Introduction to 40 Days in Philippians
(from Daily Office by Peter Scazzero)
The purpose of this book is to introduce you to a spiritual discipline called the “Daily Office.” When crafted to fit our unique personalities, temperaments, life-situations, and vocations, it offers us an anchor powerful enough to slow us down amidst the unceasing demands of our lives.
The goal of the Daily Office, as with a “quiet time,” is to pay attention to God throughout the entire day while we are active. This is the great challenge for all of us. Both the enormous pressure of the world, with the demonic powers behind it, and our own stubborn self-wills make it easy to live most of our waking hours without any consistent awareness of God’s presence.
The following are the elements in each Office of this book:
Silence, Stillness, and Centering
This is the essence of a Daily Office. We stop our activity and pause to be
with the Living God. Scripture commands us: “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently
for him” (Psalm 37:7a) and ”Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:lOa).
We move into God’s presence and rest there; that alone is no small feat. There are
times when I pause for my midday prayer and find that I spend the entire time available,
be it five or twenty minutes, centering so I can let go of my tensions, distractions,
and sensations, and begin resting in the love of God.
Each Office begins and ends with two minutes of silence. All religions practice
silence. What makes silence unique for us is that we are silent before the Lord,
himself. This will be difficult, especially at first. Our internal and external worlds
are filled with noise and distractions. For this reason, silence is probably the most
challenging and least experienced discipline among Christians today. Give yourself
lots of grace here. Studies suggest the average person or group can only bear fifteen
seconds of silence.Scripture
The important thing to remember here is “less is more:• I have limited the
amount of Scripture for each Office. Read slowly – aloud if possible – chewing on
different words or phrases. If God leads you to stop on a verse, do so. Be attentive in
your heart to what God is doing inside of you. There is no need to finish all that is
provided for each Office! Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you.
The purpose of these devotionals is to stretch you in your Journey. I have
integrated riches from a wide variety of sources … connecting them to the Scripture
reading. These devotionals are meant to be read slowly and prayerfully. There are
times when I come to the Daily Office with so much on my mind that I begin with
the devotional reading so that I can stop and center. There are times the devotionals
will speak powerfully to where you are. God may lead you to ponder and meditate
on a particular sentence or paragraph. At other times, you may want to skip them
altogether. Again, remember • the purpose of the Daily Office is to commune with
God, not get through all that is written!
Questions to Consider
Each devotion ends with questions to consider. I have written the questions
to be brief but probing. You may find it helpful to write your answers to God
in the space provided. Don’t be surprised if God leads you along very different
paths with these questions, each time you repeat the study. Or, feel free to skip
them, if they are not helpful.
Refer to this page for guidance.