Resisting Performance in Prayer

One of the greatest treasures I embrace from my Evangelical/Charismatic roots is bringing the piety and passion of my heart into the prayer moment. As wonderful as that is, that is not the ONLY purpose of the Office. 

One of the realities of living in the intense spirituality that accompanies those of us who feel called to bind up the brokenhearted and bringing freedom to those who are in captivity, is that that kind of work will burn you out. Spiritual warfare creates a loss of personal energy. If all prayer does is demand MORE personal energy, we will do it less and less. Then we will drift into things that seem like rest because they require nothing from us but yielding, and they carry their own energy -- things like sin.

This is one of the central reasons I am committed to praying the Offices day in and day out. I don't have to perform or bring my best...I just have to show up. The Offices themselves carry a kind of spirituality that transcends emotion and intellect and they hold us in life without demanding tons of internal energy. Reading the naked texts; praying the rich prayers and collects doesn't require spontaneity or tons of passion. Praying the psalms--these are things that don't demand emotive response. The Offices are a naturally supernatural, wholistic approach to life and faith that are like a good workout for the soul. You get a workout--it's a little hard to get through in the moment, but you just feel better and think better throughout the day.

The stories of men and women who are deeply committed to the Kingdom of God and end up getting lost in the morass of personal or family failure are too well known to us. Let's be a people who hear and respond to the deep ache of the world with the Gospel of deliverance and transformation without losing our way or imploding emotionally. What we do day in and day out in the Order will help us here.