A prayer born every minute

Before I forget again.

Hubby and I were shopping for chairs (again) last weekend. We took a break at a Borders, and I saw One Nation Under God: The History of Prayer in America. As usual, I flipped to see what it said about the Universalists and Unitarians. Quite a bit really. I noted that late in life P. T. Barnum prayed from a Universalist devotional Manna, which I believe was written by John Coleman Adams. “I think,” because my copy is in a Hollinger box somewhere.

The format is simple and still used: a biblical passage with a sermonette for each day of the year. Adams had an concern for comforting the sick and greiving, so (not having prayed from Manna) I have to think its core is comfort.

Following the “Chutney’s morning prayer” thread, such a book can be used in public worship as the two readings, even though historically a non-biblical reading is more customary for evening services. Something to reflect on in the night hours. A little morning liturgy — which tend to be stimulating; here, say, for a retreat — might go:

  • Liturgical greeting (“The Lord be with you . . .”)
  • Collect for purity
  • First reading
  • Psalm 95 (a traditional ordinary morning psalm)
  • Second reading (“sermonette”)
  • Open prayer
  • Lord’s Prayer (unison)
  • Collect for grace
  • Prayer of St. John Chrysostom
  • Blessing or dismissal

About Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 44, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

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