Lower than a snake’s belly, or, AA made me a Puritan

Discussion in 'Faith, Devotion & Formation' started by CFLawrence, May 6, 2019.

  1. CFLawrence

    CFLawrence Active Member

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    Hello listmates, I’m only posting to let anyone who might care know how my Anglican Experience is going. I came here an escapee from Roman Catholicism. Only recently did I shake off a great deal of Romish accretions like prayers for the dead, statues of Mary and the endless praying of rosaries.

    Well my journey has taken my to a very low-church destination. Snake belly low! I’ve modeled my prayer life after that of the early AA’s when they were heavily influenced by the Oxford Groups of Frank Buchman. I begin Morning Watch, or Quiet Time with my ESV prayer bible (this is a brand new publication containing the complete ESV with 400 prayers interspersed written by Puritans, Reformers, Anglicans, Presbyterians) where I will read two or three verses and then shift into prayer, then return to the text for two or three more verses. There is a reading plan at the back of the Bible that I am following and of course you get to read some of those delicious 400 prayers also every day as well as a psalm, the perfect prayer.

    Then I use the magazine Tabletalk for bible study.

    Then I proceed with guidance. If I have a question for God I write it down in my note book and then proceed to write everything that comes to mind without judging it. When you are done (After about ten minutes) you check to see if what you wrote is absolutely honest, pure, unselfish and loving. If it is you’re on the right track. You want to get to a point where what you are writing is God-directed not ego-directed.

    So yes, I have actually tossed aside my BCP. On the bright side my statue of the Queen arrived today!!!! Rule Britannia!!!
     
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  2. Religious Fanatic

    Religious Fanatic Well-Known Member

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    Glad to hear this. I love the ESV too, but I do love me some Roman Catholic books like The Imitation and of course the Douay-Rheims bible for studying the Vulgate. I'm also enamored with the BCP but enjoy all kinds of devotional works like Kept for the Master's Use by Anglican hymnist Frances Ridley Havergal. I bought a copy for my sister and she loved it. It needs to be more widely acknowledged these days than it is.

    Do you use the Anglican rosary, by any chance? I like that it's not as wordy as the Dominican one.
     
  3. mediaque

    mediaque Active Member

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    I really like The Imitation as well. I love the BCP. I also really like the Anglican rosary.
    CF ... good to read that you have found a method of prayer that is strengthening your spiritual/prayer life.
     
  4. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Active Member

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    What are AA's ?
    I read this thread heading and thought Oh Oh is he talking about me, as some people shorten my moniker to AA. :D
     
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  5. CFLawrence

    CFLawrence Active Member

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    I should have written clearly Alcoholics Anonymous. It’s good for a laugh though .
     
  6. JoeLaughon

    JoeLaughon Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Why toss aside a great piece of Reformed liturgy and prayer like the BCP?
     
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  7. CFLawrence

    CFLawrence Active Member

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    Well I developed this atrocious habit of simply plowing through the office, like a task that once completed I could tick off some box to get heavenly points. Now that I have begun using the ESV Prayer Bible I'm slowly learning how to pray scripture. After some time I'm sure i can take the skills i develop back to the BCP. I don't really feel like I'm abandoning the BCP just taking an extended vacation.
     
  8. rcconvert

    rcconvert New Member

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    My first thought when reading your post was Lectio Divina.

    "Lectio Divina is a form of meditation rooted in liturgical celebration that dates back to early monastic communities. It was a method practiced by monks in their daily encounter with Scripture, both as they prepared for the Eucharist and as they prayed the Liturgy of the Hours. Its use continued in the Middle Ages in religious orders, such as the Benedictines and Carmelites, that not only practiced lectio divina daily but passed this treasure from the past on to the next generations. The practice of lectio divina is resurfacing today as a wonderful way to meditate on God’s Word." http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-te...l-sunday/word-of-god/upload/lectio-divina.pdf
    I too catch myself "plowing through the Office" and other prayers such as the rosary. It is a struggle. Does anyone have any suggestions to avoid the "plowing" problem? Especially when praying the Office?
     
  9. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    The enemy has counterfeited many good things in his effort to lead people astray. "Meditation" is one of those things. The counterfeit involves chanting some meaningless sound or phrase repeatedly and 'emptying the mind' (a good way to invite in an evil occupant, if you ask me).

