Prayer of the Church
The Prayer of the Church is sometimes called The Divine Office.
This is the official liturgical prayer of the church, along with the mass. You can find out more about the history of this important prayer on: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liturgy_of_the_Hours
The Divine Office is the official prayer of the church, when we pray it, we join our minds, hearts, and prayer to that of Jesus and we pray the same prayers as our brothers and sisters all over the world. Priests are obliged to pray these prayers, and many deacons, consecrated men and women, and lay faithful all over the world pray these prayers regularly too. The prayers are the psalms that have been used for hundreds (thousands) of years, by Christians since the beginnings of the Church, and even before Jesus- by the Hebrew people of the old testament. Jesus would have prayed the psalms during his life here on earth. The prayers and readings accompany us throughout the liturgical seasons of the year and are accompanied by related readings and intercessions. As Christians, we have all been baptised, Priest, Prophet and King. The fact of use being baptised into the priesthood of Christ, enables us to address God with confidence in prayers of thanksgiving, praise, sacrifice and intercession.
Why is it good to pray the Prayer of the Church?
There are many reasons to pray the prayer of the Church, most of all because it unites us in a special way to the prayer of Jesus and his universal church.
Another reason is because it reminds us that we are all one body in Christ. We are not alone, and we are saved as a people of God. We are called to support one another through sharing our gifts and burdens. This is how to be holy. To be holy is to be like God, and God is never selfish, he cannot think of himself. To be holy means to think of our brothers and sisters all over the world; to pray for the living and the dead, this is the “communion of saints”.
The psalms sometimes make us say words we do not mean. Some of the psalms talk about violence, or horrible things, and other times the psalms make us say we are joyful and thankful when we do not feel that way. This is important, because our prayer is giving voice to our human condition, we are praying as part of the body of Christ, as part of the people of God, liturgical prayer is not all about you or me, it is about us. When we pray, we participate in this reality that is so much bigger than ourselves.
When we pray the Prayer of the Church out-loud in community or with friends or other members of the church, we learn an important lesson. We learn to listen. We learn to modify our rhythm, our volume, (sometimes our tune if we are singing), to fit into the rhythm, volume or tune of others. This can take practice, but the practice of listening to what others are saying and to modify ourselves to suit everybody else takes our attention away from ourselves and focuses us on community. We are a community of equals in the sight of God, and praying this way helps us practice the deeper truth of what we are: one body in Christ.
It is not necessary to pray all the hours of the Prayer of the Church, start with what you feel comfortable with. You can find free apps for your phone or purchase an abbreviated from of book… or the whole three volumes if you wish! Perhaps begin with morning and night prayer.
Lectio Divina (sacred reading) is one of the ancient spiritual practices from Mosantic tradition.
Why Lectio Divina?
God speaks to us in many ways. The main purpose of Lectio Divina is to listen to the voice of the Lord that is present in the Sacred Scripture. What is God prompting me through this passage of the Bible? As part of this beautiful journey it is advised that you have your own copy of Holy Bible with you as a companion and guide. Lectio Divina is a flexible prayer, you may do in a group or even individually and it is very easy way to pray. You first listen, note what is given and respond in a way you are directed by the Holy Spirit.
Invocation of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit Lord whom Christ promised, and whom we all have received in Baptism, will be the one to lead and guide us through Lectio Divina. “I have said these things to you while still with you, but the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you” (John 14:25-26).
How to use Lectio Divina as a form of prayer?
• Choose either the gospel of the day or the passage of the Sacred Scripture suggested to you by ‘God calls Adventure’. It is important that you choose a passage which may be between 10-15 verses.
• Find a quiet place where you can spend some time with the Lord, to listen and speak to Him. Have your Bible with you. Sit erect and make yourself comfortable. Concentrate on your breathing.
• Invoke the assistance of the Holy Spirit.
• Take the Holy Bible into your hands with reverence and love.
• Read aloud the chosen passage of the Scripture so that your ears and heart can hear the words.
• Once finished reading, recall the word or phrase that touched your heart.
• Pause for awhile and savour it, cherish the feeling and understanding.
• Read the same chosen passage again to have the fuller meaning.
• Meditate for some time and note what’s going within you. Pay attention to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. You may have the following questions if they be of help: what does this passage call me to do? What grace does this passage lead me to ask from the Lord?
• Now if you want to dialogue and talk to God follow the promptings of your heart.
• You may conclude the prayer with ‘Our Father’.
What is Adoration?
Eucharistic adoration is a form of prayer. It is basically an act of worship of Eucharistic Lord outside of the Holy Mass. The consecrated Eucharist Host is usually exposed in a Monstrance on the altar or in the adoration chapel or sometimes preserved in the Tabernacle, so that all can see and pray in the presence of Christ the Lord.
Catechism of the Catholic Church 2628: “Adoration is the first attitude of man acknowledging that he is a creature before his Creator. It exalts the greatness of the Lord who made us and the almighty power of the Saviour who sets us free from evil. Adoration is homage of the spirit to the "King of Glory," respectful silence in the presence of the "ever greater" God. Adoration of the thrice-holy and sovereign God of love blends with humility and gives assurance to our supplications.”
We long to see and meet someone whom we love most. Are you in love with Christ? If yes go to see Him and meet Him in the Adoration. One of the best gifts that Our Lord Jesus Christ left us to His Church is the Holy Eucharist, where in He makes himself present to you and me.
What do you have to do at the Adoration?
When you go to the adoration to your local parish, or adoration chapel, always keep in mind that you are in the presence of the Almighty God. As a form of respect and love to the Eucharistic Lord you should always genuflect or bow. You can kneel, sit, stand and even prostrating on the floor before the Blessed Sacrament are all appropriate forms of prayer. Do whatever is comfortable for you and let your posture reflect your worship of the King. You don’t really have to DO anything during the Adoration. You may just sit there and LOOK at JESUS while HE looks at you. Take it as you are out on a ‘DATE’ with the Lord. Take time to be with HIM. It is your personal time with CHRIST.
“The time you spend with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the best time that you will spend on earth. Each moment that you spend with Jesus will deepen your union with Him and make your soul everlastingly more glorious and beautiful in heaven, and will help bring about an everlasting peace on earth.” – St.Teresa of Calcutta
Adoration is a SOUL workout just like a jogging is for the physical Body. Have you ever noticed that you are set out for one hour workout and noticed that you feel that you are so exhausted after that first five minutes? It could be the same too with your Soul workout too. Don’t worry the more you do it the better you will feel. If you can’t make it due to the current circumstances, do not worry, remember the words of St Paul, “you are the temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor 6:19).