Happy Saturday, I am writing from the snowy Northwest today with a cup of coffee, not a bad day if you ask me.
For those of you who are new to this series, we are discussing various Spiritual Practices throughout the church. The next one that we are going to dive into is the concept of Continual Prayer.
Now, throughout my life, I have heard people tell me, make time for God (normally by reading my Bible for a few minutes in the morning as well as by praying). Can we just take a second and acknowledge how ridiculous that sounds? Think about it, “Make time for the all knowing, all seeing, all powerful God.” I am going to pencil God into my busy schedule because I am that fantastic of a person. It is ridiculous! With that being said, I am not advocating that you don’t pray or read your Bible, instead I want to challenge our reasoning behind it.
The reason that we pray is to allow God to guide our actions and our thoughts throughout our day. The new Rogue One movie actually has a similar analogy in this (no spoilers I promise). Within the movie, there is a character named Chirrut who was a Force Sensitive individual. Now for those of you who have absolutely no experience with the Star Wars universe or the Force, go watch all 8 movies, the Clone Wars TV show, and Rebels. We’ll still be here…Are you done? Did you love them? Good. Anyways, Chirrut continually uses the phrase, “I’m one with the Force. The Force is with me.” Now, an entire blog could be devoted to the different philosophies that influenced the Star Wars Universe as well as the concept of “The Force” (and I might dive into that at a future date); in the meantime, while this phrase does not fully fit for us as Christians the concept is similar: if we are following Christ and allowing him to guide us he will guide our words and our deeds. It is continually allowing God to guide our actions. He won’t force (ba dum tis) us to do these things but once we start speaking with him regularly everything changes. You can spend time in the morning or evening reading your Bible and praying, I am not rejecting that at all. What I am rejecting is compartmentalizing faith to that period of time.
St. Patrick had a similar phrase in the Lorica (albeit a lot longer):
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I hope to devote a future post to the rest of Patrick’s Lorica, but for the time being, let us suffice it to say that we can devote our time and our energies to focusing on the person of God. So for this week, challenge yourself to ask God to guide you once an hour. That is not too crazy to start with, then as time goes on think about him every half hour, then fifteen minutes, then ten minutes, etc. Let me know how it goes for you!
For those of you who are interested in reading more about continuous prayer, read Letters by a Modern Mystic by Frank Laubach it is a fantastic read and quite inspiring. If you are interested in reading the Lorica from St. Patrick there is also a link below for that.
May the Force be with you…and also with you (nerdiness and theology in one sentence is the best).