A Pattern of Prayer

In search of an everyday groove

by Lindsey Gallant

A Pattern of Prayer: In search of an everyday grooveI’m trying to get into a groove, a rhythm, a pattern, a way to move through the day with prayer. I am not a monk with hours for quiet contemplation, but a modern mom held to the pace of a two-and a four-year-old, living in a hundred-year-old house in the country. I do not live by the chiming of a clock, though we have a flexible schedule that is the backbone of most days. Feeding the family: that’s the reality around which my day revolves. And in all the preparation and serving and cleanup, I can—if I’m not careful—miss my own meal. There is no end to the work, no bells to signal completion, no ticking off one box without adding three more. It can keep me running—running on hungry … and running down to empty.

So I need to eat. I need to pause and break the bread of life and share this sweet communion. There is a time to wake, a time to work, a time to play, a time to rest. There is a time to eat. And so I imagine how to translate the tradition of the “hours of prayer” into my own moments of prayer—a movement of prayer, or rather a movement of self through the fabric of prayer.

This is the sketch in my head. It’s rather like a line graph, with rise and fall and lots of scribbling. It’s still in revision, but these are the moments when I am learning to move into prayer:

Morning: A Gathering Prayer.  “O Lord, let my soul rise up to meet you as the day rises to meet the sun.”[1]

Here is the gathering, the offering of the strands of my life. I hold them out to be woven by God’s own hands. Here is the reaffirmation to love the Lord my God with all my heart and with all my soul, with all my mind and with all my strength; to begin the day in the light of His countenance; to begin the day with the Bread of His Word.

Before work, there is this worship. Before my plans, there is His purpose. Before movement, there is this deep breath. Before feeding others, there is this filling up. I gather manna fresh for this day and pray: “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11, KJV).

 Mid-morning: An Embracing Prayer. “Love your neighbour as yourself” (Matthew 22:39b).

Here I sit with the ones God has given me to love, sit with our morning snack and children’s Bible, eating together. Now is the time to spread our arms wide to embrace the needs around us and to carry our own burdens to the Lord. We pray for our neighbours and for ways to love them. We spread our prayers into the world that they may go wherever God leads us. We pray together for others. Here is compassion and intercession—and the faith of children.

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

 Noon: A Rising Prayer. “It is right to give our thanks and praise.”

Here at the height of the day, the height of the clock, I lift up my eyes, turn my thoughts toward heaven and raise my thanksgiving. Hands are busy, tummies are hungry, but my heart turns thankful. I name the blessings great and small, treasures of this very day. In the middle of it all there is always something to be thankful for. This motion lifts the mundane into a living marvel and makes room for joy.

“From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised” (Psalm 113:3).

 Mid-afternoon: A Centring (Abiding) Prayer. “No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine” (John 15:4b).

Here, by chance, I catch my breath and a cup of coffee at the same time. The day is in full swing, but we have built into it time for rest. And rather than find ways to amuse myself, I try to find ways to abide in Him.

I stop. Remember. Rest my soul. Rejuvenate. Calm the chaos and centre into the deeper reality behind these fleeting hours. I reach down and root myself. Make a knot. 

“[She is] like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither — whatever [she does] prospers” (Psalm 1:3).

I take root that I may bear fruit.

“May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us — yes, establish the work of our hands” (Psalm 90:17).

 Supper Meal: A Celebratory Prayer. “One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts” (Psalm 145:4).

All together now, we give thanks. We speak blessing. We practice table manners. We rejoice. We recount. We feast.

 Evening: A Prayer of Release.

Night falls and it is time to lay aside the day. Release its worries, problems, and work. Release my grip on the things I cannot control. Release my spirit to rest in His presence. I unravel the things that threaten to choke, examine my living of this day and confess my sins.

“Lord, have mercy. Christ have mercy.”

I entrust my soul to His tender care and unceasing watch. I entrust my body to the sleep He gives His beloved. “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet” (Proverbs 3:24).

I am a child learning to dance, learning to move in a new way. I am forming these faltering steps, these habits that I hope will soon become a rhythm to carry me along. More than that, I am reaching out in faith and finding a Father who is more than eager to move toward me.

 

PrayLindsey Gallant loves everyday theology and at the time of writing, lived with her family on their mini-farm on Prince Edward Island. She blogs at theredlettersblog.com.

This article appeared in the July/August 2015 issue of testimony, the bimonthly publication of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. ©2015 The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. Photo © istockphoto.com.

[1]. Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Enuma Okoro, Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010), 49.

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