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daily rhythms | part 1

May 3, 2010

Aidan: The past few posts we spent talking a good deal about history, some theology and practice, I thought it might be nice to move to a few, very basic and practical posts.

One of the things I’ve noticed in getting to spend a little time with you is the rhythms that sustain your life from day to day. Would you mind talking about that a bit today?

Mike: Not at all.

I mean, I don’t think I do anything that out of the ordinary. I get up, usually do something physical, like going to the gym or riding the bike. I’ll usually eat something and spend time reading scripture and praying, asking God what he wants to tell me.

To me, that doesn’t feel that revolutionary.

However, I’ve always had a sense that I need to an individual walk with the Lord, but one that’s not done in isolation, one that’s done in community. I wonder if that’s what has been vital to my walk with the Lord.

So one way we’ve done this are the teams that I’ve worked with in the past, we all studied the same scriptures each day…we were reading the same scriptures alone in the morning. So again, there was a walking with the Lord in a very personal sense, but there was a communal aspect to it.

It’s a bit like dinner: The food that is on my plate is just for me, but everyone is eating the same meal together, sharing the same food. So in this way there can be a potent individual experience in terms of the sensory aspect of it, but it’s still communal. I’m tasting each morsel, chewing it myself, enjoying the flavor and the subtle undertones, but I’m doing this amidst people who are doing the same thing with the same meal.

So currently, the team I work with are using the Moravian prayer texts, which literally tens of millions of people around the world use each day. Really it’s just the international lectionary.

It’s a discipline I’ve used for several decades now; sharing the text. We haven’t always used the Moravian texts, that’s where we are right now, though.

Aidan: So I know you meet each morning with your team. What do those beginning times look like?

Mike: Again, nothing revolutionary. I think the key has been reading the same texts.

We start by praying together.
We usually sing a few songs together and worship as a team.
I’ll read on the texts again that everyone has already read previously in the morning.
I’ll usually talk about what I’m sensing, what God has been saying to me and other people will comment as well.
We’ll spend some more time in prayer and then jump into our work day full force.

Aidan: It’s interesting. I was having dinner with a couple on Friday night that work at another, very very large church, and they were saying each day is started at 9am with the staff at their church with prayer and scripture, but they were saying it was completely lifeless. People were there because they had to, but it seemed as if very few value the time. It made me wonder, after our conversation, 1) How many of them were starting the day with prayer and scripture on their own?, and 2) Would that time be substantively different if they had a common, shared reading both individually and communally?

Mike: I think one thing I’ve always tried to do is have these communal times with my team be an overflow of what we do individually…that somehow they connect back to that.

We were also always trying to look for where God was asking us to be more sensitive, so we would change things from time to time. At one point we re-established the monastic prayer hours, with different focal points for each prayer hour. I think St. Toms still uses some of that.

Aidan: I think that’s a good breaking point. I’d like to go deeper in some of our next post about what that means from a spiritual formation perspective. How can we learn to really listen to God in our daily times.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 3, 2010 6:10 pm

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  2. Simon Hall permalink
    May 4, 2010 3:08 pm

    Hi everyone. I’m Simon and I’m doing some work on how people in pioneering mission contexts (i.e. not always part of a big, supportive church) look after themselves. I was asking this one guy about his prayer life and he said (roughly) that he thought quiet times and the like were part of the old dualistic mindset in which God only inhabits ‘spiritual’ space and he preferred meeting God in all of life, particularly by having a drink in the pub with his friends. I must admit I was so gobsmacked (that’s surprised, US brethren and sistren) I didn’t know what to say, but it reminded me of classic books like ‘The Sacrament of the Present Moment.’

    What do other people think?

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