People have prayed at fixed hours for centuries. These moments can be called sacred pauses, the daily office, or the divine hours. The number of times each day varies from three to four to seven. Honoring God by honoring the hours connect us to the divine and increases our awareness to the movement of the spirit in our lives.
I invite your comments as we honor the movement of the rhythm of each day as we Pause and learn the lesson of that hour (background and specific themes for the featured hour) and stretch and grow (questions to ponder and practices to try)
I start off well with morning prayer, full of good intentions to bring my heart to God throughout the day. But in reality I get distracted by life, interrupted by other voices, and pulled in many directions. The world’s gold standard – multitasking – glitters and attracts my attention, so I wander away from God instead of centering on Him.
Perhaps that is why this series about pausing is so important to me. I know deep down my attention is on the world, my ego and my accomplishments, not on the One who created me.
The second time to pause is Midmorning.
Pause and Listen to the Lesson of the Hour
Midmorning is a time for a quick break to count your blessings. The day is still young with space yet to get work done. Wiederkehr borrows a line from Emily Dickinson to describe this hour “‘We dwell in possibility.’ The opportunities of the day are numberless. In the midst of all these possibilities, then, we try to be aware of the Spirit’s abiding presence.”
Wiederkehr calls this the “Blessing Hour.” When we grow in mindfulness, we see the blessings throughout our day -the ones we ignored or barely acknowledged when trying to juggle fourteen gazillion balls in the air at one time.
“Let your liveliness shine on us, and bless the work we do, bless the work of our hands”. -Psalm 90:17
Stretch and Grow
I find it difficult to even remember to pause midmorning -taking a moment to stretch and stop to glance out the window at a puffy cloud. I close my eyes briefly inhaling and exhaling slowly three times. I feel alive and grateful for the blessing of work - the sacredness of work – and honoring this hour I value the privilege and possibilities in work. I breathe in strength for the rest of the day. Kahlil Gibran writes, “When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music.”
Here is a prayer from Wiederkehr’s book for the midmorning pause:
The newness of morning lingers as the day wears slowly on. Lovingly behold the work that my hands, heart and mind have achieved thus far. Receive it as part of my morning prayer. Let it be my love made visible. In this midmorning hour enlighten me that I may see the value of pausing to behold the blessings that surround me. Anoint my beginning efforts and give me a new heart to continue my journey thought this day. When discouragement sets in, remind me that I dwell in possibility. In Christ’s name I pray.
“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths or the turning inwards in prayer for five short minutes.” (Etty Hillesum)