Guest Blog: A Month of Praying the Offices
Note from Fr. Isaac:
Maja Hall is one of the newer members of our parish family. A few weeks ago, she mentioned on Facebook that she was going to commit to praying both of the Daily Offices (Morning and Evening Prayer, or Mattins and Evensong, if you prefer) every day for a full month. After the month was over and she was still keeping up with it, we chatted and I thought it'd be great for us all to read about her experience. The Scripture says that we overcome our Enemy by the Blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony. This is one of those testimonies! Enjoy!
I came back to the Church in February of 2015. I had not stepped into a Church for well over 10 years. Like many adults my age I left the Church my parents raised me in. The idea of self-discovery and independence ran deep in my blood. However, with being the future step-mother of two children I needed help. The children were not behaving and I had no answers on how to get our future family working like the family I grew up with. Benjamin and I were both brought up in Christian families that went to Church on Sunday. So we decided to take the leap and go back to the Church we had left.
Now for those that know me I never do anything half way. I just jump in head first and start swimming in the pool. Benjamin and I started going to Sunday service and then Wednesday night Compline/Evening Song. We joined the Wednesday Bible Study. Our first major season back in the Church was Lent. During Holy Week I did 5 hours in Alter of Repose and went to every Evening prayer every day. We spent the Saturday before Easter oiling the pews. We attended Salt and Light classes and I was confirmed. In a whirl wind of six months we had started just attending church to help center our family to Church now being something we do three or four days a week. Koinonia was the final part we added to our family routine. I was not thrilled with the idea of Koinonia. But Benjamin and I did not have any money to take the children out for entertainment. We came on Friday night and the children loved it. So we continue to go because the children love singing along with the band and it has a ritual of its own.
The beauty of the Anglican Church is its ritual. I see our Savior through all forms of ritual. I see the beauty ritual can provide a Church and the comfort it can provide someone who has fallen. I found I needed more than just my three or four days a week of ritual at Church. I found I missed doing Evening prayer like we do every day during Holy Week. Part of my love of Wednesday night Compline/Evening Song is the simplistic chords sung by everyone. If you can just stop and watch while everyone is doing the ritual on Wednesday night you will find a rocking motion with everyone in synch. The power the Holy Spirit has on everyone is beautiful. There is a comfort in watching people rocking back and forth while singing ritual.
I wanted that at home. I wanted that feeling of peace and release. I wanted to be in the tranquility that drives you to speak the ritual because it bring you joy. I started the 30 day challenge of doing Morning and Evening prayer. This was not easy. It meant I had to find about 20 minutes out of morning and evening to dedicate to reciting and listening to podcasts of the rituals. At the beginning I was listening to an Anglican Morning prayer and in the Evening a Catholic Evening prayer. While the Catholic Evening prayer is similar it is not the Anglican Evening prayer that provided me with comfort.
Fr. Isaac led me to find cradleofprayer.org. This is now the Anglican Morning and Evening prayer I listen too. I discovered the easiest time to find 20 minutes to do Morning and Evening prayer is in the car. When I am driving to work in the Morning I spend 20 minutes listening to music or morning show hosts. I decided that it was the perfect time for listening and participating in Morning Prayer. I want to be clear, please do not drive and read your Book of Common Prayer at the same time. This is not safe nor wise. However, besides the Psalm reciting everything else can be done without the Book of Common Prayer. In fact it forces you to have to listen to the Psalm being read instead of reciting. While reciting Morning and Evening prayer is calming; understanding the meaning behind the Psalms and reading can bring a peace of understanding to things in your life. Evening prayer is done on my way home from work.
Now for over 30 days I have been doing Morning and Evening prayer. I now feel lost when I do not do my prayers at their scheduled time. Listening to the readings always seems to provide me to insight into the challenge I am facing for the day. In the past few days it has been about the story of Samson with Delilah. I found that the stories I was read from the Bible when I was young have a deeper meaning for me know as an adult with the adult problems I face day in and out. Every day the readings provide me something to help me view or see my daily problems differently. The children has started requesting the performance of Morning and Evening prayer on the weekends we have them as well. We perform Evening prayer during dinner. It sets a time table for the children to finish their dinner and gives us an opportunity to talk about the readings after doing it. Our youngest now requests Evening prayer every time she is in the car because after it she knows she gets to listen to her Children’s Bible Songs CD.
People laugh at me when I tell them the power the Lord has on us and we begin to see it in His ritual. I hear the Lord in the rituals. I see his gifts as we all gather to perform our prayers. How powerful is it really? After exchanging the kids at a handoff our youngest was wailing and throwing a tantrum. She was uncontrollable. I was lost sitting in the front seat I turned on Evening prayer because if I ever needed the Lord to help me it was then. Within two minutes of having on Evening prayer. Our youngest was quiet and smiling quietly listening to it. It was beautiful and the Lord is there we just have to be willing to start. It is as easy as dedicating 20 minutes in the Morning and Evening to Him.
Posted on July 15, 2015
by Maja Hall filed under