I was thinking about the phrase from the Lord's Prayer: "Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil." In this prayer we are asking God to direct us away from future temptations that would cause us to stumble into the sins that "so easily beset us" (as we would hope any good navigation program to route us around trouble on the road ahead).
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.
As we pray the Psalms we often pray things that seem obscure and inapplicable to our personal lives. This is when we should shift into the awareness that we are praying AS the Body of Christ, speaking for the Body the prayers that have filled the lungs of the Church since her inception.
One of the dangers of praying the Office two times a day is praying the Office two times a day in a rote kind of way. The opposite of "rote" is NOT stirring up some internal passion or by grasping a pressured focus that can produce spiritual hemorrhoids, but a pausing and waiting, refusing to do something just to do it.
Remember that one central focus of praying the Psalms is that it is not just PERSONAL, but corporate--these are OUR prayers, which means there are times we resonate with what is being said and times we don't.
Remember that a sacramental imagination (over against a Protestant imagination) refocuses the "agent" of activity from us (the participating humans) to God.
One of the potential dangers of the Daily Office is the will's role in it. We "will" to pray--which can be too strong and actually dampen the effects of the prayer leading to pride over the fact that we DID pray.
On the issue of lament...I'm convinced this is one of the great absences of modern Evangelical faith that must be recaptured. However, it is not a simple issue. I know we know this, but it’s not what we know but what we keep saying that sticks…
I want to remind us that KNOWING what and why we are doing is helpful, but not necessarily the most important aspect of what we doing. DOING is more important than KNOWING.
Here is a beautiful prayer that reminds us that we cannot live as we should without the help of God himself:
This morning's reading is from Numbers 17 where the leaders of Israel brought their walking sticks that represented their individual tribes and laid them before God. These were pieces of wood that were once alive but were now dead. God touches one of them and this dead piece of wood brimmed with life: buds, blossoms and ripe almonds (nourishment).