Let Us Pray
I have been holding an Evening Prayer service on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday in the South Transept for the past six-plus years. At one point, someone offered to lead it on Fridays, but that hasn't always been dependable. I haven't offered it on Wednesdays due to offering a mid-week Eucharist and other meetings that take place on Wednesday evenings. But you can count on an EP service every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday at 5:30.
Most of the time I am the only person there. A few people came by when I first started the service. Some people made it a Lenten discipline one year. Before being hired by her current employer, Dcn. Sue was there regularly. And, depending on work or other schedules, a few people drop in every so often. But for the most part, it's a service of one.
I was asked recently why I continue to hold Evening Prayer if nobody shows up.
The short answer is that the Baptismal Covenant asks us to “continue . . . in the prayers.” Offering a regularly scheduled service of EP helps me be faithful in the prayers.
A longer answer is that EP, or any type of prayer service, should not be based on whether or not people attend or some sort of return-on-investment formula. The cycle of prayer allows one to spend time with God. The cycle of prayer adds a particular rhythm to the days, weeks, months, and years. It also offers a specific time where I spend praying for the people of Saint John's by praying through our directory every month and other concerns that have come up.
Spending time in prayer shouldn't be an afterthought. Spending time in prayer shouldn't be a quick fly-by when we are rushed. Spending time in prayer shouldn't only be reserved for Sundays.
Instead, spending time in prayer should be as intentional as the time you spend with your beloved. It should be a time set aside for the important work of being with God. And whether that is quiet time in the morning, whether it is time away at noon, whether it is praying Morning Prayer before the busy-ness of the day sets in, whether it's praying Evening Prayer in the South Transept or when you get home at night, or whether it's praying Compline before going to bed, it should be regular, intentional time with God.
Wherever you are and whatever your circumstances, don't let the distractions of the world take you away from spending time with God.