    But reading the Word, meditating on it and contemplating its truths, and praying to God are all very good. (Did they have to give it a fancy Latin name?) ;)
    Psa 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
    Psa 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
    Psa 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

    When I catch myself 'plowing through' it's either because something else important is pressing on my mind, or else I'm trying to do it out of a sense of duty (forcing myself). Either way, my mind is wandering off. I find it best if I've been able to dispense with all the "to-do list", deal with anything that's causing me anxiety or distraction, and am actually desiring to spend time with the Lord in the written Word or in prayer.

    I don't use the Office, though, so I can't speak directly to that. But I think it likely goes to the same issues as I've mentioned for reading the Bible or other Christian material.
     
  10. Brigid

    Brigid Active Member Anglican

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    Dispensing with the "to-do" list, anxiety and distraction are so very, very hard for me to do!!! Sometimes I think the Enemy is having a field day with me.
     
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  11. Jeffg

    Jeffg Active Member

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    You might want to check out a copy of the AA Big Book. There is a really good basic routine outlined from the bottom of page 85-88 that would really supplament the routine you are working
     
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  12. Shaun

    Shaun Member Anglican

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    I have a copy, the extract reads.


    "
    We shouldn’t be shy on the matter of prayer. Better men than we are using it constantly. It works, if we have the proper attitude and work at it. It would be easy to be vague about this matter. Yet, we believe we can make some definite and valuable suggestions.

    When we retire at night, we constructively review our day.Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid? Do we owe an apology? Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once? Were we kind and loving toward all? What could we have done better? Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? Or were we thinking of what we could do for others, of what we could pack into the stream of life? But we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to others. After making our review we ask God’s forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should betaken.

    On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives.

    In thinking about our day we may face indecision. We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. We relax and take it easy. We don’t struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while.

    What used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind. Being still inexperienced and having just made conscious contact with God, it is not probable that we are going to be inspired at all times. We might pay for this presumption in all sorts of absurd actions and ideas. Nevertheless, we find that our thinking will, as time passes, be more and more on the plane of inspiration. We come to rely upon it.

    We usually conclude the period of meditation with a prayer that we be shown all through the day what our next step is to be, that we be given whatever we need to take care of such problems. We ask especially for freedom from self-will, and are careful to make no request for ourselves only. We may ask for ourselves, however, if others will be helped. We are careful never to pray for our own selfish ends. Many of us have wasted a lot of time doing that and it doesn’t work. You can easily see why.

    If circumstances warrant, we ask our wives or friends to join us in morning meditation. If we belong to a religious denomination which requires a definite morning devotion, we attend to that also. If not members of religious bodies, we sometimes select and memorize a few set prayers which emphasize the principles we have been discussing. There are many helpful books also. Suggestions about these may be obtained from one’s priest, minister, or rabbi. Be quick to see where religious people are right. Make use of what they offer.

    As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day “Thy will be done.’’ We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions. We become much more efficient. We do not tire so easily, for we are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves.

    It works—it really does.

    “Faith without works is dead.’’ "
     
  13. Jeffg

    Jeffg Active Member

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    Always amazed at the Big Book... I've heard arguments that is' pretty close to being an "inspired" book... after all, how could a bunch of recently and barely recovering/sober alcoholics come up with some of the awesome things in the Big Book with out inspiration from above...
     
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  14. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Also known as Friends of Bill W., so if ever you see that sign in a hotel or restaurant conference center, that’s what it is referring to.

    Fortunately, after developing a bad allergy to alcohol (althought not before sampling some fine Belgian beers, but I would always get a headache and could barely finish one bottle), I do not expect to be in a position to require their services.
     
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  15. Dave Kemp

    Dave Kemp Member Anglican

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    I personally use the 1662 BCP for my personal prayer, with the daily offices of morning and evening prayer I really feel connected and that I am speaking to God! Being English as well and living in America I feel connected to my family that have passed and used the liturgy for centuries.

    I’m well happy for you that you’ve found a way that suits you but, please, at some point return to our wonderful prayer book, she still has a lot to offer 500 years later.

    I must confess that my mind does wonder sometimes when reading through morning and evening prayer, I honestly believe that the devil likes to distract us especially whilst praying and try’s to turn our attention from the Lord.
     
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  16. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Every church father and monastic I’ve read expresses the same opinion.
     
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