The last week I was away from COTHA in July I served as Chaplain in Residence at Camp Allen. It was a great way to do some continuing education. Julie and I enjoyed spending the time away from everything and staying in a beautiful cabin. The heat was a bit much but I love air conditioning!
One of my responsibilities was to lead a daily worship service. Actually I led two services each day: Morning Prayer every day at 7:30 AM and Evening Prayer at 5:00 PM. The Daily Offices are found in the front of the Book of Common Prayer and are a great contribution to the entire church.
When I was in seminary, the Daily Offices were a regular part of my devotional life. After graduation, the church I served had a daily practice of Morning Prayer. For some reason I dropped the practice after I moved on to another church. I would do Morning Prayer every once in a while but it has been a long time since it was a regular practice.
Throughout my week at Camp Allen, I noticed how powerful the regular practice of this simple worship service was becoming to me. There is a power in praying the same prayers that millions of people pray around the world. I was struck with the beauty of the ancient prayers and collects that I was praying, seemingly adding my voice to the great saints of the church who have prayed the same prayers. As the rhythm of the week continued I felt the call to begin making this a regular practice at COTHA.
This week I have begun to pray Morning Prayer at 9 AM in the sanctuary and will continue to do this from Monday through Thursday. As part of the Office, there is an opportunity to offer intercessions and thanksgivings. I have a copy of our membership roster that I am using. By this I mean that every woman, man and child of COTHA will be prayed over the course of a month. When I know of specific needs, these will prayed for. When I don’t, I will simply lift the family to God and ask for Him to bless the family. I know that praying for each family specifically will make a difference for all of us.
Just one person can pray Morning Prayer but I want to invite any of you to join me each morning (Monday through Thursday) at 9 AM. For some, the practice of Morning Prayer will seem foreign and for others it will seem like welcoming home an old friend. But for COTHA it will be a regular devotional practice. The service usually lasts less than a half an hour and will be prayed in the sanctuary. I am arranging a small chapel area on the side of our worship space to accommodate this. Join me when you can!