I’ve been reading In Constant Prayer by Robert Benson as of late. It is a great little book, which by the way, you can get for $2.99 at Ollies, focusing on the daily office. If you don’t know what that is, it is basically a set prayer or set of set prayers that one prays everyday, typically at the same times everyday. Rather than use random words, the office points us to God by using biblical phrasing concentrating on God and his priorities over our own. It is an ancient practice that has been followed by many, many Christians of all stripes. Unfortunately, it has been dropped by many American evangelical denominations and individuals, adding to the lack of historicity in the American evangelical church. It connects us to the people of the past by praying together with those we have in the present for the future of those after us.
The book is great and I sincerely recommend it. I could give you many, many quotes, but I’ll give you this one I just read.
“The office is just a collection of words. But words are powerful things. Who knows what a single one of them might do to us over time?
In the beginning was the Word- and here is everything else now, including me and you and all that there is, seen and unseen, all of it alive with the life of that single word. From which has flowed grace upon grace.
Words are powerful things.
The daily office offers me rich, powerful, and profound words that can change me and shape me. Words that have been given as a gift through the ages to me and to you. Words that can grow in me and give voice to the groaning of my heart when I cannot. Words that can teach me to be attentive to and to perceive the meaning of the work of God. Words that will lead me into a deeper and deeper communion with God.
But not if I do not say them.”
I bought this book because I want to learn more about prayer. I want to because I’m learning that I need to pray. I think for too long I thought prayers had to be sporadic, personal, and off-the-cuff if they were to be “authentic”. Now I’m beginning to rethink that.
The reason I like this small section is because it tells me the truth that I have to say the words. I can’t think about praying them. I can’t talk about praying them. I have to pray them.