I write in this post of the influence Neil Anderson’s The Bondage Breaker and Freedom in Christ ministries had on me, but there is one thing I would like to add about the effect his teaching had on me.
In addition to its preparing the ground for eventually becoming Catholic, it also prepared me for the discipline of the offices of morning and evening prayer.
All serious evangelical Christians have what is commonly called a daily “quiet time,” of prayer, Bible-reading and reflection. I observed this, but I never had any set pattern for it. Sometimes there would be a popular Bible-study going around; other times, I would open the Bible at random or automatically go to my favorite passages or Psalms.
But after doing the series of prayers Anderson called The Steps to Freedom, he recommended saying out loud daily a statement of faith. So, I began adding that to my repertoire. It was not quite the Nicene Creed, but close.
And I did, indeed, find it helpful in maintaining my spiritual freedom.
Around this time, because of my search for an Apostolic faith, I came across our little parish that was then in the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada and part of the Traditional Anglican Communion. Because the amazing Bishop Robert Mercer and Fr. Carl Reid and others encouraged lay people to also pray the daily offices, I began to do them. It’s then I realized Anderson was re-inventing the wheel, that he was adding back to the free-form “quiet time” of the evangelical world disciplines that were common in the Church but that had been jettisoned in modern times.
How much the Liturgy of the Hours was common among lay people in the Catholic Church, I don’t know, let others enlighten me. I know many serious Catholics do pray the offices. I hope in the Ordinariates we can make praying the daily offices something all lay people do, alone, as families, in community or by conference call via John Covert’s excellent prayer site.
I remember visiting some relatives who had yard of sand. At the end of the day, they would rake the sand to get rid of all the footprints, leaves or other debris that had accumulated throughout the day. Then in the morning, they would wake up to a freshly raked yard. Ever since I have thought of the Daily Offices as a kind of mind-raking, to bring my thoughts inline with the prayers and doctrine of the Church. Lex orandi; lex credendi; lex vivendi.