Day #4: Saturday, February 29
Old Testament: Joshua 10:1-15
New Testament: 2 Peter 3:1-10
Practice: Daily office
I have never met someone who was born on Leap Day, but a recent article claims that there are 187,000 people born on Leap Day in the United States. Unless you are one of those 187,000 anomalies, February 29 is just another day – a peculiar day, but just another day. However, when we have to explain to a child why February has an extra day every four years, it does remind us that we are a small part of something much bigger than ourselves. We are reminded that are feet are planted on an earth that is rotating around the sun and adding a fourth of a day every year. Today seems like a good time to reflect on our relationship with time.
In the Bible, God exists beyond or outside of time. Peter writes that, for God, a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day. On the other hand, Leap Day reminds us of how constrained we are by time. How often do we note how quickly time passes?
We all enter the world with varying amounts of money and resources, but we all have the same twenty-four hours of time every day. Lent is an intentional disruption of time to help awaken us to the presence of the Lord in everyday life. Today, consider incorporating an ancient prayer practice known as the daily office.
You may be familiar with the Islamic practice of daily prayers facing Mecca. The history of daily prayers, however, is not only for Muslims. The church has a long history of similar daily prayers. Robert Benson describes the daily office this way:
“For thousands of years, the daily office has been a primary way to hold ourselves in closer communion with the One who made us. It is a way to sanctify our days and our hours, our work and our love, our very life itself . . . In the simplest terms, the daily office is a regular pattern and order for formal worship and prayer that is offered to God at specific times throughout the course of the day. Each set of prayers, known as an office, is made up of psalms, scriptures, and prayers.”
The original offices were observed seven times during the day – something that no doubt seems overwhelming today. So, consider dabbling with the daily office today and into the next few weeks for daily prayers two or three times a day. It’s a matter of establishing specific times during the day to stop what you are doing and pause for a time of prayer. A prayer book can be helpful so that you have prayers to read and guide your thoughts, but it isn’t necessary. The main thing is to allow your prayer times to be intentional interruptions to your daily rhythm, and it requires that you maintain a high priority for these times of prayer. If you choose to observe the afternoon office, for example, then no matter what you are doing around 1:00 pm, you stop for a few minutes of prayer. Think about all the other things that we give priority to each day, why not periods of prayer throughout the day?
 Robert Benson, In Constant Prayer, (Nashville, Thomas Nelson, 2008), 9-10.