Solidarity of the Shaken

The SOS 24/7 Prayer Community

The SOS 24/7 prayer intitiative has been a year in the making and builds on a long history at Holy Covenant of prayer, meditation, Quiet Days and some key events (prayer days, vigils) that were held in 2010. It draws its inspiration from a vision given in May 2009: that Holy Covenant become host to an inclusive community of prayer and worship and be linked to praying communities in Australia and around the world. ‘Inclusive’ because it is open to all peoples of all faiths and backgrounds: that is to say, those who are drawn together by one emotion — compassion for the world, the ‘solidarity of those who are shaken’ by the needs of the world; and one desire — to glorify God, through Jesus Christ, and to earnestly intercede for the world.

Like the ‘Boiler Room’ and similar prayer initiatives, the building up of this community of praying people will continue to be gradual and incremental. In 2012, these events will increase in amplitude to include whole months of prayer. It is certain that the day will come when there is a visible praying community at Holy Covenant 24 hours a day. It has been my conviction that we are on the verge of a major revival of faith in the world, or a second spring as William Johnston calls it. The preparation for this movement of the Spirit has also been a long time in the making. That’s why we need to be ready so we can meet this great influx of people hungry for God.

Nikolai Blaskow, November 2010

Girl staring at a candle

An Explanation of the Hours of Prayer

Compline – Completing the Circle

With eyelids closed, the angel of Compline represents the peaceful transition into the silence of sleep. Compline means completion. It is the hour that completes the circle of the day. At this hour of rest for the night, I give thanks for another day. I send blessings to all who cannot sleep and open my heart for the gift of dreams. Briefly we review our day and resolve to do better tomorrow. After that, we approach the night with trust and joyful anticipation, as though it were a deep ocean from which we can fish up all sorts of wonderful things. Trust opens our hearts to the blessing of rest and the promise of helpful dreams.

Vigils – The Night Watch

Vigils is the night-watch hour, the time for learning to trust the darkness. It is the hour that calls us to set aside time outside the practical demands of the day. We are invited to connect with the dark but grace-filled mystery in which we are immersed, the sacred, timeless dimension of our lives. The Angel of Vigils challenges us to carry the good news through the rest of the day: light shines in the midst of darkness; the very darkness shines!

Lauds – The Coming of the Light

The hour of Lauds takes us out of the darkness into the light. We can begin with the attitude that each day is a gift, that everything in our life is a gift — allowing us to see that the appropriate response to this given world is gratefulness, even in the midst of suffering, even in the midst of pain. The angel of Lauds invites us to ask “ What attitude should I bring to this day? What is it time for? Time to rise and shine!” As this hour opens the door to a new day, I rise to give thanks for new opportunities.

Prime – A Deliberate Beginning

Prime is the hour when work duties are given out in a monastic community. The focus is on a proper beginning; to start the day's activities properly, wholeheartedly. This world was given to us to work on. Cultivating it, we come to a deep understanding of the divine reality with which every part of creation is charged. The angel of Prime has the brightest face of all, like the one in a circus who beats the drum for the acrobat to leap. Prime is a drum-roll to start our day deliberately. At this hour, I accept my tasks for today; may I tackle them with courage and bring blessings to all whom I serve through mindful, careful, cheerful work.

Terce – The Joy of Living

Terce celebrates the upbeat mid-morning. The focus of this hour is on Spirit, that life-breath, that joy of living within us. This is the time of day to stop for a few moments and open ourselves to the force of love that drives the universe. The angel of Terce plays a dance instrument expressing the delight in being blessed with life. We can pass on this blessing to others by a good word or a smile, a kind action that goes completely unobserved, or simply a good wish in silence. At this mid-morning hour, grateful for the gift of life, I take a deep breath. May all beings everywhere live in peace.

Sext – Commitment and Fervour

Sext stopping at midday for a moment of reflection is a spontaneous gesture of the human heart. All over the world people pray for peace at this hour. But we also tend to get sleepy at noon. Sext represents a time when our good intentions and our enthusiasm can begin to flag. The noonday angel is blowing the trumpet with full-force, rousing us to make a courageous resolution: “I will stay true to myself and uphold my ideals for the rest of the day.” At this hour of high noon, I lift up heart and mind in a moment of grateful silence.

None – The Shadows Lengthen

None reminds us that it is time to turn inward again, after the outward movement of the day and all its activities. When the things we might have relied on in the course of the day are seen to be transitory, we need to look to those things which endure. The hand of the angel of None is gently stilling the sound of the tambourine. Listening intently to the music that never stops, the inner music, the music of silence, the angel invites us to do the same. At this hour, as day declines towards evening, may I be renewed in spirit and not grow tired of giving my best.

Page version: 2013-10-11