For the last week or so I’ve been praying an abridged version of Universalist morning and evening prayer (evening prayer, rather than the morning prayer and vespers PDF I posted) at home. Abridged in that I don’t read out the dialogues, opening words or anything to direct the congregation. No hymns and obviously no sermon.
A psalm or two, a reading, and the usual prayers. I add a collect for the day, and I’m slowly working through various resources to find these, and collects for special occasions.
I’m getting used to the rhythms of grammar of the prayers, and I add to specific petitions more naturally each day. I started using small sticky notes to remember particular people places or situations in my prayers. Some elements are showing their age; others provide timeless comfort.
Even after a few days, I can feel something changing my direction towards God, and I look for new discoveries in the days and years to come.
I get a small taste of “praying the hours” when I do my annual retreat at St. Gregory’s Abbey in Three Rivers, MI. At the monastery it creates an inner rhythm to my relationship with God, and greater mindfulness regarding the day. But outside the abbey I’ve rarely practiced morning and evening prayer. And maybe this is something I need to reconsider, as part of my daily spiritual practice.