|My prayer room altar, complete w/incense.|
I converted my tiny 9’x15’ home office—which I never used as an office, anyway—into a prayer room, and set up a small altar with candles and a cross in front of my wall of icons. Taking cues from Beck, last week I went out and purchased the materials to make my own set of prayer beads. I now use them for my centering prayer routine (see below). For the crucifix I chose the San Damiano Cross, which inspired and initiated the ministry of St. Francis of Assisi. It is an iconic (in the sense that it is an icon) crucifix that depicts a poor, humble, broken Christ, surrounded by figures from the Gospel narratives.
|The set of prayer beads I made last week.|
After sitting down and lighting a charcoal of resin frankincense, this is the current layout of my morning prayer routine (based in part on Stookey's prayer book mentioned above):
1) Gloria Patri
2) Introductory Reflection—this reading is included in Stookey’s material.
3) Opening Prayer
4) Centering Prayer—for this, I use my rosary. My adapted rosary prayer follows this format:
a. Invitatory Bead: Gloria Patri
b. Cruciform Beads: “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.”
c. Weeks Beads: Deut. 6:5 + Lev. 19:18 + Matt. 5:44
5) Prayer for Illumination
6) Psalm—for the psalm I use The Revised Grail Psalms: A Liturgical Psalter, by Abbot Gregory J. Polan, OSB. Gregory is the Abbot of Conception Abbey, a Benedictine monastery just a couple hours north of Kansas City. I have visited the abbey a few times, and have always enjoyed my stays there, particularly the way the brothers and fathers chant the Psalter. My particular edition of this book features the musical notation devised for chanting by the monks at Conception.
7) OT, Epistle, and Gospel Readings—these usually follow the lectionary.
8) Silent contemplation—a time for reflection on the readings and prayer for others.
9) Acts Appropriate to the Day of the Week—this is a short reflective prayer that is specific to the current day of the week.
10) Lord’s Prayer
11) Gloria Patri
The whole endeavor takes about 30 minutes from start to finish (or roughly the time it takes to burn through one charcoal’s worth of incense).
I know many folks think it unusual for a Mennonite to be such an avid liturgical pray-er, but I find the liturgy itself to be (potentially) incredibly freeing. And the Anabaptists are all about freedom, right?
Do you have a prayer routine? Have you developed your own form of prayer, or do you use someone else’s?