For the past year, I’ve been working with some other wonderful people to complete a project called Common Prayer. Common Prayer is a collection of songs, prayers, and liturgies from different Christian communities around the globe–churches, live-in communities, prayer communities like Taize–woven into daily offices for morning, noon, and evening prayers. As so many have found, myself included, an ordered prayer life keeps us in step with the rhythm of God. This book is an attempt to help communities to do that together.
While on the one hand, there are plenty of prayer books filled with daily liturgies and readings, what makes this one special is its mosaic of traditions represented in both the daily prayers and the song book, as well as its inclusion of non-traditional sources for wisdom. The prayers remember saints like Dorothy Day and introduces heroes and she-roes of the faith that many may not be familiar with. Introductions to the different seasons of the year help us remember that God is breaking into this world in subversive ways. We remember the injustices of the world, the ceaseless wars, and lament the brokenness around us while letting our prayers transform us into agents of God’s shalom in the world.
I’m excited about this project because I wonder if one of the reasons why our beliefs and practices are so divorced from one another is because we don’t pray together, not just physically, but praying in the same spirit with the same openness to God’s transformation of our selves. My prayer for this book is that it will create exciting possibilities for folks to pray across self-imposed barriers of difference in priority. May these prayers disrupt us from our comfortable places; for those who see prayer only as a personal conversation with God, let it move them to see how prayer moves us to action; for those who only see prayer as about the “out there” of the world, let these prayers together move us to be transformed ourselves, to move deeper into a knowledge of Jesus.
The book comes out in time for Advent, but if you’re in the D.C. Area, come to the release party on Dec. 7th at Fairlington Presbyterian Church for free copies for you and your community/church. There will be other parties in other cities as well–try to get to one and celebrate the Advent of our Lord in prayer with others! Click here to order your copy if you can’t come to a party!