It's no secret that Leif and I have struggled over the years to connect spiritually through our personal times of devotion. In the early days of our marriage, we tried a laundry list of things that simply didn't work.
One year, we began reading Oswald Chambers together on January 1st.
By January 18, we couldn't even find the book.
We attempted reading the same passages of scripture for discussion, but also felt a sense of awkward disconnect. We tried reading the same books, listening to the same sermons among other practices, and yet it always felt forced, unnatural, anything but, well, organic.
Those images of spiritual marital bliss faded into the reality that growing spiritually together as a couple takes time, perseverance, and hard work.
Over the last few years, we've found something that works. And when you find something that works when it comes to spiritual disciplines, do it and keep on doing it! [Tweet this]
We sit on the couch beside each other in the morning and read whatever we're reading.
As we read, we sometimes hmmm or oooh-ahhhh aloud, signifying we've found something special, then we share what we're reading and our responses. It's natural. Non-forced. The practice works for us.
When we're done, we each read a prayer aloud from Walter Brueggemann's Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth. Then we spend time in prayer—for our families, our leaders, our friends, our world, and yes, you!—together aloud. Though we took a break from this, we’re back again.
Brueggemann has a gift to bring hidden thoughts of the soul to light before God. Over the course of this fall, I wanted to share Walter Brueggemann with you every Wednesday. I believe his prayers, his words are laden with wonder. The wonder of honesty. The wonder of trust. The wonder of love. The wonder of beauty.
You’re invited to join us for "Wednesdays with Walter" as we dive deeper in our relationships with God.
Below, you’ll find a poem Brueggemann wrote in light of September 11, 2001.
Read through silently. Recite it aloud. May it become our prayer today and always as we face fears, anxieties, and worries.
We do not really know about running and hiding.
We do not have any real sense, ourselves, of being under assault,
—for we live privileged, safe lives,
—learning in a garden near paradise.
Nonetheless the fear and the prayer
—live close beneath the surface…
———enemies we cannot see,
———old threats lingering unresolved from childhood,
———wild stirrings in the night that we cannot control.
And then we line out our imperative petitions,
—frantic… at least anxious;
—fearful… at least bewildered;
Turning to you, only you, you… nowhere else.
In the midst of our anxiety, confidence wells up,
In our present stress, old well-being echoes.
We speak and the world turns confident and grateful,
—not because we believe our own words,
—but because of your presence,
———your powerful, bold, reliable presence
——————larger than fear,
——————larger than anxiety,
——————large enough… and in our small vulnerability,
—————————we give thanks.
On reading Psalm 54, after the World Trade Center bombing, Sept 26, 2001.
Father, may we rest in the truth that you are larger than any fear, anxiety, or worry. When we face the monsters in our lives, may we find comfort in your presence. Amen.
What spiritual discipline have you found useful in your life? In your marriage?