How to cultivate spiritual peace at work

Things today seem more fragmented than ever. Try focusing on your job, for instance, amid the alerts for incoming email, social media updates, and meeting invites. Add to that phone calls, interrupting coworkers, and elastic tasks stretching past allotted times and squeezing into others. Nice knowing you, margin. And that's just what outsiders impose.Inside the mind there are -- at least for me -- forty-two stray thoughts trying to push to the fore, some succeeding and distracting me while … [Read more...]

The business of prayer

It's easy to delay prayer as we brace for the daily grind, and easier still to forget about it as we wade through the tumult of the day. But what if we thought of prayer as our first and most important job?In his book The Ladder of Divine Ascent, John Climacus refers to prayer as the work of angels. Christians are invited to join in this labor as part of our walk with Christ.I think there's merit to linking words like work and labor to the subject of prayer. The word liturgy in fact … [Read more...]

Why pray the hours?

When you read the scriptures, you not only learn about the content of prayer (contrition, thanksgiving, petition, etc.), but you also notice the discipline of it, the regularity of it.Both previously, Daniel and the Psalmist pray three times a day: morning, noon, and evening. And this isn’t just an Old Testament thing. When you read Acts, the apostles follow the same basic pattern. It’s always told as incidental to the stories, but regulated prayer is a common backdrop:“Now Peter and Jo … [Read more...]

Prayer and the workday

The Financial Times recently ran a piece on the value of meditation in the workplace. The article quotes several corporate managers discussing why and how they and their companies incorporate meditation at the office. “It helps you to get perspective and organise your thoughts,” says Jon Jagielski of Medtronic in an opinion echoed throughout the piece.“There’s a need to reduce stress in the workplace and meditation is the best technique I know," says Richard Geller of MedWorks, a company that … [Read more...]

Prayer by the book (2)

I have my children every other week. At night we pray. I’m not as consistent about it as I should be, but I find praying together valuable. Most often I use a prayer book, usually The Book of Common Prayer. Sometimes it’s the 1662 version. Other times the 1979, which is what we use at church.Before Fionn went to bed tonight we said compline together. Felicity did not join us because she cashiered earlier on the couch. Traditionally, compline is the prayer service conducted just before sleep. Th … [Read more...]

Prayer by the book

“Pray without ceasing.” “The fervent prayers of a righteous man avails much.” In the church where I grew up, I heard these verses a lot. For those who bandied them about they were convenient summaries of their prayer life, or what they wanted it to be. For me they were like slogans for products not for sale in my city.At best prayer was an uneven and elusive discipline. It was often triggered by a crisis: bad traffic, an upcoming test. “Heavenly Father,” I started, followed with a statement of … [Read more...]