A Time Apart for My Soul: Daily Readings and Reflections for the Christian Year [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Mary Zimmer
eBook Category: Spiritual/Religion
eBook Description: This book offers teachers and other seekers a daily reading for reflection. Taking time apart for the soul allows each of us to grow in God's grace. Based on the Christian year, the readings begin with the first Sunday of Advent.
eBook Publisher: United Methodist Publishing House/Abingdon Press, Published: 2002
Fictionwise Release Date: September 2003
I dwell in Possibility--
A fairer House than Prose--
More numerous of Windows--
Of Chambers as the Cedars--
Impregnable of Eye--
And for an Everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky--
Of Visitors--the fairest--
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise--
The author of the poem, Emily Dickinson, withdrew voluntarily what we would consider the normal relationships of family and community life. Out of that solitude and social isolation, she wrote hundreds of lyrical and evocative poems, which established her as one of America's premier poets of the nineteenth century.
Few of us would choose that level of withdrawal. The great majority of us accept the real limitations of our commitments in exchange for relationships and personal growth. But there comes a time for all of us to withdraw from the everyday schedule in order to seek God's presence in our lives. We need the solitude, which is the wide-open, spacious house of possibility in prayer.
Sincere prayer is always open to the inbreaking of the Holy Spirit and thus prayer is always a place of possibility. This place of possibility is not infinite. We are finite human beings; and thus are limited by our imaginations, our personal history, our current responsibilities, and the degree of our willingness to be open to the Holy Spirit in prayer.
But a heart open to the Spirit of God is a heart open to possibility. Whatever we long for, whatever we need, whatever we hope for can be brought into the realm of prayer because prayer is the spiritual gift and discipline in which we are encouraged to fervently seek the providential grace, mercy, and love of God.
Dickinson describes possibility as a dwelling place; prayer is also a dwelling place. It is the place where we dwell with God, where we know the companionship of God, and where our devoted friendship with God is nurtured. Prayer is the dwelling place that lets us question God, as well as thank and praise God. In our questions and in our seeking is possibility. Prayer always offers the possibility of growing a deeper, more vibrant faith, of wrestling with our doubts, even dreaming our dreams and learning better how to live into hope.
This book is organized by weekly chapters that are based in the seasons and themes of the Christian year. Each week has a psalm for the week, suggested daily Scripture readings, a short meditation on the weekly theme, and a guided prayer. One approach to the book would entail reading the psalm and scripture each day, reflecting on the meditation and living with it during the week, then doing the guided prayer at the end of the week. Feel free to use any approach that makes you comfortable.
One purpose of this book is to introduce the seasons and themes of the Christian year to sincere Christians who have not known about them or previously observed them. The early church based the pattern used here on the life of Jesus Christ. So, to follow the seasons of the Christian year in prayer and worship is to commemorate in each of our human lives the events of the life of Christ with the spiritual disciplines appropriate to each. For example, Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas and is focused on anticipation of the birth of Jesus. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and continues through Holy Week, emphasizing confession and repentance.
First Sunday of Advent
November 29, 1998 Begins Year--A
November 30, 2003 Begins Year--C
November 28, 1999 Begins Year--B
November 28, 2004 Begins Year--A
December 3, 2000 Begins Year--C
November 27, 2005 Begins Year--B
December 2, 2001 Begins Year--A
December 3, 2006 Begins Year--C
December 1, 2002 Begins Year--B
As in any devotional guide, this book intends to provide a focus for Scripture reading throughout the week. The meditations are reflections on one person's spiritual pilgrimage, which it is hoped will resonate with the reader's life and faith experience.
Finally, each chapter includes what is called a Guided Prayer based on the theme for the week. This is the method that emphasizes the theme of possibility in prayer. We pray hoping for God's providential intervention in our lives and in the lives of those whose names we offer in intercession. Through the use of open-ended sentences and questions in prayer, the reader is invited and encouraged to consider some of the elements of each weekly theme in an explicit and immediate form.
Please consider all of the parts of each chapter as possibilities in themselves. Prayer is one of the most important spiritual disciplines, but private prayer with meditation is one of the hardest disciplines to make a priority in our lives. Sincere prayer must be honest supplication from our own individual hearts and faith journeys. Please give yourself permission to use the sections of each chapter as they feel comfortable to you.
May you find in your prayers a renewed sense of possibility in the depths of your faith and across the breadth of your life.
Copyright © 1998 Dimensions for Living