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Struggling with the Power of Prayer.

Have you ever felt that conflict inside you where you believe that God can do anything, but that he can’t?

And then someone tells you that you are a bad Christian because you have that conflict and you don’t “Have enough faith?”

B.S.

This is reality people. Anyone who says otherwise are lying to themselves and to you. I can totally at once believe that Jesus is Lord of the Universe, as well as my personal Saviour and friend, (to use a myriad of Christianese jargon) and I can also not believe that things will change. Simple as that.

And you believe it, too.

To work through this, to move, ultimately, to hope, I’m trying to concentrate on a few things:

Thomas is known as the doubter, because of John 20:

24Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”

26A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

28Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”29Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

But no one ever remembers this line, from John 11. Jesus is heading back to Judea, where it is quite possible that he will be killed (he doesn’t -not yet anyway):

16Then Thomas (called Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

Thomas is the first one ready to die for Jesus. No one remembers that one. He didn’t bring the show like Peter; he just decided that he was going all the way with Jesus.

Also,

In Acts 12, Peter miraculously escapes prison and goes to a house of people that are praying for his release. When he shows up, people don’t even believe that’s its him, that this must be his angel. (whatever that means)

They were praying precisely for what happened, and didn’t believe it when it did happen.

Finally, one of the most profound prayers in the Bible, found in Mark 9:24:

I believe; help my unbelief.

Jesus had just told the man that he (Jesus) could do all for those who believe. That was his answer. Jesus healed his boy – even revived him from the dead.

If Jesus will do that for that man, with that prayer, I can come with the same prayer and the same hope.

Hope is a tough thing to focus on, but I’m trying.

WK

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This entry was written by Will, posted on September 27, 2009 at 10:01 pm, filed under Christianity, Life, Spiritual Disciplines and tagged , , , , . Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink.

A Quick Word

Christ, as a light
illumine and guide me.
Christ, as a shield
overshadow me.
Christ under me;
Christ over me;
Christ beside me
on my left and my right.
This day be within and without me,
lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Be in the heart of each to whom I speak;
in the mouth of each who speaks unto me.
This day be within and without me,
lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Christ as a light;
Christ as a shield;
Christ beside me
on my left and my right.

– The Canticle of the Northumbria Community’s Morning Prayer in the Daily Office.

Go in Peace.

WK

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This entry was written by Will, posted on October 24, 2008 at 7:21 am, filed under Spiritual Disciplines and tagged , , . Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink.

The Daily Office

9 Days since last post. oops.

Man, it is hard to change one’s daily routine.

For the last 2 weeks, I have been actively pursuing this new Rule of Life that I have adopted. What has risen as the backbone of the rule is the Daily Office.

The Daily Office, that is daily time-set prayer, is one of the oldest disciplines used by Christians. The Psalms refer to it (e.g. Psalm 119:164), Luke writes about it in Acts (e.g. Acts 3:1), The Didache (the oldest Christian Liturgy) mentions it, The Church Fathers wrote about it (e.g. Clement of Alexandria, Origen and Tertullian) and move into the Roman Rite and Eastern Church to Now.

The Office I’m working from is the Celtic Office, found online at the Northumbrian Community’s website , a community devoted to living a monastic lifestyle. Being an ethnic Celt, I thought this one would work – plus it is free and introduced to me by my local monastic sounding-board, George Sweetman.

Devotion to the Daily Office is hard, and I’m only at 2 of the hours (there’s like, 7).  What I have found is this: I’ve found that in adopting this rule, I’ve had to start going to bed earlier, because having to focus for about 30-45 minutes of day-starting is a tough task, especially when you are a night-hawk that works in the mornings.  I think I might start doing this outside to help wake me up. But here’s the thing: structuring a daily life around set prayer times really helps orient your thinking. I’m someone whose first hour of being awake greatly influences the rest of the day.  Every morning I finish my first hour awake with these words: 

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you,
wherever He may send you.
May He guide you through the wilderness,
protect you through the storm.
May He bring you home rejoicing
at the wonders He has shown you.
May He bring you home rejoicing
once again into our doors.

