My roommates and I have been trying to pray Night Prayer together every night at 9:30– whoever’s home participates. So far I’ve been guilty of being home least often, but when I am home I find that it’s going more and more smoothly. Praying with others is a lot like living with them: learning about their needs, personality, and temperament will make the whole thing go a lot more smoothly. Any intentional prayer that a community begins is bound to be shaky at the start, and the more reasons I find not to stick to our routine the more essential it becomes.
The first question we faced when committing to a routine of communal prayer was what to do. We chose to start with something simple and short. Night prayer contains one hymn, one or two psalms, one short reading, and the Canticle of Simeon, which is only a few lines long. They repeat week after week. And so one is forced to meditate, to let something come alive in each reading, to notice. Night prayer is beautiful in its simplicity.
In honor of the saint who did small things with great love, I’m taking a look at my own spiritual life and removing the clutter, the unrealistic time commitments, and anything that is blocking peace. Prayer is not achievement; the Church is not a gym. There is no log at the end of the day with boxes to check off. There is only your own heart, nourished in the truth, “more torturous than all else,” (Jer 17:10) and yet a faithful barometer of your relationship with the Lord.