Prayer and Worship in the Home
In this time of social distancing for the public good, the temporary suspension of public worship at Holy Apostles does not mean that prayer and worship are suspended. In addition to virtual gatherings, prayer and worship will continue at present primarily in the home. This may seem to us a new way of being Christian, but it is in fact a very old way—for the first several generations of its existence, the church, the Body of Christ, worshiped in small groups in individual houses. We have a long tradition of prayer and devotion in the home from which to draw in our current need. Here are some resources you may find helpful. Explore, experiment, embrace what works for you, hold lightly what doesn’t. In all this, be assured that God is present with and in you, no less than in any church building. The communion of saints, of which you are a part, is not bound by space or time, but is united always in and by Jesus Christ.
For Daily Prayer and Devotion
The Book of Common Prayer
In addition to our public liturgies, the Prayer Book has many resources for personal devotion, such as Daily Devotions for Individuals and Families (p. 136), An Order of Worship for the Evening (p. 108), Compline (p. 127), the Psalter (p. 585), and Prayers and Thanksgivings for various occasions (p. 810). The BCP also may be accessed online here.
From the Episcopal publishing ministry Forward Movement, this webpage provides a convenient way to pray the BCP’s Daily Offices of Morning and Evening Prayer, updated every day with the appointed psalms and readings, as well as the Forward Day by Day meditation and other resources.
Another popular site centered on the Daily Office, with a lot of resources, including spoken and sung audio recordings of the offices.
If you are into podcasts, you know that there are a lot out there to sift through, but here are a few that are really well done—each is published regularly, with episodes between 5 to 15 minutes.
- Pray as You Go – a Jesuit resource with music, scripture, and space for reflection and prayer
- We Wonder: Lent – based on the Godly Play model, geared toward families with children
- Songs in the Desert – reflections on favorite hymns, as submitted by listeners
- A Morning at the Office – from Forward Movement, a reading of Daily Morning Prayer
Especially for Young Families
Grow Christians is an online community of Episcopalians sharing reflections, resources, questions, and ideas about practicing faith in the home. Good stuff especially on the liturgical year and saints’ days.
Faith-at-Home is a new, collaborative resource offering daily prayers and activities, reflecting throughout the week on the Sunday lectionary.
The church will be open for prayer from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM on Sunday, and Fr. John or Fr. Clay will post a short reflection or homily for the day, using Facebook Live (this will be shared on the church’s Facebook page).
This site provides the Collect of the Day and the Lectionary readings and psalm appointed for every Sunday and Holy Day. (Note: this is the eucharistic lectionary that we use in church on Sundays; the Daily Office has a separate lectionary, so if you are reading or following Morning Prayer on a Sunday you will probably hear different readings from these. Both are good and used throughout the church—just different contexts.)
Based upon the Prayer Book directive about the desire to receive Holy Communion when illness makes physical reception impossible, “this act of prayer and meditation can provide the means by which you can associate yourself with the Eucharistic Action and open yourself to God’s grace and blessing.”
There are many large parishes and cathedrals that have already established broadcasts of their services online. Here are two good ones:
Washington National Cathedral – This is the cathedral church of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington. In addition to streaming their Sunday eucharist, they have daily webcasts of Morning and Evening Prayer.
Choral Evensong from the BBC – This radio service is broadcast from a different location each week, offering listeners one of the most beautiful liturgies of our Anglican tradition.