In my back yard here in Houston I have stately Queen Palm that we planted right after we moved in a few years ago. It has grown very fast and very tall. Today is Monday and my day off, or as I'm trying to make it more and more, my Sabbath day. Today in Houston it is also remarkably cooler that normal and I'm sitting outside on my back porch spending my morning in reading, contemplation, prayer, and just general enjoyment of the day. And it's not hot. Or humid. Or sticky. Or put your least favorite Houston weather characteristic here. I'm watching the Queen Palm, and it's a little windier than normal. When the wind hits it just right, the fronds wave majestically toward its beckoning direction. When the wind is full force, it turns my back yard into a cathedral of sound that invites me to look up and listen as the pine trees weave a beautiful tune among their branches. (eek, I'm starting to sound like a poet). In this moment the wind is supreme above the din of the neighbors hammer, the lawn service's mower, and the occasional traffic on the street in front of my house.
For me this is an intersection of the Divine amongst the daily. I am naturalist, that is I can feel really close to God and seem to focus, pray, worship, contemplate best in the outdoors. Especially on a cool or cold day with my decaf chai tea or my favorite Starbucks blend, whichever I happen to feel a fancy for.
I am currently reading a book by Robert Benson on the discipline of the Daily Offices, or fixed times of prayer, if you will. An ancient practice that has it's precedent even from the pages of Scripture as we see in the prayer lives of David, Jesus, and other Biblical personalities. Jewish roots that have been passed down through centuries, kept alive in the early years and first centuries of the church, but practiced now by very few believers, and evangelicals at that.
I recently discovered this ancient discipline and began to learn about it on a recent sabbatical. I found a Book of Common Prayer at a close-by seminary and purchased it (and I'm not even Catholic or Episcopal). I am trying to make prayer a better discipline in my life, not just requests, but praying back Scripture to God and acknowledging prayer as a time spent in Abba's presence.
I'm convicted we don't pray enough. At least we don't really pray. Or maybe I'm just talking about me and you actually have prayer figured out. Please write a book if you do. We spend time asking things focused on what we want, but not enough time praying as a blessing to God. The Daily Offices have helped me be more focused for that purpose. Benson's book is one in a series on the ancinet practices that I've stumbled on and am currently trying to obtain the rest. I found it on the 5 for $5 rack at Mardel's. Best dollar I ever spent. He does a good job explaining the Offices for an evangelical like me, but really talks about the discipline as not getting into a routine of it, but learning to use it as a tool to live a life of constant prayer. Hence the name of the book, In Constant Prayer.
Laerning to live a life of constant and fixed prayer is new to me. The Offices are a huge blessing and help. Fixed times of prayer are becoming for me a time to re-focus at key times of the day to make sure I am about God's purpose whatever I may be doing. It also just gives me time with my Heavenly Father.
For me, on Mondays that are particularly cool in Houston, when the morning light and shadows dance around in my backyard in harmony with the wind, while reading more about the importance of prayer in our lives, the Divine has intersected the daily.
Where does that intersection happen for you? I'd be intersted to hear from you and find out.