Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 160 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Monday, August 21, 2023

Prayer is not just for Sunday - Rector's Rambling for August 20, 2023

Prayer – it’s not just for Sunday!  I know that sounds simplistic, but I would venture a guess that for many in the Church, Sunday is the only time of the week spent earnestly in prayer.  And even then, I fear that the 75 minutes at St. John’s is all that many are getting in, if at all.

The late bishop of the Diocese of Michigan, Richard Emrich, wrote that any renewal that could happen in the church must start in prayer and worship, and he is exactly right.  A praying church is a growing church.  In fact, during his tenure as Diocesan bishop (which then included all of the eastern half of the lower peninsula) there were 49 missions and parishes established.

As Anglicans, we have as a great gift in The Book of Common Prayer.  We use it on Sunday for our worship: Holy Communion and Morning Prayer.  And during the week, Holy Communion and Evening Prayer are prayed in community as well.  They are great opportunities to gather together in His name, to worship, to hear scripture read, and to put ourselves for 20 to 30 minutes fully into His presence.

And YOU can use the Book of Common Prayer every day of the week.  We have free, used copies in the parish library if you want a copy.  You can pray Morning and Evening Prayer at home, or, if you are not ready to commit yet to that much formality, then there is also a section called “Forms of Prayer to be used in Families” (p. 587 to 593).  This is a collection of prayers to begin and end the day in prayer.  Plus, there are lots of other prayers and thanksgivings for all sorts of occasions on pages 594 to 600, as well as pages 35 to 53.  These prayers are time-tested and very helpful.

Formal, written prayers are a great way to “prime the pump” and direct us in right doctrine as we pray.  But we should also be regular in praying from the heart, speaking comfortably and relationally to the Lord.  The formal prayer is a good start, but be sure also to check in in personal prayer as well to stay close and intimate with Jesus.