A Liturgy of the Hours in the Time of COVID

At a time when (for many) work, school and home life all take place in one space, it can be hard to separate one from another. Everything morphs together, and it can feel like school or work never really ends. The feeling of “home” has been taken away.

There’s no magic wand to wave to fix the stress and strain we’re all under right now, but an establishment of simple rituals to transition from one state of being to another might be the key to helping you make space for each part of your life–even though it’s all happening under one roof.

Consider creating your own Liturgy of the Hours. The liturgy of the hours is a series of prayers said throughout the day in many Catholic monastic traditions. Saying specific prayers at different times helps mark the different parts of your day and, in these strange days, offer a ritual of transition. You can use prayers from a prayer book or choose from your favorite Psalms, or you can create your own that address your specific situation.

Some suggestions

A Prayer upon Waking

Creator God, thank you for this day.

Open my eyes to how you are working in my life and in the world right now. Help me to be present to the abundant blessings I enjoy.–even in the midst of the chaos. Amen.

A Prayer for the Start of Work

God be present in all that I do and say in this work day.

Be in my greetings and in my good-byes.

Let your light shine through me in Zoom meetings and on conference calls.

May my interactions today lift up and bring life to others.

Keep me steady in the midst of unanticipated interruptions and unexpected storms.

Guide me through this work day as I seek to do Your work in this world. Amen.

A Prayer for the Start of the School Day

Open my mind to all the new things I will learn today.

Perk up my ears to hear everything the teacher has to say.

Keep my eyes focused on the task at hand (and not wandering around the room)

Hold my tongue if I start to say something unkind.

Help me be the kind of person who makes others feel important and special.

A Prayer for the Ending of Work/Learning Time

Loving God, help us to move from this time of learning and earning. Allow us to be satisfied with what we’ve accomplished this day and leave whatever else needs to be done until tomorrow. Amen.

A Prayer for Sleep

God of Grace, thank you for getting us to this place.

Quell our fears and our doubts and worries–at least for the night.

Help us to find rest and renewal so that we can be the people You call us to be. Amen

Try out your own Liturgy of the Hours to ritualize the transitions in your work/school/home life. Ritual and prayer are powerful tools in helping us through difficult times. Make it a priority to work some into your day.

Rev. Anne Russ is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), currently based in New York City. Doubting Believer provides tools and encouragement for the rollercoaster ride of your faith journey. Follow me on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube. You can also follow on TikTok. Get emails to keep up with all that is happening.

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