Sunday, March 24, 2019
For Anglicans of a certain age, ‘Common Prayer’ refers to The Book of Common Prayer, the official service book of the Church of England, or, after 1953, of The Anglican Church of Canada. But Common Prayer actually is the inclusive term for prayers offered in community, in worship. Anglicans ‘Do It By the Book’ and therefore many of our liturgies are provided for in printed form. Since 1988 in Canada, in the Diocese of Ottawa, that has frequently been “The Book of Alternative Services”.
But what about ‘Uncommon Prayer’, the excruciatingly truthful, often awkward, heart felt and sometimes heart breaking, conversations we have with God in our ‘private’ lives? We can name the time so engaged as anything from personal devotions to desperate pleas but in all cases a connection with God is sought and the need to listen for God’s answer is required. Not simply a litany of intercessions, even if they are for the healing of others or world peace, ‘uncommon prayer’ acknowledges that God is real, and interested in us, personally, and desires the best for us and of us. When the Lenten invitation invites us to “observe a holy Lent by …prayer…, worship in community is assumed. But the discipline of approaching God through ‘uncommon prayer’ deserves the same attention, even in the midst of busy lives!
Prayer: “O God, as I take this time of prayer to acknowledge that you are with me, whether I feel your Presence or not, help me to be honest with you and with myself. And then, O Lord, guide me to listen attentively to your response. Amen. ”