Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.- Prayer for the Second Sunday of Advent from The Book of Common Prayer
I am now more than a week into this year-long experiment. Though there have been a few small challenges to the way that I'm trying to arrange each day around the ways of prayer described in Live Prayerfully, so far I'm very glad to be doing this. To this point, the challenges have all boiled down to small tests of my intentions to pray in these ways, in situations when by habit, I normally would have put off a time of prayer because of some inconvenience and probably not gotten back around to it.
I shared an example of this from one day last week in the previous post, describing my unexpected feline and canine companions in prayer. After writing that, I knew the next couple of days could also be unfavorable to my plans, as we had to get through a 17-hour road trip from Missouri back to Texas. Particularly with two preschoolers in the car, the trip is already guaranteed to be long, so pausing four times each day to pray and make it any longer didn't seem like a kind option for my family.
Plus, I like to be the driver on road trips, so even though I could find opportunities while driving for praying without words and praying with my own words, opening up my prayer book to pray with other people's words while going down I-44 at 70 miles per hour also didn't seem like a kind option for my family.
Yet thankfully, another very good option presented itself, as Kara was happy to read the prayers aloud for me and we were able to pray them together.
In the last paragraph of the conclusion of Live Prayerfully, I say:
One more thing: I said in the Introduction that a prayerful life is meant for everyone. Here in the Conclusion I want to add to that statement and say: a prayerful life is meant for everyone, and none of us becomes prayerful by ourselves. Perhaps the synergy that surpasses that of putting together practices of praying with other people’s words, praying without words, and praying with your own words is that of putting these practices together with others. It might be on a retreat, in a small group, or with your family, but the only way we are meant to live prayerfully is to live prayerfully together.
Although I am convinced that is true, to this point in my life I have only practiced it to a minimal degree. If one of the main things that comes out of this year is that I'm forced to put that paragraph to the test by living prayerfully with my family and others with whom I cross paths when it's time to pray, I expect that all of us will be a bit better off for having done so together.
[This is the 4th post from A Year of Living Prayerfully.]