Praying the Psalms

I wonder how often we find our prayers dead and lifeless. I wonder how often we come up dry and dumb with no words, no thoughts, no way of formulating the feelings, frustrations, and various shades of grief that we bear. Burdened and distracted, we can hardly remember to pray, and when we do we have nothing to say.What if someone could guide you to God in those moments, could take you before the throne, lean over and whisper, “Just say it like this,” and then unfurl a stream of words that mea … [Read more...]

On using a prayer book

For the past several years my prayer life has included the use of a prayer book. I started with the Anglican Book of Common Prayer and eventually came to use various Eastern Orthodox manuals.I have experienced three basic reactions to my practice: (1) support, (2) curiosity, and (3) disapproval. Many have already discovered how useful prayer books can be, and some are lifelong users who cannot imagine a full prayer life without one. Others have few reference points for use of prewritten … [Read more...]

Name it and claim it—for real

The so-called Prosperity Gospel uses a catchphrase that rankles its naysayers: “Name it and claim it.” But what if you could steal the line, stuff it with a different and better meaning, and turn it into something more useful to personal growth and sanctification?Writing to make sure his monks were on their best behavior, St. Benedict formulated the Rule that bears his name. One of the chapters concerns singing in church services: “Therefore, let us consider in what manner it behoveth us to b … [Read more...]