Monday, May 24, 2010

Morning Prayer

I have a terrible confession to make: I don’t think I’ve ever said morning prayer on my own. I admit it’s a defect in my life as a Christian and Episcopalian.

But mornings are generally crazy for me. I set my alarm for 6:30 on workdays and just barely have time to make it to work at 8:00 . I have no leisurely time in which to pray. Generally, it’s a flat-out race to tend the cats, make the bed, shower, dress, grab lunch from the refrigerator, and get to work on time. When I’m lucky, I have time to brew my coffee and enjoy a cup with the cats.

Today was different. For no reason I can explain, I woke around 5:30 a.m., and I felt rested and ready to arise. I could have rolled over and tried to sleep a while longer, but I decided to get up and enjoy a leisurely morning. I had plenty of time to take care of all my morning duties. And I had enough leisure time, so that I decided to say morning prayer.

Now I am envious of you who do that as a daily discipline.

I thought it might feel weird to pray the daily office all alone, with the prayer book that has words for the officiant, the people, and the readers. But I said them all … all by myself. And it didn’t feel weird at all.

I will confess it did feel a bit weird – here alone in my home – to read the words of what “we” believe and what “we” pray and what “we” confess. But I decided that God would understand that the “we” was all the other people praying the daily office all alone, all over the world, offering up their prayers together as “we.”

Something weird happened for me. Not very far into the office, I had to pause and go grab some Kleenex. As Elizabeth would say, my eyes started sweating. It was a profound and special prayer time for me. I love the beauty of our prayers. Opening myself to them as the sun rose did something – I don’t know or understand what! – to me.

This morning prayer time seemed to change my experience of my work day. I don’t quite know how to describe it. But I was more centered all day. I think I was a bit more charitable and kind. I want to believe that the prayers worked their grace in me.

I sure wish I could force my body into a new schedule so that I could do this regularly. I know it probably won’t happen, but I’ll leap at the next opportunity.

Photo credits:
2: Prayer at Dawn


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I <3 Morning Prayer, but I suck at waking up with enough time to get ready for work without utilizing adrenaline-induced lightspeed mode, especially when I've been in a Benadryl-induced coma. But the few times I have actually been able to pray MP, I feel more at peace with myself and the world that day.

Oh, and my immediate priest prepped me and told me it's ok to use the plural pronouns and say all the lines: even when you pray by yourself, the Trinity is always with you (so that's an extra three) and with 80 million Anglicans all over the world, someone is bound to be praying it at the same time.

5/24/2010 10:25 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

I pray it on line at -- even has little chants if you use the daily full featured.

5/24/2010 10:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ooh, Ann reminded me: if you get Unapologetically Episcopalian in your facebook news feed and you check fb often (ok, incessantly), Ron+ or his emissary posts lines from the offices which are good for focus/reminder even when you can't do the whole office.

5/24/2010 11:04 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thanks for that, 8th Sacrament. I especially appreciate your priest's understanding of the Trinity being part of the "we."

5/24/2010 11:05 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thank you, Ann. Yep, I know about the online mission st. clare. But there's something I like about just me and the BCP & my NRSV. I dunno. I'm still finding my way.

5/24/2010 11:07 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Alas, 8th Sacrament ... I have pretty much quit Facebook. The pace was just too fast for me.

5/24/2010 11:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you like the concept of the Trinity included as "we", you might appreciate how Trinity Kirksville says the Nicene Creed. My Episco-Pals who went to Truman passed on the idea of saying "and was made one of us" in place of "and was made man".

5/24/2010 11:15 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

8th Sacrament, I'm just orthodox that I'm not willing to play around with the words of the BCP. I seem to recall that some group has authorized the phrase "and was made human." That's as far off the reservation as I'm willing to stray.

Mind you, I say this as a radical, East Coast, '90s liberal who played fast and loose with the BCP and its rubrics.

But, since then, I've come to believe that I do not have the right to change the rite without communal discernment.

At least that's where I am today.

5/24/2010 11:21 PM  
Blogger Hilary said...

I too wish I could take the time to read morning prayer each day. I take 5 minutes in the morning and read a daily affirmation, but don't take the time to read all of morning prayer.

I loved your words about centering your day and changing your focus. My job situation totally stinks right now and I could certainly benefit from MP (not Mad Priest ;-)).

5/24/2010 11:24 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Hilary, I understand! ... as you should know if you read my post.

It knocked me off my socks that reading MP made such a difference in my day.

With you, I hope I might awake earlier to read this part of the daily office. I don't hold out much hope. But I will hope.

5/24/2010 11:31 PM  
Blogger Kirkepiscatoid said...

Well, eighthsacrament, you perked my ears up with the Kirksville shout out! We are in the process of morphing again at Trinity Kirksville. In Lent, we moved to the modern language version of the Nicene Creed on page 53 of Enriching our Worship 1. the "one of us" is not actually theologically correct, if you get really picky. the EOW version is "truly human"' which is probably better theology. It is also an approved revision of the BCP instead of winging it, which, honestly, was what we were doing.

The EOW version also omits the filoque, which the original Nicene Creed did not have. But we moved to "truly human" and have stayed there for now.

5/25/2010 8:43 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

In late spring and summer I chant the Rite I Morning Prayer outside on my deck. I especially love singing the Canticle "Song of the Earth" surrounded by trees,singing birds, barking dogs. In fact, I've added a stanza(?) to the canticle:
Oh, ye dogs that bark and cats that prowl, Praise ye the lord.

5/25/2010 8:51 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

I'm with you, KirkE. Coming to Missouri from the Wild & Radical East Coast, I had engaged in substituting some of my words for the BCP words, such as making my own decision to substitute "Creator" for "Father" ... and much more.

At some point, I decided I didn't have that right. If I was going to ask others to accede to our C&C and our BCP, I had to do so myself.

In addition, I came to realize that those who crafted our BCP and other authorized texts are much smarter and more theologically aware than I will ever be. I decided to stick with our authorized texts rather than playing a liturgical word game of my own. In fact, I came to see my own word-substitution as something frighteningly like the Puritans ... substituting my private judgment for our Episcopal Church's discernment. So I'm now sticking with the TEC-authorized liturgies.

I haven't had much exposure to the "Enriching our Worship" texts ... except when I visit my favorite St. Louis parish. I appreciate some of the revisions (such as the "became one of us" correction of "became man" and returning the Nicene Creed to its earlier, pre-filoque version).

I and my friends joke about my being a "liturgy Nazi." It's true. Though some of my Worthy Opponents like to portray me as a wild-eyed revisionist, I'm actually rather rabidly orthodox.

5/25/2010 8:46 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Oh, Barbara, that sounds marvelous!

I grieve that I no longer have easy access to outdoor space. I'm one of those who has found God more often in nature than in cathedrals.

5/25/2010 8:48 PM  
Blogger Kirkepiscatoid said...

The only authorized substitution I can find is "became truly human." The unauthorized Kirksville version ("became one of us") was, as best as I can tell, an invention that was in place when I got there, and only has been gone from Kirksville since Lent, 2010, replaced with a truly authorized substitution.

5/25/2010 9:48 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

I meant to agree with you, KirkE. I misspoke in my 8:46 comment. The smart part of my brain knows that "became truly human" is the authorized EOW language. Unfortunately, the stupid part of my brain took over for a few moments. {sigh}

5/25/2010 9:55 PM  

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