Our voices joined together quietly in the middle of the busy Starbucks. Can a Starbucks be a sacred space?
“Lord God Almighty and Everlasting Father, you have brought me in safety to this new day. Preserve me with your mighty power that I may not fall into sin nor be overcome by adversity, and in all that I do direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose in Christ Jesus. Amen.” (Phyllis Tickle, The Divine Hours)
I’ve always sort of subscribed to the L.M. Montgomery philosophy of prayer. I want with Anne of Green Gables to “go out into a great big field all alone or in the deep, deep woods and I'd look up into the sky—up—up—up—into that lovely blue sky that looks as if there was no end to its blueness. And then I'd just feel a prayer.” And if I can’t be out in that field, I’ll just keep close to the Lord offering up my requests and praise as I go through the day. Breathing is praying in some sense.
But there is also something so beautiful and necessary about stopping the motion of the day to create space for such breathing. We are, after all, stewards of time and grace. And so I have learned to pray the hours.
I’m pretty new to the concept of fixed hour prayer, and I’m not very consistent about it. Most often I start the day and pause at noon with these fixed prayers. Sometimes, as I shift into dinner prep, I hold open the book my early morning Starbucks friend introduced me to --- Phyllis Tickle’s inspiring work The Divine Hours. And more often now, my husband and I pray the Compline together before we sleep. Starting the morning, stopping at noon, pausing in the evening and before bed. No matter when I do choose fixed hour prayer, I appreciate the space to breathe. Just turning the pages of the book to this day and praying along with so many others across time and space the well-worn and never old words of the psalm for the day, the short verse, the refrain, the vespers hymn. Oh, it is a fresh breath and a connection both to the God who knows me and to those across the globe who know Him and pray with me.
I never leave those ten minutes empty. Because I am praying mostly scripture, the time is rich, and because the words are there for me, the time is freeing. I am every time humbled and each time moved to contemplation and to action.
Can Starbucks be a sacred space? Yes, oh, yes.
I am clicking over to the website that so kindly hosts Phyllis Tickle’s The Divine Hours, and I am choosing to pray the morning, midday, vespers or the compline once a day this week.