In my post last week I mentioned explaining a bit more about the Seven Sacred Pauses. What I have on the subject is very limited knowledge, I just heard of it in a book I read last month: ‘7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess” by Jen Hatmaker. (i give it 4 stars.) Everything that Jen Hatmaker says about the Seven Sacred Pauses she credits to a book by Macrina Wiederkehr, entitled “Seven Sacred Pauses: Living Mindfully Through the Hours of the Day.” I haven’t yet read that book, but I have ordered it and will be!
I can only go so deep in talking about the Pauses, because my knowledge is so limited, but I want to share my experiences through this month, and I thought it would be good to start with an explanation.
First off, I suck. I had no idea it would be so hard to just stop for a few minutes, 7 times a day, and pray. I was totally blindsided by how hard it was to pause for the ones in the evening. I have learned so far that my life is way out of whack. That when it is logical to be slowing down, turning off the lights and easing into night- I am still going full tilt, trying to catch up, or recharge, or get things organized.
Second off, I am not content to keep sucking. I am intrigued about what I am supposed to be learning about prayer (oh the posts!) And this is just another piece of that puzzle. From what I understand these pauses are to help one bring Christ into their entire day, not slot him into a certain meeting time, and that is helping me reframe my thinking about prayer.
So, here is a short synopsis on the Pauses and next week, hopefully, I’ll be able to tell you how we’re finally situating them in our lives.
The Awakening Hour (I am aiming for 5 am, oy!, and 7am with the kids.)
A time for thankfulness for the new day. Begin it in glory, recalling God’s goodness. Giving the day as an offering for God’s glory. A prayer of resurrection: what needs to rise in us today? Psalms of inspiration: 19, 95, 147.
The Blessing Hour (I am aiming for mid-morning, 9:30am.)
A time to invite the Spirit to stir our souls, redirect us from efficient to inspired. To be mindful of the Spirit’s presence. A prayer over the sacredness of our hands and work. ‘Work is love made visible’, Wiedekehr says, what if we approached work as an opportunity to show love? Psalms of inspiration: 67, 84, 121.
The Hour of Illumination (Noon for us.)
A time to recommit to giving our lives away, to being servant-leaders. A time to honour the hour Jesus embraced the cross. A time to ask for God’s love to illuminate the dark place of our heart and fill it with a light so intense it breaks our hearts wide open. Psalms for inspiration: 24, 33, 34.
The Wisdom Hour (3:00, or right after the kids arrive home, with a snack of course!)
A time to embrace surrender, forgiveness, wisdom, and the impermanence of this life. To ask for perspective on our day, to ask for help to ‘live like we’re dying’. A time to honour the hour Jesus died and gave up his spirit. Psalms of inspiration: 71, 90, 138.
The Twilight Hour (7pm which I hoped to do with each child as I put them to bed… I miss this one every day.)
A time to invite God’s peace as we leave our work and transition to the evening. To close up the day asking if there is anyone we need to make peace with? Is there anything undone I can let go of until morning? Ask ourselves what the greatest blessing of the day was, what are the accomplishments we can be proud of? Adopt an attitude of gratitude and serenity. Psalms for inspiration: 34, 139, 145.
The Great Silence (I am aiming for 10pm, when I would love to be going to bed, but usually I’m knee deep in school work.)
This is a time for a gentle evaluation of the day, awareness of one’s weaknesses, strengths, the day’s accomplishments and failures. A time to be a healthy sinner: no denial or despair because of it. Learning to gain more integrity and obedience for tomorrow. In prayer we examine our day, and it guards us against our enemy. Setting the day aside, entering in the Great Silence. Psalms for inspiration: 23, 91, 134.
The Night Watch (Midnight, I’ve been doing the best at this one.)
A deep, even dark, prayer of waiting and interceding. Keeping vigil with God who never sleeps, and guards even our darkest hours. A time to advocate for others: the suffering, abandoned, oppressed, lonely. A time to sit and wait for Jesus. Psalms of inspiration: 42, 63, 119:145-152.
That’s what I understand of the pauses, and what I’ve been trying to wrap my thoughts around as I pause and invite God into my day. It hasn’t been ‘taking’ as quickly as I had hoped, but Lent isn’t over- and I intend to continue trying to build these pauses into my day. To remind myself life isn’t about destinations, but about the journey and how we walk along the road.
Anyone have any advice on making this intention a reality? Anyone else practicing the Pauses? Anyone tried this for a time with a testimony to share?