Sunday, April 22, 2007

a question for those of you who pray the daily office (or anyone really)

Do you have a way to order your daily intentions? I.e. is there a system to your intercessory prayer? If so what is it? I.e. do you pray for family on Monday, clergy on Tuesday, heretics on Wednesday, the sick and suffering on Thursday, the dead on Friday, etc. etc.? How do you do it?

And a more general question: what is your daily prayer discipline? I'll tell you mine. Its straight-forward: Daily Morning and Evening Prayer (1662) (Coverdale Psalter), with the ECUSA 1979 Propers (lectionary, collects, etc.), the whole thing enriched with antiphons (from the English Office -- link in sidebar), and the Final Anthems of the BVM. Once a week or so I'll say the Litany of the Sacred Heart or something like that. Very occasionally I'll say the Rosary.

The reason I ask the first question is that I've never developed a system for intercession, so it remains sporadic and piecemeal. I have a kind of litany of proper names for whom I intercede (though not at every office). I feel the need for more order to my intercessions.


Ronald said...

Great question! I have three "cycles" in the '79 BCP: The first is to rotate through the the collects and prayers on pgs 251-261, 429, 443-444, 458-459, 493,& 814-831. I'll say one of these collects at each office (I use a flag to keep track of the next one). This cycle takes a couple weeks to get through.

The second cycle is to rotate though a "Benedictine Collect of the Day" which I repeat at every office for that day. These are the collects that have struck a chord with me:
- 4th Sunday in Easter (225)

- 5th Sunday in Lent (219)
- prayer # 58 for Guidance(832)

Conversion of Life:
- 5th Sunday in Easter (225)
- prayer #61 for Self-dedication (832)
- prayer #62 Attributed to St Francis (833)

Sanctification of Work:
- occasional collect #24 for Vocation in Daily Work (261)
- prayer #57 for Guidance (832)
- prayer #63 in the Evening (833) (strikes me more as a mid-day prayer)

- Blessing for a Deacon (545)... stability as well...

-Thanksgiving #7 (840)

- Proper 20 (234)
- 1st Common of a Monastic (249)

Holy Silence:
- prayer #59 for Quiet Confidence (832)

The third cycle is a set of thanksgivings to be said during Compline: 503, 578, PS116, PS138, 836-841.

Of course, this pattern has morphed considerably, and I expect it will continue to do so...its a great exercise in INTJ system building!

Ronald said...

I also rotate daily through the 6 Forms of the prayers of the people (383-393) for morning & evening prayer (using form VI on Sat & Sun). This covers all the bases I want to cover and gives each day a different character....a nice thing about the POTP is that it affords a great trigger for more freeform intercessions that come to mind as you go through the structure.

Anonymous said...

Get hold of a copy of the 'Manual of Prayers' of the Pontifical North American College Rome. It is a splendid example of traditional ascetic.Try Amazon or The Book Depositry. There is no real Anglo-Catholic book of this sort today, but if you can find it Fr Whatton's 'The Priests Companion' did that sort of job.

father thorpus said...

For a general discipline of prayer, I pray the 1979 BCP Morning prayer in the mornings, lectionary and all, usually by myself in the nave of our church, but on Wednesdays with a small group that gathers for that purpose. When I pray alone, which is 4 days a week, I have also a rota of prayers (this speaks directly to your question, Fr.) that direct my intercessions, and which are listed on a series of 3x5 cards. They're organized according to my sense of calling, a particular ethos for each day's intercessions, an attending scripture, and the actual intercessions:

Day one, to be a Christian and a Man. These two are the inescapable facts of my existance in the world in relation to God, and they are the most fundamental aspects of human identity. A woman, adapting this cycle of prayer, would pray to be a better woman. The ethos of prayer this day is my own relationship with the Lord, to fight the impulse to 'use' any of this for anything parish-related. This day is just for me and Jesus, and it's usually my favorite day. The scripture that attends these prayers is Phillipians 3:7-11. The intercessions themselves reach to the essential nature of what it means to be a Christian and a man.

Day two: the calling is less essential, less fundamental, but foundational for me all the same - Husband and Father. The ethos is to pray for my marriage and family. The attending scripture is Colossians 3:12-21. The intercessions are for myself as a husband and father, for my wife and son and all their concerns and the roles they play in our family, for future children, for parenting, etc.

Day three: the calling is Theologian and leader in God's Holy Catholic Church. The ethos is to pray for the church in all its manifestations. The attending scripture is Eph. 4:11b-13. The intercessions cover the Church from its universal aspect to the parish and even to this blog.

Day four: the calling is member of the community. Ethos reflects the idea that Christians are placed in community and meant to be God's ambassador's to the community. Attending scripture is 2 Corinthians 5:16-21. Intercessions include the nations of the world, the United States and all its government, my state of residence, my local city; these include specific figures in government by name.

These prayers usually take only a few minutes during the morning office. Occasionally on Day one, if I feel like it, I'll pray free-form or meditate on some aspect of our parish's internal decoration, which I find to be of immense devotional value.

Then I have a set of prayers I pray in my parish office, as I boot up my computer at the start of the day - prayers for church, other clergy, specific pairsh and parishioner needs, etc. I start with this wonderful prayer from Blaise Pascal:

Teach us, Lord, to do little things as though they were great, because of the majesty of Christ who does them in us and who lives our life; and to do the greatest things as though they were little and easy, because of His omnipotence.

Then I say a list of ways to practice humility from Mother Theresa.

Then each of the 'boot-up' prayers is connected to an icon on my desk. As I look at St. Michael, I pray God to crush Satan under our feet at St. Peter's and for spiritual protection; as I look at St. Raphel, I pray for healing and reconciliation in our parish via a list on my computer; as I look at St. Gabriel, I pray a variety of prayers related to the annunciation, sometimes asking for the grace to receive the Lord and His message, sometimes the grace to proclaim it.

Then I try to worship for a few minutes at the crucifix on my wall and some other icons on the desk.

For evening prayers, my family and I have a discipline of reading bible stories for children and praying for all our concerns, family members, and friends. We finish with the Lord's prayer.

Would that I were as faithful to these prayers as I ought to be.

Karen said...

Hey Fr. WB,
A few years ago while working on something for Lent & Beyond, I discovered a neat prayer resource on the diocese of Pittsburgh website. It's a seven day prayer cycle. I've used it on and off over the past 3 years, particularly the leftmost column in terms of a way of structuring and focusing intercessions for different days.

Give it a look:

Karen B.

timothy said...

I've often wondered how to handle this myself. The office doesn't seem to leave much room for free intercessions, but I noticed a small break between the collects and the concluding prayer, at which time I usually pray for whomever or whatever is most on my mind and heart. Alas, that's usually me. But I'm sure there's a better way to do it. I like Fr Thorpus' suggestions. And perhaps what is needed is to create my own roll of persons/things to pray for and proceed through them on a regular basis.