Friday, 22 August 2014

Daily Quiet Time or Prayer or . . .

Office or study or . . .

It doesn't matter what you call it the issue is that if you do it you do it right and this is where it gets hard (as if doing it wasn't hard enough)!

When I was a student there were a bunch of really dedicated Christians in the Christian Union(CU). They got together and did their daily study, getting together each morning and having their 'Quiet Time'. They would read their Bible study notes and the passage set for the day.

Another group were the Navigators - a disciplined bunch who would work through various themed programmes - using the Topical Memory system these guys would learn a new passage each day and would test each other on the verses that had passed. These were the storm troopers of the CU, they learned their stuff and could be found stopping students in the corridor and asking them (in various ways) what they thought of Jesus and Christianity.

Then came another group who were a bit hit and miss with their Quiet Times. They tended to start the month well and slowly slide into variable observance. This was the group I was usually part off and it was not because I didn't see the benefit of reading the Bible or didn't want to spend time reading, thinking and praying but because I had a life. I can hear some say that the life I had was probably indisciplined and you may well be right, but things got in the way and the best plans and highest intentions were binned because I'd be out all night praying with people or discussing the Bible and arguing with the atheists (always been there) or doing other stuff.

What I noticed was that then, and now, that some who did their daily wotsit religiously, by which I mean, legalistically and without much enthusiasm or joy. They ticked the box and 'did their duty' and as much as I applaud their commitment (would that there were more who were committed) I was, and am, sad that some do it as drear and dread duty rather than as a place of sanity and a source of joy.

I made a promise when I was ordained that I would do my daily office - that is my morning and evening prayer - and this promise, and the keeping of if, is a commitment and a challenge. A commitment because, like feeding the cats, it is something I have to do because I need to feed the spiritual man (and I promised God and a pointyhat - not one and the same thing I'd do it) and a challenge because it requires a discipline - that's why I do it the minute I wake, getting up earlier to ensure it happens before the demands and distractions of the day conspire to distract me - and it needs to be something I want to do.

So here's a little plea to those who stumble across these words:

If you are a Christian you need to feed the spiritual person every day - lest they become emancipated and eventually starve.

If you are a Christian you need to find some joy in being so, if it is a joyless, lifeless and draining experience then slowly, but most assuredly, you're living in a time stamped existence - one that leads to being an ex-Christian!

If you don't take time out to consider the world around you and the needs nearer to you and to regard them with spiritual eyes and listen regarding them with anointed ears then how can you make sense and pray intelligently and form a world view and a rational understanding that fits your faith view and satisfies those of no faith?

So my plea is this:
Read your Bible
Understand what's happening in the world, work, home, church, elsewhere
Use your brain
Use your tongue to talk to God (and people)
Get excited
Be passionate (or as passionate as you can be)

Do this and you'll find yourself craving time where you can dialogue, reason and rejoice in being a person of faith - and you'll find people want to be doing it with you.

Happy Friday

No comments: