June 16, 2022
(chuckling to myself as I type …) While awaiting a response on the possible reasons for St. Luke’s verses one will find in Advent being read in Trinity-tide, I thought we might chat about praying.
I used to only pray before falling asleep at night – the Lord’s Prayer and then intercessional requests for folks I knew who needed or asked for prayer. Then, several years ago, I took some theological training and started using the Offices of Morning and Evening Prayer and tried to be consistent about it but often ‘late for work’ or ‘falling sleep’ issues interrupted my attempts to be faithful to the Offices.
I slipped into a habit of using the abbreviated prayers found on pages 592 and 593 in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. Which are fine – I’m not saying they aren’t – but today it sort of makes me think of ‘cheap grace’. But they served their purpose, minimally, and I became constant in my performance each day. So that was a good thing.
It’s three years since my retirement and prayer is easier. I do the Offices each day now and have included prayers that I read at other times of the day; right now they are for strength for good, solid, orthodox priests and all that they do and give to their congregations. The prayers could, at some time, become directed to some other purpose as things occur to me.
The ‘problem’, so to speak, with doing the same prayers night and day, is that at some point they become a little ‘iffy’ as the mind tends to wander. If our mind wanders, is the quality of the prayer, and our intention, the same? Hmmm – one wonders. In any event, one Sunday morning not long ago, I asked at Adult Sunday study what to do about a wandering mind. I laugh about the response now – I’m blessed to belong to a church that has the priest, a military Chaplain, a retired priest, and a gentleman in seminary, all serving the altar each week. They all said the same thing – read them out loud! One suggested, at the very least, move your lips while you read to yourself even though we are taught from a young age not to move our lips when reading silently, lol. You always want to listen to the ‘professionals’ – they have great insight.
Now the Offices have become an amalgamation of silent and oral reading. It’s all good. (being silly …) At least I am assured that Jesus will not say to me, “I never knew you”, because I’m knocking on heaven’s door three times a day!