Praying Together Online
Nearly ten years ago I was persuaded to be part of an ‘online prayer group’. Joanna and I were both initially adamant, ‘you need to be in same room to pray together!’ Our experience since then says how wrong I was. Unless sleep or no internet prevents, each morning we join with 6-8 others (not always the same.) This combination of friendship and ‘spirituality’ has transformed my (our) prayer life.
I’ve been praying for opportunity to explore doing the same at St Mary’s. I was, therefore, delighted when Charles Price suggested we find a way during Thy Kingdom Come to pray together, at this time on line, of course. Following the approach which has evolved in the Morning Prayer group.
- We selected 5 times we would pray together over the 10 days, starting promptly at 6.00 and finishing within 30 minutes.
- Skype audio call (we have not found using video helps!) with loudspeaker phone for one internet-less participant.
- Follow the basic format of Compline, with variations, ie not the same Psalm and reading each time and include short ‘Examen’, ‘Lectio Divina’ and open prayer (silent or spoken.)
- Make it as participative as possible, sharing round who reads, prays and who sings (distortion results if try do so together.)
Praying together online has made it possible to connect meaningfully with others, to remind ourselves of God’s goodness, and to collectively bring our requests to him. An invaluable reminder that we are not alone during this season of isolation and difficulty. (Grant Walton)
I’ve said compline in a lot of different contexts, most recently at the end of St Mary’s Second Thursday monthly group meetings, and I’ve found that it’s a service which asks you to reflect not only on the day that’s just gone but on the whole of life. So I signed up for St Mary’s online compline with a sense both of continuity and of fear for the unimaginable future. It’s a modern compline for a modern distanced medium, but it’s still a powerful opportunity for reflection, penitence and hope. (Margaret Wiedemann)