Desert Wisdom: Times of Prayer (2)

In addition to the pattern of creation (evening and morning), early-Christian praying also followed the passion of Christ.

The fixed prayer times which have come to be called Terce, Sext, and None are in relation to Christ’s words from the Cross at 9 a.m., Noon, and 3:00 p.m.  Bunge shows how this pattern was established in the Didache, which means it was widely known by the early second century—less than a hundred years after Jesus lived on the earth.

By combining the rhythm of life with the story of redemption, prayer was seen to be a natural participation in God’s saving grace.  I like that combination!

Without the note of grace, we can forget to pray in relation to our redemption.  And without the natural dimension, we can forget that this salvation occurs in life as we actually live it day-to-day.  Or to say it more theologically, this kind of prayer saves us from separating nature and grace.

Our fixed times of prayer help us combine the human story and the divine story.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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