Prayer is not just about persevering when you want something; it’s about being present when your world seems to be falling apart. During three years I spent at Cliff College I came to appreciate the practice of morning prayers and opposed people who wished to make morning prayers an optional part of life in the community.
Structured prayer can contribute to a dualistic way of seeing the world- and the “prayer is what we do in chapel at six o’clock in the morning” attitude isn’t helpful. But setting aside a specific time for prayer can be a powerful practice, it holds you in times of doubt and it strengthens you in times of challenge.
The monastic practice of morning (matins) and evening (compline) prayer is not a dualistic practice, but rather serves to remind Christians that God is with them throughout the day and watches over them at night. When it comes to the discipline of prayer I have found two things helpful:
- Praying with others makes us accountable to them and serves as a good reminder that prayer is not about “us and God”, it is about “us, the world, and God”
- Praying the Daily Office is also helpful as it gives our prayer life structure and when we struggling to pray it gives us words.