June 20, 2012 by Worship, Community, Formation
At Morning Prayer – observed most days in St All’s – we divvy up the jobs between the three or four people who make it to the start of the service. One leads, one or two read the old and new testament readings, and one prays.
I like not to be the one who prays.
Not because it’s difficult, though it is. Our prayers come at the end of the service. To pray well is to bring together what’s in the national news; what’s in the mind of the church and its membership; and what’s in the day’s scripture readings. Our priest, who listens so carefully on each of these levels, draws out themes effortlessly.
Not because I feel inadequate, either, though I do, in comparison to his prayer. My jumble of thoughts always misses something important. I’m made aware of how much good prayer reflects a clear and listening heart. But if my prayer, or that of another lay person falls short, we are never made to feel that we should not have made the effort.
No, it’s simply that my priest can pray my concerns better than even I do. Most things, you learn by doing. Some things, you learn by listening. I think if I prayed through his prayers every day for a year, I would learn more than if I led prayers myself. He prays the prayers I would pray, if I could.