Historically speaking, the Jewish people prayed three times a day: morning, afternoon and evening. The early Christians followed this rhythm of prayer, which would eventually be developed into the “Liturgy of the Hours” or “Divine Office” centuries later.
This daily rhythm of prayer has also been adopted by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network. In our documents of recreation approved by Pope Francis, we read how a central way to incorporate our spirituality into our daily lives is by adopting these three moments of prayer:
Three moments of the day: My daily prayer has at least three specific moments. To practice them, I will choose the form which inspires me most and helps me become more available to the Risen Lord. I can have in front of me an image of Jesus or a Crucifix. It can be in a special place in my house. I can recite a particular prayer.
However, there is much more behind these three moments of prayer and a recent book by Father Christopher S. Collins, S.J. entitled, Three Moments of the Day: Praying with the Heart of Jesus, can help someone interested in diving deeper into this rhythm of prayer.
Father Collins explains the rationale behind this specific approach in his book.
This “three moments” approach to prayer is not about “punching the clock” with God; we are not God’s employees. We are his children. And so, we offer our lives to God, day by day, in the same way that Jesus offered his life and days to the Father. This is a way of praying and seeing the world that starts to make our daily lives much more intimate, as places of genuine encounter with God. Our day-to-day living, seen from within this way of praying, becomes a matter of one heart being offered to another.
There in lies the key behind these three moments of prayer: “one heart being offered to another.” This method of prayer is centered on devotion to the Sacred Heart and offering our own hearts back to Jesus.
Collins goes into great depth into each “moment” of the day, explaining what should be the focus for each time you pause to open your heart to God. He explains how the morning is devoted to the “morning offering,” the evening is centered on the “examen” and the intervening moment is connected to the celebration of the Eucharist.
If you are truly interested in digging into the spirituality of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, I highly encourage you to pick-up Father Collins’ book. He writes in an accessible manner, using simple examples from his own life as well as from pop-culture.
Remember, it is not about “punching the clock,” but about an exchange of hearts.