What Shall We Pray?

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.

So, what shall we pray?  I can hear my friend Derek the Ænglican whispering, "BCP Daily Prayer, BCP Daily Prayer."  Perhaps LutherPunk, too, has some ideas.  Well, here are my thoughts . . .

  • 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 PrayerResponsive 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?

Published by Chris Duckworth

Spouse. Parent. Lutheran Pastor. Veteran. Jedi. Political Junkie. Baseball Fan.

7 thoughts on “What Shall We Pray?

  1. While I’m probably biased, I do enjoy both the Morning Prayer and the Responsive Prayers as good choices. It is helpful because it keeps those there interacting but not so much that it is embarrassing or stressful to those who aren’t used to it.
    On the other hand, there is a certain specificity you can get if you search for weekly things. Perhaps you could view the extra work as your own time for devotion and reflection? If you use your search as a way to connect to the week on Sunday, the more it will come accross to the others on Monday morning.
    It might be best to start with one of the ones already available to you and poll the group to see what they want in their time of prayer. If the group becomes comfortable enough they may feel able to bring somethings they’ve found as well.
    Either way it sounds like a fabulous thing and it would be worth being in Philly to participate!

  2. Donald W. Johnson has a wonderful book entitled “Praying The Catechism” which can be used in a number of ways. I use it with adult bible study classes and with youth groups. All seem to enjoy it. It was only $10 from Augsburg Fortress.
    You might also try suscribing to The Daily Texts from the Moravian Church. This is another great resource that you can have delivered to your email each morning.

  3. Well, we use the 1928 BCP. It just works for us. I find the LBW set-up a little cumbersome and haven’t devoted much time to the ELW as of yet.
    Derek’s suggestion is a good one, using the family prayers from the BCP. Short, sweet, to the point. Everyone, including your little one, can participate.
    I will throw a post up a little later with some of my favorite resources over at my blog. I’ll let you know when it is up.

  4. Let me add another vote for Morning Prayer from the 1928 BCP. It’s solidly Scriptural and right in line with the daily prayer tradition of the Church Catholic.
    If you follow the rubrics and omit most or all of the optional things, the office can be prayed reverently, and without rushing, in about 15 minutes. But it will be a quarter-hour which is timeless.

  5. That is awesome man, I wish I could get up to go over and attend it. Though I guess being a heathenistic presbyterian I have always been a fan of just going with the flow of things, though using the Psalms is always good.

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