Twitter and Prayer and Oddly Enough, Reality
Recently, I signed up for a Twitter account. Some of my minister friends told me a while back that they were part of a group called The Virtual Abbey who, in addition to keeping a blog and a Facebook page, also tweet the Daily Offices. I thought that was a little strange - why not use the Prayer Book, or even one of the many Daily Office online sites such as Mission St Clare or Daily Office Wordpress blog?
But I figured I would check it out, and I signed up to follow The Virtual Abbey as well as some news sites, a bunch of priests and ministers, and eventually also a silly but not really that silly group called The Unvirtuous Abbey. Both the Virtual Abbey and the Unvirtuous Abbey have the same really great idea idea in mind - to remind people to stop and pray. The Virtual Abbey does it by tweeting parts of prayers that many of us know, in sequential tweets, while the Unvirtuous Abbey does it by tweeting intercessions that are maybe silly and maybe not but are certainly bound to catch one's attention. (A recent tweet was "For those whose closest thing to prayer is texting OMG, we pray to the Lord.")
Many of us would prefer to pray the offices corporately - together with other people, face to face. But this is difficult for people who do not live near a church or other place that offers Morning or Evening Prayer every day or ever at all. Online prayer is one option - we pray virtually with others even if not together in person. Many of us like to pray alone, really alone, with a candle and a Bible and a Prayer Book and that's it. Going in the room and shutting the door and all that.
And I do all those things - pray with others when I can, pray alone, pray with others online. But praying via Twitter is bringing a new dimension of reality into my prayer life. Because while you're reading your Twitter feed, the Virtual Abbey's tweets are periodically interrupted by other tweets. And those interruptions become part of the intercessions. What's going on in the world out there comes into the prayers in a way that just doesn't happen when I'm in my room with my books and the door shut.
Like this (I'm paraphrasing and editing here, but you get the idea):
(Virtual Abbey) Lord Jesus, stay with us, for evening is at hand.
(local news source) woman's body found in trash bag, see story here
(VA) Give rest to the weary, bless the dying...
(international news source) clashes continue in Egypt between pro and anti govt protesters
(VA) Soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted ....
(Christian blogger) Just posted a new poem on my blog - link here
(Priest Friend) Goodnight all!
(Unvirtuous Abbey) For all who feel like Jedi when doors open automatically for them, let us pray to the Lord.
(VA) Shield the joyous
(Local church) Candlemas services tomorrow at 7:30
(national news source) Monster winter storm bearing down on the Northeast
(VA) And all for your love's sake.
(friend) Al Jazeera English site down. Here is link to translator site...
All this adds a new dimension to my prayer life. I can't always go into my room and light a candle. And maybe that's good.