Last week I took my almost three-year-old son on the train to visit his grandparents in Fort Worth. The train is his preferred mode of transportation and he often asks if we can ride the “yellow train” to the grocery store or to preschool. Sadly, the tracks don’t run everywhere we need to go but when we have an opportunity to take the DART or the TRE instead of driving we do.
Riding the train appeals to me too. It might take a little longer but I am much more relaxed when I arrive at my destination. When you ride the train you give up much of your control to the train schedule—you’re on train time. This means that you’re going to have to check a time table to see when the train is leaving, allow time to purchase a ticket, wait on the the platform for the train to arrive, find a seat or a place to stand among the other passengers, and bide your time while others exit and enter at stops before you get to yours. There is truly nothing you can do to get yourself to your destination faster so you may as well enjoy the trip. I personally love the train for reading and just gazing out the window. These are the gifts of train time.
This is a very different travel experience from hopping in the car whenever you like, checking traffic, picking alternative routes that may be speedier, calculating if you can make it through a light before it turns red, speeding up and slowing down to merge, and competing with other drivers to cut a path through traffic. When you are in the driver’s seat you are in complete control of your car, likely frustrated with your lack of control over the traffic, and working your hardest to make good time. I’m probably not alone in finding driving to be completely emotionally draining on some days.
Traveling on train time feels a lot like the experience of praying the Daily Office. There’s a schedule—fixed times during the day when the Prayer Book invites you to stop to pray and read the Bible. You don’t have to decide what would be best for you to read at this time—there’s a plan that will help you cover more of the Bible than you would likely choose on your own, but in small sections that follow the church year. You also don’t need to come up with profound prayers—the Daily Office leads you in prayers that are far reaching and theologically sound and yet intimate, addressing our deepest spiritual needs. And you have traveling companions as Christians around the world join you in the same prayers and read the same scripture passages. Praying the Daily Office isn’t making time for God, instead it is inhabiting God’s time.
If your inner life is turbulent and hurried, you are invited you to enter the peace of praying the Daily Office. If you move quickly between pride and guilt, uncertain of where you stand with the Lord, you will find grace in the Daily Office. If your inner and outer life is marked by competition and strife, you will find companionship with the whole body of Christ in the Daily Office. In this season stop making time for God and starting inhabiting God’s time.
Join us Saturday, January 30 from 9am to 4pm for the Prayer Book People Retreat. High school-aged students and adults are invited to attend. Sign up today. And start praying the Daily Office today with the Trinity Mission.