During this Sunday’s message, (which you can listen to here), we talked a bit about embracing the sacred in everything we do. At the end of the service, we took a few minutes to break up into small groups & practice the Divine Hours.
Although we did something similar in the spring, and will be incorporating practices like this into our regular services more frequently, I realize we didn’t spend a lot of time introducing what Divine Hours, or the Daily Office really is.
Most of us, if we’ve spent anytime in the evangelical church at all, have heard about the importance of our daily devotions, or quiet time. The idea being basically, spend 30 to 60 minutes with God every morning to start your day. And then you’re good until the next day. Clearly no one would say, you should only pray at that one point in the morning, but in practice that is how it worked for most followers of Jesus (if they actually took those 30-60 minutes). They would say “Amen,” head out to their day, and allow the busyness of the day to crowd God out of the day for the most part. They would crash into bed exhausted, and start the whole cycle over the next day.
Many of us, were taught to think, I’m going to spend some time with God.. So we get the Bible out and we’re trying to learn and read a lot, which is great. Then, we have to pray for all the needs around us. There are things we need to get done.
For a lot of people it’s not been so much being with God and communing with God and seeking God. Instead it’s been about getting something from God in order to get things done, so we can get on with life. And the fact is, some of you reading this now, don’t spend much time in daily devotions with God. Often when that happens, it is because because we don’t see the benefit… we’re not seeing anything happen…and again, that’s part of the issue…we’re go to God because we want to see something happen.
What I really love about the Divine Hours is that there are set points in your day, where you stop what you are doing, and for 5-10 minutes, slow down, quiet down, and simply focus on God.
An office , is about seeking God. Stopping to be with him. Taking the time to be aware and present with God throughout the day. Being conscious of God throughout the day. There is a phrase in Scripture “pray without ceasing.” And the idea behind that is that I am aware of God all the time.
I’m going to write 2-3 more posts this week on the divine hours, so that I can get into a bit more detail. I’ve been practicing them for a few years now, and I want to encourage you to give them a try. While there are books out there, the easiest (and cheapest) way to get started is to use the Ann Arbor Vineyard’s web site. They have set up a page on-line that makes it super easy to check on your computer, or your mobile phone.
A great way to start is to pick 2 to 4 times per day (when you first rise, around lunch, before dinner & at bedtime are pretty standard times) log in, and pray through the prayers that are there. I invite you to give it a shot over the next 24 hours, and tomorrow we’ll look briefly at the issue of praying prayers that others have written.