I have offered to lead a weekly devotion on Tuesday mornings at 6AM, starting in September. This devotion – to be held at the train station coffee shop prior to the Philadelphia-bound 6:44AM Express train – is to provide commuters and others with an opportunity for prayer and reflection in the midst of the work week. This is not intended as a Bible study or Bible discussion, though surely we will talk about and learn from the Bible and each other. Prayer, reflection, devotion – whatever language you use, that is what this time is about.
- Morning Prayer/Matins – We can use a spoken version of Daily Prayer, from BCP, LBW, ELW or any other resource (I’m a bit of a Lutheran homer, and tend to prefer the resources from my tradition, even if they are all but stolen from the Anglicans . . .).
- Pros: Great practice grounded in tradition, psalms, lectionary, creeds, etc. Much more complete than anything I can make up on my own, and connects us to the wisdom and practice of the wider church.
- Cons: Liturgical dialog and multiple readings might be too formal or difficult to read/pray in a bustling coffee shop, particularly for a crowd of Lutherans not used to such a practice. If we add a time of discussion/reflection after the readings, this could get a little long.
- Suffrages/Responsive Prayer – Responsive Prayer (from ELW) or equivalent. A simplified version of Morning Prayer, it offers the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostle’s Creed, a litany and several collects. We can easily insert a reading, as well.
- Pros: A traditional prayer practice, yet its simplified/streamlined shape may better allow for a time of discussion, and may also prove advantageous for coffee shop use.
- Cons: Liturgical dialog may still be awkward in a coffee shop . . .
- Something Else – We can develop a simple prayer and devotion practice that includes a lectionary-based reading(s), a collect or two from the tradition, and perhaps other non-Biblical reflective material (poetry, artwork, brief narratives, etc.).
- Pros: Flexible and adaptable to needs and interests of those who gather for prayer, and less formal nature may be more amenable to coffee house environment
- Cons: More work for me to find non-Biblical resources, and less connected to broader traditions of the church.
Of course, we can start with a practice and then make some changes if it isn’t working. But I would like to get off to a good start, so . . . Lend me your thoughts, please. What shall we pray?