Back packing is a passion of mine and one I have not engaged in for years. This year, I am going to get a chance to go on a trip, and as part of that, I am crafting a back country prayer book using various sources and prayer books that I have around the office along with poets and philosophers and early church writers.
I did not want it to be geared specifically towards youth, although this trip will be a youth trip. What this should be is a regular pattern and practice of prayer to use while hiking, camping, or exploring – really anything in an out door space.
I want it to invigorate and set our thoughts on God and the wonders of his creation and mercy in the morning.
I want it to be a place where we can encounter renewal and strength in God during the mid day.
I want to encourage reflection on our journey at the days end and to send us off to sleep in God’s care.
There’s no short way of doing it, and it has taken quite a bit of prayer: of thought and time and more than a few sources to get the right tenor down. But slowly it’s coming along. As it does, I find myself wondering about the patterns of time that we keep in the midst of our normal lives along side false senses of security and artificial/forced partitions called hours.
When you are in the wilderness there’s sun up, sun down, lunch time when you get hungry, and sleep when you are sleepy.
But that doesn’t mean that each day doesn’t have it’s own rhythm, and that’s part of what a pattern of prayer does – it places a pattern of prayer, a rhythm of being in relationship with God. In the best cases this is a means of grace – a way of receiving the grace of God. In the worst cases – it is only a distraction filled with cold redundancy and vain repetition.
The process has been more harried than I thought it would be, but this is after all a first edition. I look forward to sharing it, and seeing how the kids respond and how my own soul responds to this way of seeking to hear and obey the will of God.
Hopefully, this will establish a pattern of prayer for us that moves our souls and helps us all to listen for and obey the will of God.