Being well-rested and going forward into the world with these words around me really centers my spirit for the day.  These words just hold me in a way that moves beyond cognition. It moves me beyond sentimentality.  It moves me into vision.

WK

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This entry was written by Will, posted on May 26, 2008 at 9:51 pm, filed under Life, Spiritual Disciplines and tagged , , , , . Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink.

Will’s Rule of Life

So I just finished The Sacred Way, by Tony Jones, to point me in the way of correct spiritual discipline.  After looking into the histories, theologies, and practices of different disciplines, I think I’ve found the ones I’m going to adopt.  What’s more, I need to develop my rule of life.

A ‘rule’, for those who don’t know, is a set of precepts that guide conduct/action.  The Desert Fathers, a formative group of Christian Ascetics situated in the deserts of the Middle East that lasted from the 4th Century A.D., until the 7th (ish) set out the Rule of the Master in which they espoused service, humility, silence, solitude and contemplation.  The next most famous Rule is the Rule of Benedict, which some would say is the basis for all of Christian Monasticism.

So am I going to become a Monk?  No. Certainly not. I’m getting married in 94 days!  But I am going to start living an orderly life.

So far, the Rule looks like this:

The Rule of William Kinchlea.

Daily:

Every morning, I’ll do Matins (from the Daily Office – pre-written prayer, based on the psalms) and 300 Jesus Prayers.  Every evening, I’ll do Compline (again, from the Daily Office).

Weekly:

I’ll spend at least 1 hour meditating and praying through an icon.  During the Summer, Friday-Sunset-to-Saturday-Sunset Sabbath will be too difficult, traveling between 3 cities on weekends and working on the Wedding, so I’m going to dedicate 2 hours a day to not working.  7×2 = 14 hours – pretty much the waking hours of a Saturday.  When the Summer’s over, this will change. 

Monthly:

At least, once a month, I’ll walk the prayer labyrinth at St. John’s Convent, down the road from me.

That’s the structure in which I will begin my rule, starting tomorrow.  If anything sounds weird in there (What’s a Jesus Prayer? for example), don’t worry, as I’m going to explain each one of these in time.  

*NB* Now, Service is an essential part of Spiritual Discipline, but I want to discover what that service will be in time, through prayer.  We’ll see together.

WK

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This entry was written by Will, posted on May 6, 2008 at 5:27 pm, filed under Life, Spiritual Disciplines and tagged , , , , . Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink.

Living Biblically

As preparation for my foray into Spiritual Discipline, I read A Year’s (plus) of Memoirs from A.J. Jacobs, entitled The Year of Living Biblically. I was very I happy that I did.

Let my paint a picture:

A.J. Jacobs is an Obsessive-Compulsive, Germophobic, Secular Jew who works at Esquire magazine. In an effort to follow up from his book about reading the Encyclopedia Britannica, Jacobs decides to follow the Bible as literally as possible.  From the sounds of it, he does an admiral job.

Now Jacobs, being Jewish, devotes four fifths of the book to the Old Testament and one fifth to the New Testament, despite spending two thirds learning the Old versus the one third learning the New Testament in his year of living biblically.  Frankly, I don’t see that as a problem, since there are considerably more rules in the Old vs. the New.

What I love about this book is that it really goes into the beauty of discipline. Over and over, while observing even the craziest of laws (e.g. not wearing clothes of mixed fibre) Jacobs learns how one can see joy in freedom from choice just as much as in freedom of choice.  By submitting himself to a world of hardcore rules (most of which can easily be seen as ridiculous in our day and age), Jacobs discovers a world of tradition, of history, of mysticism.

I feel like this book can really help both believers (Christian and Jewish – heck, probably Muslim too) as well as agnostics/atheists see the benefit of discipline in life.  Its just that cool.

Next book: Tony Jones’ The Sacred Way.

WK

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This entry was written by Will, posted on May 2, 2008 at 11:45 pm, filed under books, Spiritual Disciplines and tagged , , , , , . Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink.

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