Rhythms of Prayer
Happy summer, friends. We hope it has been good for you thus far. It’s a season of shifted schedules with vacations, breaks from school for the kids, camp trips, and so many other things. For some, it’s a refreshing change. For others, it can be unsettling or frustrating. Many more aren’t affected at all. For them, work and life are still the same, just warmer.
Regardless of how summer finds you this year, the change is a great time to reinforce your spiritual rhythms. Spiritual Life Development (SLD) has once again created a Prayer Resource for the Old Orchard Beach Camp Meetings (OOB) that we’d like to preview here and make available to you soon.
Our 2018 resource, called “Rhythms of Prayer,” explores six prayer disciplines that we hope will bring some warmth to your prayer life. We will cover a different prayer each day and provide for you some history, theological background, and helpful thoughts on practicing the prayer.
We invite you to set aside some time each day to read through the material and commit a few moments to the day’s prayer. As another prayer experience, we will close each night with the Prayer of Examen, an Ignatian exercise dedicated to looking for God’s presence in your life.
Also included this year is a Family Devotional section, provided by Major Marie Larrinaga and Joanna Polarek, that looks closely at The Lord’s Prayer. There are six sessions for you to engage in with your family whenever you’d like to. The materials are accessible to all ages and give some good, practical, and memorable insight to this familiar prayer. It’s our hope that you and your family are blessed through those moments.
We’ve included below a general overview of the prayers we will be focusing on. Whether you’re at OOB or anywhere else, whether it’s from July 29–Aug 3 or any other time, we look forward to you joining us in “Rhythms of Prayer.”
You’ll also find an Appendix in this year’s resource including information on other prayer experiences like Breath Prayer, Centering Prayer, Tongsung Kido*, Listening Prayer and praying the Shema. As with the main resource, we will provide some background for each of these prayer strategies for those interested in further information.
We hope you take the opportunity to embrace “Rhythms of Prayer.” It’s a great addition to an already great week if you are visiting Old Orchard Beach this summer. A few minutes on the beach in the morning or before you turn off the lights at night are perfect for some prayer. Or if you’re at home enjoying a summer’s day, prayer goes great with a tall glass of lemonade or while the kids play outside. Whatever the summer brings to your life, remember to take a few moments for yourself and your own spiritual growth.
We are praying for you and we hope this prayer resource is both informative and transformative for you this summer. Don’t forget to follow USA East SLD on Facebook and let us know about your experiences with “Rhythms of Prayer.”
*Tongsung Kido literally means “praying together out loud” and is a prayer practice that has grown out of Korean Christianity.
Day 1. The Lord’s Prayer
“If somebody said, give me a summary of Christian faith on the back of an envelope, the best thing to do would be to write Our Lord’s Prayer.” In 2009, Rowan Williams (Archbishop of Canterbury) wrote these words in his journal. In the waning years of the 3rd century, Tertullian referred to the Lord’s Prayer in his commentary as “an abridgment of the entire Gospel.” It’s been a foundational prayer of the Christian community since the day His disciples went to Him and said, “Teach us how to pray…” (Luke 11:1).
We begin with that foundation. In the early church it was said between 3 and 12 times each day. It is simple, yet deep. It is beautiful and profound. It is a great place to begin an exploration of prayer.
Day 2. The Jesus Prayer
“Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” The “Jesus Prayer” has been a part of all three branches of Orthodox Christianity for a very long time. The practice of saying it likely has roots in the desert mothers and fathers of the 5th century. Its scriptural basis likely comes from an amalgamation of similar prayers in Luke 18 and Mark 10. There are four simple parts, each one revealing a profound theological truth. Some church fathers have called “The Jesus Prayer” the most powerful prayer in Christianity. As we explore these words, we will also explore how they so perfectly express our relationship with Jesus and His daily mercies for us.
Day 3. Intercessory Prayer/Praying in Color
Intercessory prayer is an absolutely essential practice for the body of Christ. Scripture is full of examples of praying for others. There are many ways to pray for our brothers and sisters, this week we will explore “Praying in Color,” an intercessory prayer strategy based on a book by Sybil MacBeth. Perhaps the best part of this prayer experience is that you don’t have to be an artist at all to participate. You’ll have a visual reminder of your time spent in prayer that will continue to bring those you are praying for to your heart in meaningful ways.
Day 4. Praying Scripture
Why can’t God’s Word to us be our words back to Him? The Psalms are an ancient hymnal. We find prayers throughout the Bible. Every word is a gift to us and reveals something of God to and for us. We will look at a few Prayers of Wisdom with this exercise. As we pray the words of Scripture …
… we give up analyzing them and breaking them down.
… we submit to them in those moments.
… we listen to ourselves and to God so they can take
hold of us in the way that He desires.
Day 5. Prayer and Fasting
Fasting is a spiritual discipline which is ultimately a rhythm of being with yourself and with God in the world. It’s a means of sacrifice that expresses trust. In Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster reminds us that “More than any other discipline, fasting reveals the things that control us.” When we combine our prayers with fasting and other disciplines, our availability to God’s transforming work is multiplied and our perception of His work and purpose is multiplied.
Day 6. Silence and Solitude
This is often a starting place in spiritual disciplines. It’s important to set aside some space in our lives, to separate ourselves a bit from the hustle and bustle where we can focus on simply being in God’s presence. It is so easy to fill the time with tasks and the space with stuff that we often lose track of ourselves. Yet Scripture tells us to “Be still and know that I am God.” The disciplines of silence and solitude do just that. It is in silence and solitude that we truly realize that prayer is so much more meaningful in God’s presence.
The OOB Prayer Resource, Rhythms of Prayer, is available here: www.saconnects.org/SLD.
by Chris Stoker