Pray without ceasing
These Wednesdays in Lent, we gather twice as a congregation. Coming together mid-day and again in the evening, we pray, praise, and contemplate how God may work in our world. These midweek services remind of me of the Christian tradition of praying the hours. Most of the time, when I think of praying through the hours of the day, my mind flies to a monastery, with images of monks in long robes chanting their way into a stone chapel. Or I think of devout Muslims around the world rolling out prayer rugs and facing toward Mecca as the clock prescribes.
So what can the clock prescribe for us? We aren’t wearing long brown robes, but I think our hearts can go chanting in a way before God.
One way to start is with the natural patterns of the day, morning and evening. The red hymnals lining the pews in the sanctuary offer suggestions for praying these hours of the day.
Praying at the start of the day root our tasks in faith, and praying at the end, when our tasks are complete reminds us that every action performed is in God’s hands. This Lent, we have been praying the Holden evening prayer. It’s a beautiful service, but remained an enigma to me for some time. What or where was Holden? Who was Marty Haugen, the writer? The answers: Washington State; Marty Haugen is a contemporary composer of liturgical music. This re-imagined version of evening prayer breaths freshness into a long-standing Christian tradition, and might be just what we need.
Prayer flows from our human experiences. Prescribed prayer brings order to our lives of faith, but prayer is constantly growing and changing as our faith lives grow and change. Whether it is in a service or at home, morning or evening, we are called to pray without ceasing. These services can be the diving board we climb onto, helping us jump right into life with God.
–Amy Diller, pastor-in-residency