We begin our days together in prayer at 7:30 am. In addition to a time of centering ourselves before the busyness of the day, these are also times of intercession, as we pray over joy and concerns given on Sundays at Blackburn’s Chapel. On Wednesday mornings, our prayer times are open to all in the community. We also pause at 1 pm and 8:30pm for prayer, in the middle of our day and our evening, whether home or away.
Our weekly schedule also includes several types of prayer gatherings. We believe that a crucial part of our prayer lives is expressing gratitude–and we regularly make space to share with each other those gifts for which we are grateful. We commit to a weekly time of Confession, Accountability, and Reconciliation–a time to share struggles in our life together and in our personal lives, to receive prayer and offer forgiveness. We also commit to a time of lament, grieving the hurts and injustices in our town, county, nation, and world, offering a space to call upon God in the midst of the pain.
Life in the Blackburn House also offers resident staff the opportunity to learn about prayer practices from the wisdom of the contemplative tradition. By learning about these practices, we learn to sustain our active lives by experiencing God’s presence in silence and solitude. By living in the Blackburn House, resident staff have the opportunity to consider how prayer shapes our lives as disciples, and our life together as a Christian community.
Given the options, it’s often hard to know what to do. But the most important thing about the prayer Jesus teaches may be that it invites us into new options. We don’t have to give into greed or work as if everything depends on us. When the options are “get rich” or “save the world,” we can respond with, “I want to become part of the people who ask for God’s Kingdom to come in their life together.” We can find our identity not in our work or our causes, but in “Our Father in heaven.”
–Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove & Shane Claiborne