I love corporate worship; when we pray and sing together at the Eucharist or during Evening Prayer, be it on Sundays or weekdays, the participation of those gathered energizes my experience of God among us. It’s fulfilling; it gets me through both happy and sad days; it’s easy.
But in the Ash Wednesday Gospel, Jesus calls out to you and me, “Go to your room, close the door, and pray” (Mt. 6). For me, not so easy. I have tried to pray when able to find some quiet at home. For me, not so easy. I tried to read a book of the Bible—a chapter per day. For me, not so easy. I tried reading Morning Prayer or Evening Prayer from the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) on my own. For me, not so easy.
Lots of attempts. But I have refused to give up. When falling on the road to Calvary, Jesus got up (more than once) and continued the sojourn to what would ultimately be his victory.
One year, though, during the Alpha Course, I was invited to spend some time daily using the booklet, Forward Day by Day (available at the back of the church as well as online). For each day, a few verses of scripture are printed (following the BCP) along with a short meditation and reflection question. Something about the structure of this really helped my daily private prayer, making time for silence at home a lot less difficult.
All Saints Church continues to support my daily prayer, providing wonderful opportunities to learn, and to grow in faith.