D.L. Mayfield

living in the upside-down kingdom

Filtering by Tag: common prayer

Feeble

Today, I read this in Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals (sorry if it seems like I can't stop talking about this resource--it is just so good).

What we do is very little. But it is like the little boy with a few loaves and fishes. Christ took that   little and increased it. He will do the rest. What we do is so little that we may seem to be constantly failing. But so did he fail. He met with apparent failure on the Cross. But unless the seeds fall into the earth and die, there is no harvest --- Dorothy Day

Well, that certainly puts things in perspective, doesn't it? I am so quick to dramatize situations (There are so many poor people! Why is nobody working with refugees? Fix all the things!) and then I turn around and feel like a miserable failure for trying in my own small way to be a part of the redemption.

Obviously, I need to get over myself.

Another quote from the reading today: Give us patience and humility with our feeble efforts at faithfulness.

Amen.

Also, a sense of humor never hurt anyone. All of this talk about bread made me think of the Hunger Games (see what I did there? Smooth transition). So I will leave you with this (decidedly unspiritual) image, found via Pinterest:

Aaaand, I just can't help myself. I just don't like Gale and his violent rhetoric:

The Hunger Games and Oscar Romero

It is really hard to explain my love for the Hunger Games to people who haven't read the books (BTW, I read the books long ago, back when the only people reading them were actual Young Adults and some random YWAMers). I am a pacifist, so the preface of kid-killing-kids did throw me off. But, as Heather so eloquently writes, that isn't really what the books are about at all. The relationships are wonderful, and so is the critique of our modern society. I loved it. (PS. A real [i.e. smarter] pacifist reviews the movie here. excellent). I saw the movie last night, and it was a slightly different experience. To pay money and wait in long lines to watch kids be killed (by other kids) made it all a bit too meta for my taste. It felt too much like we were the capitol. I couldn't shake the feeling.

Plus, for a team Peeta gal like myself . . . well, after watching the movie you can begin to realize why people might be team Gale. The Katniss/Peeta bit didn't do it for me. Which is a shame, because Peeta is one of my top male protagonists in literature (I also dearly, dearly love Edmund from the Narnia books, and Ronald Weasly). Peeta reminds me a lot of my own husband: pacifist tendencies, self-deprecating, cute, and funny.

 

 

OK, enough talk about movies. I am truly loving this week of prayer (although I have forgotten a few times, the 3x a day of liturgical prayer have been awesome) and I wanted to share something from the reading today on http://commonprayer.net. Today there was a little bio of Oscar Romero, and it quoted some of his writings on the kingdom of God (it is rather long, but worth the read!):

 

"It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view. The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts: it is beyond our vision. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is the Lord’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us. No sermon says all that should be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession brings perfection. No pastoral visit brings wholeness. No program accomplishes the Church’s mission. No set of goals and objectives includes everything. That is what we are about. We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted knowing they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that affects far beyond our capabilities. We cannot do everything and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very, very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest. We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the Master Builder and the worker. We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future that is not our own.” (emphasis mine).

 

Isn't that inspiring? I need to take a step back every now and again. Because I want to do my small things very, very well indeed.

The Great Lent Experiment: Week 5--Stress

The no spending week was a little difficult. A lack of options can be frustrating, and like a bad diet can make you want to go out and binge. In all honesty, I did cheat several times this week. One: we bought scones and cinnamon rolls and coffee after my 15k. Because come on! I deserved it (see my American thinking here?). Also my mom gave me money for H&M for my birthday and I bought a pair of pants and a shirt.

But other than that, it was time to get creative with our free time. We went to the library a lot. Used our passes at the children's museum. Went for walks, made coffee for lots of people over here. It was a busy week, and not really having any excuse to go out and buy anything actually fit in rather well.

This is an area of my life I want to continually scrutinize and give up control over. I think doing a week like this periodically would be very, very good for me.

And now, on to this week: Stress!

Ok, no joke: I am excited about this week. Just last night I finished my last class and so I am heading into Spring Break mode. The anxieties in my life right now are all over the map, some being very small (I need to shampoo my carpets!) to very big (we have no idea what we will be doing in 5 months!). I am having a hard time sleeping. I am having a hard time being a pleasant conversationalist. I am a little stressed.

But how do you give up stress? You focus on something else. Specifically, Jesus.

I have always been terrible at praying, with my thoughts often turning to the random and mundane instead of the spiritual and uplifting. But I am excited for this week to be centered around structured prayer. The hubs and I bought Common Prayer and we are going to be doing morning prayers (also know as daily), midday prayers, and evening prayers. Not too overwhelming, but a nice bit of structure for this evangelical.

[note: you don't have to buy the Common Prayer (a Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals) to participate. They have a great website with the prayers for every day listed, along with scripture readings. Go here to check it out].

This week really is going to be perfect, as we have some big decisions to make and need a ton of prayer. Plus, I will be going to the coast for a couple of days (without the hubs or baby--eek!) and am excited for the chance to pray more (case in point: while trying to do the daily prayer together this morning, the hubs and I were interrupted by a screeching baby clinging to our legs, one who was very tired due to waking up at 11pm and 5:30am--may He protect us through the storm of toddlerhood indeed).

So here is the recap for the next week:

Week five: Stress Use this week as a chance to get rid of stress, and to identify those areas of your life where you are holding on to anxiety. The most crucial element of this week is to find a time to spend in prayer for significant portions of the day. As we learn to relinquish control and let God be in charge, we will no longer let our lives be ruled by stress.

Practical Fasts: Commit to picking a space for every day where you commit to spend time in prayer. Pick one day to be a Sabbath for you and your family and find your rest in Him. (Variations on the Sabbath abound–we would encourage a time for prayer and joy and rest and solitude, whatever that might look like for your family).

Prayer: Use resources like the book of Common Prayer for ideas on when and what to pray.

How was no spending week? Do you have any resources for times of structured prayer? I would love to hear them!

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