Hour” (apx. 6pm). Themes for the hour: gratitude, praise serenity, mystery the lighting of the lamps.

7.) Compline or Night Prayer. “The Great Silence” (apx. 9pm). Themes for the hour: silence, rest, and sleep darkness, trust, and protection personal sorrow, completion, intimacy.

I recommend Weiderkehr’s book to those who would like to hear more about the hours. There are helpful guides for prayer tucked into the back of each chapter as well. I found her book a good, concise guide to the hours, to taking the soul of the hours into my life, pausing with the above thoughts in mind to inspire simple prayer.


Solitude, Community, & Mission | The Christian Life

The Christian walk has an important, necessary rhythm: Solitude, Community, Mission. (Influenced by Henri Nouwen)

Solitude, from Nouwen, is not loneliness but rather a solidarity of identity – it is the capacity to be at peace with God and ourselves as ones who are beloved children of God in Jesus. Solitude is not isolation either, but rather the desire to be present to God and to dwell in God’s presence that is already with us. Solitude often takes the rhythm of being alone somewhere to pay attention, but is also possible in a crowded place with many people.

Solitude, that is, knowing and dwelling securely in our identity as a forgiven, redeemed child of God in Jesus, pours us into the community of believers – the group of people with the same title as us: Beloved of the Father. The community builds and encourages one another and provides an environment of permission for love – loving God and one another and neighbor.

Strong community will always pour out into self-less love and mission. That is the imitation of Christ in outward fashion. Such an outpouring is dependent on the nurture it receives (and actual pours out) that comes from solitude and community.

This, I think, is a comforting message and a guiding thought. Contemplating this idea from Nouwen grants peace and causes anxiety in the spiritual life to fade.

Here is a quote from Making All Things New that I want to share (p.68). I believe this sums up the inner working of the text and sets our imaginations participating with God, looking to discover and create particular disciplines of attentiveness and action:

“A spiritual discipline, therefore, is the concentrated effort to create some inner and outer space in our lives, where this obedience can be practiced. Through a spiritual discipline we prevent the world from filling our lives to such an extent that there is no place left to listen. A spiritual discipline sets us free to pray or, to say it better, allows the Spirit of God to pray in us.”



What Would Have Happened if Mary had Denied the Presence of God?

What would have happened if 2,000 years ago, Mary the Mother of Jesus had denied the message sent to her? What if her heart was not prepared to receive it? What if, in her troubled state when the angel first visits with her (Luke 1) she disbelieves instead of anticipates?

Thankfully, I do not have to be concerned with the “what if’s” for Mary. Her example lays enshrined in history. Her response was faithful and nurtured by anticipation and hope.
What about my own hope and anticipation? What if God is today desiring to cause life from himself to take root within my soul? How might my soul be prepared to anticipate, receive and obey in faithfulness? 

In the Sanctuary for Advent Prayer.

The Christmas trees illumine the space around me, the golden streamers stream above. The feel of this warm sanctuary is cozy, restful, and peace-filled.

I feel relaxed.

I feel like something deep within me is being re-worked to become attentive and able to respond to the needs of others around me once this sanctuary grace ends. Each breath of air brings in a flavor of grace, a coolness that refreshes my soul deep within – like when you inhale when you’re enjoying a candy cane, a cool freshness descends within you.

I want to write out the feel I feel at this moment, but I can’t grasp the words. It’s illusive.

All that comes to mind are the lyrics of a song I heard a few years ago: “Surely God is in this place, with us now. Surely God is in this place, with us, now.” (Steven Iverson).

Praying the Hours as a Congregation

Tomorrow Trinity puts a foot forward in pausing throughout the day. Instead of advertisements, we’ll listen to God in Scripture. Instead of Amazon wish lists, we’ll aim at interceding for others.

Some will meet in the Sanctuaries. Some will pray at work. I hope we can all pause and participate in the preparation of our hearts for the Way of the Lord.

I’m looking forward to seeing what comes of it for us.

 The hours are:
6:00am (Vigils/Lauds/Matins)
9:00am (Terce)
12:00n (Sext)
3:00pm (None)
6:00pm (Vespers)
9:00pm (Compline)

Wisdom Chaser (Nathan Foster) | Book Note

Some people’s lives seem messier than others. It always comes as a surprise when it’s “the pastor’s kid” who goes off the deep end. That’s Nathan’s story in Wisdom Chaser.

Wisdom Chaser is a collection of short thoughts and stories from a son who is getting to know himself and his father. The setting is the collection of 14,000 foot mountains of Colorado. And, it all starts with an estranged relationship and a risky question: “Do you want to climb the 14-ers, Dad?”

With the stories of adventure and failure on the mountain, interspersed by life’s parallels in the normal places of life, Nathan and his dad Richard (of Christian spirituality fame, a la The Celebration of Discipline) explore the mystery of one another and of God. The core of the story is learning humility, and accepting oneself as a person who is low – that life is made up of this very moment and not meant to be the pursuit of being the top person on whichever ladder you’re dreaming of. We need freedom from that competition that dehumanizes. We need salvation from The Western Way. Continue reading

A Collection of Beautiful Concepts within Praying the Divine Hours (7 Times a Day)

A Collection of Beautiful Concepts within Praying the Divine Hours (7 Times a Day)

From The Divine Office by Edward J. Quigley.

“At Matins bound; at Prime reviled; Condemned to death at Tierce; Nailed to the Cross at Sext; at None His blessed Side they pierce. They take him down at Vesper-tide; In grave at Compline lay, Who thenceforth bids His Church observe The sevenfold hours alway.”

“_Matins_, the night office, typifies the pre-natal stage of life. _Lauds_, the office of dawn, seems to resemble the beginnings of childhood. _Prime_ recalls to him youth. _Terce_, recited when the sun is high in the heavens shedding brilliant light, symbolises early manhood with its strength and glory. _Sext_ typifies mature age. _None_, recited when the sun is declining, suggests man in his middle age. _Vespers_ reminds all of decrepit age gliding gently down to the grave. _Compline_, night prayer said before sleep, should remind us of the great night.”