Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Deep Well: Morning Prayer (a bit grudgingly)

Here's the deal. I'm not a morning person.

Anyone who's ever lived with me knows that I'm pretty much ok sleeping through the morning. I'm not one of those people who feels like I've "wasted the day" if I don't get up early, go for a run, and get cracking on my to do list. 

I hear sunrises are very lovely, and I've even seen a few great ones (although I've also had more than a few "well, I guess it's too cloudy to see the sun" experiences). But if God could just let me know once a year or so that there would be a really beautiful sunrise, that would be about enough for me.

So when my friend Rachel suggested that we do morning prayer together, I was a bit skeptical. 

This is the second time I've attempted this, the first being with my housemate Jen. I don't remember how long I lasted before I started sleeping through it, but it wasn't very long.

But one doesn't create a more disciplined spiritual life by sitting around waiting for it to happen, I suppose, so one evening as I was hanging out in Rachel's room I made a decision. "Ok," I said, "what time are we getting up tomorrow for morning prayer?"

We settled on the prayer in the United Methodist hymnal even though Rachel's Presbyterian because the Presbyterian one was sort of unwieldy. We wanted efficiency. My eyes are sort of blurry in the morning, so I didn't want to have to choose between a lot of prayer options. 

We've been doing this for about a week now, so don't get too excited. There is yet time for me to cop out and stay in bed: "C'mon Jesus. Just one more hour."

And I certainly haven't turned into Gandhi or Dorothy Day; haven't started levitating, either literally or in the figurative sense of floating above the world's problems. Maybe after two weeks.

But I do think it matters, starting the day off with this:

"New every morning is your love, great God of light,
   and all day long you are working for good in the world.
Stir up in us desire to serve you,
   to live peacefully with our neighbors,
   and to devote each day to your Son,
   our Savior, Jesus Christ the Lord."

Instead of with this (at around 10:30): "I wonder what important emails I have. Oooo....and Facebook notifications!"

I do think it matters, starting the day with praying for the community, the church, and the world. In particular, praying for those people in my community, church, and world who I am inclined to disagree with or be disagreeable to. The people I pray for a bit grudgingly. 

I've been blogging, more sporadically than intended, about things that point me to the deep well of spiritual strength that I see in my heroes drawing from, the MLKs and Peter Storeys and Jean Vaniers. 

I'm not exactly basking in the glow of the Spirit every morning. Half the time I'm distracted and grumpy.

But this is a lifelong thing, and sometimes, you've just gotta start dancing, no matter how grudging you feel. 

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