Thursday, 18 November 2010

Here we go again...

We went away at the weekend up to Newcastle to visit some friends. It was a lovely trip and it was great to see them. Whilst we were up there they took us to Durham Cathedral, Sanctuary21 in Durham and Lindisfarne. All excellent places. The conversation turned to celtic christianity and monasticism and also how The Salvation Army fits into that.

The Salvation Army is, in many ways, an early form of neo-monasticism. It is an "order" of believers who take on a burden above and beyond that required to be a Christian.

A big part of Celtic Christianity, Monasticism and, at least the early, Salvation Army is a daily rhythm. Bizarrely we tend to have a dislike of things like a liturgical calendar or whatever, but many people actually swear by such a rhythm to their life. Having prayers and bible passages that you can recite just like that has it's benefit.

Also, by taking up such a rhythm, there is a visible constant in your life through your ups and downs, a gently reminder of the constant presence of Christ. No matter how your day, your week, your month or even your year (couldn't resist a friends quote there) the prayers are the same, gently building your faith and reminding you that the big picture is much bigger than a single person.

Those of you who have followed my blog for a long time will probably recognise a recurring theme here (hence the title of the post). I keep coming back to this idea, yet always fail to actually put it into practice.

I like the old Salvation Army terms for this practice, they used to call it Knee Drills (for prayer) and Sword Drills (for Bible reading/study). Much as other drills, they sometimes don't appear to have much link to reality - remember the drills performed by Daniel in The Karate Kid? What about the daft things that soldiers do tossing guns around? It's about making certain actions completely second nature. So it should be with prayer and study.

So, I'm once again having a crack at this. I've started reading a Bible in one year plan, although I've decided to start on the correct date than from the beginning. I'm also planning on at least 3 separate prayer times through the day - Morning, Noon and Evening. At the moment I'm not sure what prayers I'll say at what point, as it's important that at least some of those prayers be consistent, so that they can be learnt. I'll need to do some research, but I'll get back to you when I've got a plan.

Pray for me that I stick with it and establish a pattern of prayer and bible reading!

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