Epiphany Prayers

I’m exhausted.

I feel bad when I complain about being tired because I know people are out there saving lives and working crazy hours and serving others and loving until they are even more exhausted but they keep doing it. And all I am doing is going to college classes and working in a cubicle in one office and working behind a desk in another office.

I just texted my roommate telling her how much I could really use a nap.

Monday the high was seventy-one degrees and people were biking and wearing shorts, Tuesday the sky was impending doom and rain was pouring like crazy, and today the temperature was dropping like it was freezing and the snow still hasn’t stopped.

My roommate tweeted about how she loves and appreciates me. Sometimes we love and appreciate people and we think they know, but we never tell them. And, guys, we just really need to tell them. Words matter. Sometimes it is exactly the encouragement someone needs.

But, let me tell you: I am probably an awful roommate. I set a bazillion alarms in the morning to make sure I wake up in enough time to shower and get ready for the day (which includes coffee and most of the time, oatmeal). And because I am ridiculous, I wake up way too early. So I have alarms going off at 4:55 AM, 5:00 AM, 5:15 AM, 5:30 AM to insure I wake up by 5:36 (exact time I got out of bed this morning), and I also have alarms at 6:00 AM and 6:15 AM just in case. I make sure they are annoying alarms like car horns, so when am awoken, I’m all like, “What is this noise and why does it sound like there is a spaceship nearby?” Just to make sure I am fully awake.

I wake up, try to remember what day it is, remind myself that yes, you really do need to get out of bed. Wednesday mornings are morning prayers, so even though I definitely could sleep in a little longer, I have made it a priority to be consistent with attending morning prayers. Even when I don’t feel like praying, I know prayer is important.

And I really love morning prayers.

Since it is so early, barely anyone actually comes. (Nothing like a start time of 7:30 AM to keep out the riff raff.)

We read through our little prayer books, which are an adaptation of the Common Book of Prayer. Morning prayers are only thirty minutes long, and we receive communion every time.

It is structured. It is predictable. It is safe.

And when I don’t feel like praying, I love knowing I can come pray words handed to me.

It isn’t like I pray them without thinking, like I’m a machine and these prayers are only data entry. It’s just so peaceful, and I find grace, and part of me thinks I would make a really great Anglican.

This morning I had to scrap ice and snow off my car and let it warm up. (Yes, I drive from one place on campus to another that’s probably only two blocks away, but in my defense: I have to leave for work after my class.) I really had to talk myself into making it to morning prayers.

Luckily, I woke up in enough time and actually had enough time to remove snow, otherwise I’m not sure: I probably would have given up. Sometimes I’ll admit: I just give up, but failing one day doesn’t mean I need to fail the next. Each day is a new day.

I kept telling myself how it was important. Someone once told me I am very consistent, and I think it’s really a great compliment and aim to be consistent. Attending morning prayers consistently is important to me.

I walk in to the little chapel on my campus, and the person leading the prayers started off by saying, “We are going to do thing a little different this morning.”

And my inner-dialogue begins:

Wait. No. This isn’t what I wanted. This isn’t why I come here.

He continued, “Break into groups of two or three…”

No. I hate breaking into groups. Can’t you just let me be? I don’t really know anyone here—I’m not really friends with anyone here.

Luckily, a professor who is consistently there whispered to me seeing if I could join him. So, I moved back to sit by him, and I was in a group with him and a guy whose name I didn’t know.

Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen this guy before. I don’t think he’s a regular morning prayers attendee.

We shared how our semesters have been going, how our lives are going. We shared how our spiritual journeys have been going—what prayers we have. (I asked the other guy what his name was.)

Then, we prayed for each other.

It’s not like we skinned our souls before each other. Just shared a little bit of our lives and a little honesty and some prayers. Offered some grace.

It would not have been something I would have willingly walked into, but I was so grateful for it.

Sometimes God gives us exactly what we need when we didn’t even know how much we needed it.

Grace abounds from places we never knew to look.

It’s this ordinary grace where God breaks into the routine. You clear off snow, show up even when you just want to sleep longer, and there is grace dressed up in ordinary clothes greeting you.

In the Christian calendar, we are still in the season of Epiphany. On the feast day of Epiphany, we celebrate Jesus’ physical manifestation in the world. The Light came to our darkness. Jesus was revealed to us as the incarnate Christ. It is a season where we are to focus on the mission of the Church, to reach others, serve others, love others. We are to join together in community with each other—spread grace and peace.

So, go. Love, serve. Pray, show grace. Offer peace, maybe even a hug.

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