The Power of a Community at Prayer
When a community prays together, it is a unique and powerful experience.
Alone with God during the week, our prayers are often spontaneous and personal: “Thank you, help me, forgive me. Watch over my sick friend. Speak to me, Lord; I am your servant and I am listening.”
But Sunday morning is different. On Sunday morning we come together to pray as a community. It is a sacred, holy time. It begins when we enter the church. The ambiance is reminiscent of the Japanese Tea Ceremony, where everything is precise and beautiful. Here at St. Michael’s, there are candles and fresh flowers. The altar and credence table are set in a precise manner; each item in its exact and proper place.
The liturgical language is special – different from our everyday speech. The Bible readings and the sermon are new each week. They teach and inspire us and give us food for thought and meditation. Throughout the service we say prayers in unison, in a sacred and poetic style. The words are familiar; they’re old friends. We know what’s coming. As we are led through prayers of praise, thanksgiving, confession, and petition, the words become pegs upon which our minds can hang our personal joys and sorrows.
We receive communion, joining with all those present and with all those who have gone before us.
We take with us absolution, blessing, and the reminder that we have asked God to “assist us with thy grace, that we may continue in that holy fellowship, and do all such good works as thou hast prepared for us to walk in” (BCP 339).
Thus it is that we are strengthened by our time in the presence of God with our church community for the holy work that lies ahead.
This article was written by Sunny Allen-Romberg and was published in The Messenger, Fall 2014 issue.