Live Prayerfully (my first attempt at a real book) is almost finished, and should be available before the end of December. So, I'm giving myself a new project. I think it will be a good exercise and should also provide some interesting material for the blog for a while. Here's the idea: that for a full year, every day, I would plan everything I do around following what I say in the book. I'll push my own advice to its farthest reasonable limits and see how it holds up. I think this is a good idea. We'll see.
Some issues that I'm eager to pay attention to as I do this:
- In order to accomplish this for a full year, I'm going to have to be somewhat of an intentional legalist about it. (Basically, my rules boil down to being that I will have to pray four times each day and to incorporate three kinds of prayer into those times.) In the Christian circles of my background, anything that hints of legalism is to be unquestionably avoided, but I wonder if I might find it to be a not-so-terrible thing. (Obviously I won't be legalist in the sense of thinking that my status with God is dependent on my praying four times a day, but in the dictionary sense: "excessive adherence to a law or formula.")
- Will arranging my life around these times of prayer, every day, turn out to be a hindrance to getting necessary things done, or will I find that the necessary things still get done in a way less dependent on me?
- At the end of the year, will I be relieved to be free of the commitment, or will I never want to go back to life as I had known it before making it?
- And the biggest question: Will living prayerfully for this year make any difference- in me? in those around me? even in the world?
This year of living prayerfully begins this week, since we are now headed toward the first Sunday of Advent (the beginning of the liturgical year), and I plan to post 2-3 times each week. I will follow the guides to prayer from Part Two of Live Prayerfully, which are adapted from The Book of Common Prayer, plus other prayers that focus more on the respective seasons of the church year, such as this one, which I'll be praying repeatedly to prepare for this first Sunday of Advent:
Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.