Finding God in the Daily Office

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My first memory of finding God in the Daily Office (Morning and Evening Prayer) was the Lenten season of 2016. My marriage was falling apart, my 11-year-old son was struggling with anger and on the edge of being expelled from school, my work environment was toxic and exhausting: in short, it was the usual trifecta of destabilizing forces that were all shifting as if built in sand. I never went anywhere without my phone in hand, always ready to be alerted to the next crisis. Everything in my daily life felt out of control.

When that happens, I have been trained to know that there is only one place to go: to God.

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Growing Up with God

I grew up in the church. Catholic school, Saturday night mass so I could have sleep overs with my friends, first communion, children’s choir: the church was part of our daily lives. We moved from Catholicism, for reasons I don’t fully know, to the Episcopal church when I was 11. I loved the music, and the familiar repetitions of the psalms, prayers, and other aspects of the liturgy that became the foundation of my communication with God. And I’ve never forgotten the bible study teacher who couldn’t answer my question about why the older son in the parable of the Prodigal Son wasn’t celebrated for always doing the right thing (oldest child here in case you couldn’t guess).

It got more complicated as an adult, as it usually does. Between a career in the performing arts with mindsets that challenged everything I believed in to committing sins that I decided made me unworthy to call myself a child of God, I walked away from my faith for several years. I was lost. I didn’t know who I was, what I stood for, or how to get back to a feeling of peace in my own skin. I knew I had to make peace with myself, and eventually with God. I walked the head-hanging path back to Sunday service one morning in Boston, and opened my ears and heart to what God had to say.

From Episcopal to Anglican

Not long after, I met the man I married, and we began attending an Episcopal church together. Our pastor held a church meeting to explain that marriage was really a secular convention meant to ensure population growth and that anyone could marry anyone or anything they chose. Heartbroken that the investment we were making in each other and a life of faith was being deconstructed in the name of social progress, we began attending an Anglican church. With a young and dynamic pastor (and his family) at the helm, we established a rich network of friendships, grew in our understanding of the faith, and in our relationship with God.

And then, we moved to Texas. Liturgy? What’s THAT? Hymns? HUH? Praise music and bible church was at the heart of our friends’ lives. I tried. I really, really tried. I was convinced that God never intended there to be only one way to worship and that I should try to embrace these other ways of thinking about corporate worship. And along the way, as we tried to find a church home, we had what seems like an unimaginable string of awful experiences.

Finding the Daily Office Booklet

And then, one day near the beginning of Lent, I came across Rookie Anglican and the Daily Office Booklet, a simple tool for praying morning and evening prayer.

I had been looking for a resource to help guide me through Lent, my favorite season of the liturgical year. The darkness that comes with abstinence and self-reflection that can only be illuminated by the sacrifice and then celebration of Christ’s suffering and resurrection is a journey I long for throughout the year. It’s a quantifiable and manageable amount of time where I can prioritize a shift in focus, a shift that I try to make more permanent with each passing year, where God comes first to my thoughts. The prescriptive practice of praying each of the daily offices is a favorite discipline as a “take-on” instead of just “giving up” things for Lent.

I was ecstatic to find a printable booklet with everything in one place! No page flipping! No obstacles! Just the booklet, my bible, and a purple pen to write notes and cross off the days.

Using the Daily Office Booklet

The first booklet I printed in 2016 is where my deep appreciation for this resource began. There was routine, truth, and illumination to be had in repeating the prayers each day. I watched the clock for when I prayed next instead of when I could go get a coffee. The booklet went with me to work every day. It was my rock and my escape from those shifting sands.

I didn’t have to have the right church, fight traffic to get to a service, make sure my children were behaving: it was just me and God’s word. I always discovered new things in the prayers, a different vantage point, a mantra to get me through the day. I went back every Lenten season to print my booklet and go on a familiar journey.

When I got the email that said there was no longer bandwidth to produce these booklets, I was shattered. I realized just how important this practice had become to me. And so it is a great joy to see Anglican Compass up and running again, and again making these booklets available to everyone.

Finding God in the Daily Office

The daily office was a source of truth and order in a tumultuous time, and it gave me the gift of dialogue and a deeper relationship with God. The liturgy makes sense of the confusion that comes with the relationship between man and church, and church and community. It takes the pressure off of us to “pray the right way” or bear the burden of creating a religious experience every weekend. It cuts through the build-to-suit mentality of interpretation and provides beauty, truth, and wisdom in a template that covers adoration, admission, asks, and acknowledgement. The liturgy is the roadmap for my faith, my life, and my relationship with God.

Today, the Daily Office sits on my desk in my home office. I am not as diligent as I am during Lent, missing days here and there. But it is always there for me, waiting for me to be ready and willing, just like our Lord Jesus Christ. All I have to do to is make space in my schedule and in my heart.

With gratitude to those who sustain The Anglican Compass and make these Daily Office booklets available. Soli Deo Gloria.

We are thrilled to share Kathleen’s story as part of our True North series, which demonstrates the missionary impact of Anglican Compass. Please help us serve Kathleen and many others who use the Daily Office Booklet, by supporting us on Patreon.

Published on

January 10, 2023

Author

Kathleen Staten

Kathleen Staten has performed across the world as an oboist, built musical and educational programs, run a school, and been in charge of marketing and business development for several companies.

View more from Kathleen Staten

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