I have struggled as of late with this second Lenten practice. It is easy to make excuses...I was up all night with the baby, there is no time to myself, no quiet in a house of young ones...
But I would like to take this period during Lent to renew praying the offices of morning, noon and compline (prayer before bed). It has been a rough start. Just because Lent begins doesn't mean our hearts are ready. So I've just begun to pray that God will help me to pray and reveal what that prayer should look like. It is so easy for my prayers to become lopsided, all about my needs or even the sins I think are important. Using a Prayer Book has been a useful tool to structure my prayers and give me words when words fail. Not only do I find much comfort in the structure, but it is in the repitition that the prayers shape my desires to be more like His.
Some tools that have helped me:
When I first wanted to do morning prayers I used the Mission of St. Clare site. This has the offices for morning and evening with the Scripture readings and the cycle of prayer all in one place. It was great when I found flipping through the prayer book distracting and wasn't always sure which Canticle to read, what year it was for the lectionary, etc. Here is the Church of England's online Common Worship Daily Office and there is no clicking involved!
I also have enjoyed Phyllis Tickle's The Divine Hours which are also online here. She draws on the Book of Common Prayer, the Church Fathers, and hymns and even poetry for a fixed hour prayer all in one place. You may also find her introduction to the manual helpful too.
But over the years now, I've most enjoyed using the prayer book itself. Getting online was sometimes too much of a temptation. I'd find myself hurrying through so I could check my email before the kids woke up in the morning. Or in the evening instead of going to bed with "things from above" I'd want one last check of a few blogs. There is also a real beauty to holding a real book! So I purchased a calendar of the readings from Church Publishing. This way I know in a glance the collect, Scripture, saint for the day.
Well, that's all for now: I'm going to go now to pray the noon office while everyone is still napping! Any suggestions you may have to help with this discipline would be great to share!
Lenten Practice-Part 1: Fasting