Written as a part of a Lent 2017 project.
It started with good intentions. It always does. This Lent, I would read a pray a Psalm in the morning, the Lord’s Prayer at lunchtime and a simple Examen in the evening. I lasted two days fulfilling the trilogy.
This week I started a new job. My routines have changed and my brain is ready to implode trying to take everything on board. Giving myself time and space pray at lunchtime, in a very busy and messy office as we get ready to move out at the end of the week, hasn’t happened. Nor have I stayed alert enough to remember how to pray an Examen before bed.
I have turned to the Psalms at the start of most (not all) days. That’s the easy one, opening my Bible at the bookmark in my Bible and reading through them in turn. But I don’t know if I’m praying, or just reading. I don’t know if using the contemporary Message translation devalues what I’m doing. And I don’t know how to respond when I don’t agree with the Psalmist.
Psalm 4:3: ‘He listens the split second I call to him.’
Psalm 4:8: ‘For you, God, have put my life back together.’
Is that the God I know, the God I believe in? Why would that God respond to David but not me?
And then it’s time for breakfast, and to dash for the train to work.
Reading a Psalm is quick. Exploring what I think isn’t. That’s a kind of prayer, a direct link to God, that needs to be engagement not automation. It needs time and space that I feel short of especially starting a new job and a new morning routine. It’s no use to me praying three times a day as a lip service habit. So I’ve got to create that time and space for me to do it at least once a day, and do it ‘well’.
How do you pray when it’s no longer your day job? After three and a half years working at Tearfund and Christian Aid, Joey is starting a new job at LGBT Organisation Stonewall. Joey blogs and tweets (@joeyknock) about faith, LGBTQ culture, masculinity, Disney, and Lorraine Kelly. Seaside walks in Southend make him happy.