February 11, 2021

lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi

Just two days ago, I stepped into the dining room where my father, a priest, was leading a virtual evensong service for his parish. Him and my mother are here with us, as my wife and I have just welcomed another child to our household. I had entered during the time of the Prayers of the People, and a petition had come from someone, imploring God to “make us stewards of the Earth.” I heard the gathered share the response, “Lord, hear our prayer.” This exchange has lingered with me over the past couple of days. I thought of what we Episcopalians are invited to share, namely, “lex orandi, lex credendi,” and amplified with “lex vivendi.” That which we pray, is what we believe, is what we live. In essence, we become what we pray.

How does this understanding of “lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi” sit with you, dear reader? Is this what you believe? There is no doubt that words matter. What we say matters, and if we say these words often enough they become incarnate in our minds, souls and bodies. And yet we know that without invoking the Holy Spirit, our own predispositions, inclinations will end up crowding out these deep, corporate prayers.

Our purposeful alignment then with God in prayer is critical to the enjoining of our will with God’s. If you are like me, then you struggle with a daily practice of prayer. Now with a second child, I am finding it harder and harder to create space for that critical time of purposefully and intentionally aligning myself with the One who calls me by name. As our spiritual journey takes us deeper and deeper into the Divine, we come to know God through all whom we come across, as our eyes, ears become ever more attuned to the flow of the Holy Spirit.

For some of us this deepening of our prayer life may happen in a matter of moments; in a grace filled gift from God; but for so many of us, it happens through intentionally choosing to set aside time to walk with God in Jesus Christ. I have a colleague and friend who once said to me - how can we expect to hear from God, if we do not create space to listen and to hear? This may seem rather obvious to some of us, but maybe we need to re-hear scripture and Jesus’ embodied spiritual practice, namely, Matthew 14:23, “after he had sent them away, He went up on the mountain by himself to pray.” The critical word here is ‘himself’. Jesus created space to align himself with his father, so that then he could be in tune with God.

What does a prayerful time look like for you? It may mean an embodied spiritual practice like going for a meditative walk without anything else with you. Or it may mean praying through a practice called, “centering prayer.” Find yourself a spiritual tool so that you deepen your alignment with God in prayer, for our Anglican traditions teaches us that, “lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi.”