Saturday, December 13, 2014

Ritual...we all have one!

Henry David Thoreau lived in the woods to discover what he already knew to be true, human beings live through ritual. Whether it is driving the exact same route through town to Church every Sunday, or flipping light switches is a particular order when we open our business on Monday morning, each of us has a ritual we follow.  Most of us have several rituals that are unique to certain events in our life such as work rituals, family rituals, vacation rituals, and it seems EVERYONE has morning rituals. Have you ever thought about your morning ritual?

I’m sure you have some sort of morning ritual, but does it include morning prayers? One common mistake I have noticed in many “morning rituals” is the lack of a dedicated Morning Prayer component. Many people desire to pray in the morning, something taught through the centuries as being central of a Christian life, but they can’t find the time to squeeze it in to their morning ritual, simply because it isn’t PART of their morning ritual.

In the Didache (Teaching of the Holy Apostles to the Nations) we were taught:
Neither pray as the hypocrites; but as the Lord commanded in His Gospel, thus pray: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. Give us today our daily (needful) bread, and forgive us our debt as we also forgive our debtors. And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one; for Yours is the power and the glory for ever. Thrice in the day thus pray.
This basic ritual of prayer, what we Orthodox Christians call a “Prayer Rule”, might be just the thing you need to successfully include morning prayers into your morning ritual.

As we are quickly approaching the Feast of Christmas, and as we have been invited by the Church to increase our daily prayer to God, this is the perfect opportunity for you to rethink your morning ritual to include morning prayers. Give your spiritual father a call and ask him to establish a “Prayer Rule” for you to include in your DAILY morning ritual.

Then....go home and, following the advice of your spiritual father, begin following your new morning ritual. It will take a few weeks for the new ritual to take root in your life, but once established it will feel as if you’ve always “done it that way” and you’ll be living a new life in Christ.

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