Soooooooo, I had a totally different post planned for today about discernment. And then...today happened. It was not a good day, work-wise. The semester starts Monday, and as is our new normal, we're all running around putting out fires that NEVER start back in June. They only start 2 days before classes begin. Every.Single.Time.
I felt frustrated. I felt stressed out and harried. I felt like I was forgetting things from moment-to-moment, as is always the case when I'm trying to do too many things at the same time. I developed a headache.
As I popped an ibuprofen, I thought of the text string I had with Sam last night. As we were talking about the stress of the new semester approaching (Sam is starting a brand new job as a teacher in a combined 1st/2nd grade classroom!) I said that I was really feeling deep in my soul how important prayer was going to be for me this semester. So that I wouldn't sink back down to the abyss of anxiety and depression and happened last fall (we will heretofore refer to the fall of 2016 as "That Semester" and shudder whenever we hear it's name). I had an official "Fall 2016 Managing Stress Series" last year for a reason. It's painful to reflect back on.
At any rate, back to prayer. Sam, my sister, and myself are in the midst of a 30 day yoga challenge for stress relief and relaxation.Which may not seem to have anything to do with prayer, but stay with me! :0 I mentioned to Sam how I longed to get back into a routine with praying the Liturgy of the Hours, but it's just SO difficult to stay consistent with it (footnote: the Liturgy of the Hours is the official prayer of the Church; it is made up of hymns, psalms, and other short prayers relating to the liturgical season and/or feast day). She and I both then commiserated on just how many times we've failed miserably at keeping up with Morning and Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours. Then I had a eureka moment:
"We should do a 30 day challenge for *that*!"
Right?! For 30 days, we'll endeavor to keep up with this form of prayer. Now, Sam and I both agreed that Morning Prayer? It's just not happening. We're realistic, you see. We're up by 6 (Sam even earlier than that), I have kids out the door by 7:20, Sam has a 40 minute commute, we both have classes first thing...Morning Prayer just isn't going to fit in there. Doesn't mean we can't pray a morning offering, but official Morning Prayer would only make us cry. So what we thought we would try is for 30 days, praying Evening and Night prayer. Something to look forward to after our long days, and both are designed to be SO soothing for weary souls. Would you like to join us?
If you own Christian Prayer, or the 4 volume set of the Liturgy of the Hours, you're all set. If you'd like to use an online tool, there is the iBreviary app, which is available for both Android and ios, or you can use Universalis. I have the Divine Office app, but I know that isn't for sale currently while they work out a copyright situation. It doesn't matter what you use, as long as it allows you to pray!
We're going to start Monday, 8/28. I can have accountability posts in here from time-to-time, so we can check in with each other and see how it's going. It made me feel SO much better to think of this today in midst of my Nightmare Day From The Pits Of The Evil One.
If you'd like to join us, or just have thoughts generally on helpful forms of prayer for stressful times, please comment below!