"I have a friend who takes a particular chair in his living room, the same one he sits in to read the newspapers each day, and he turns the chair to face the window to say his prayers. In this odd sort of way, when the chair is facing the window, it becomes an altar.

"I have another friend who says the morning office at home. She says her midday office silently each day, while walking slowly along a circular sidewalk that goes around the great lawn in the center of a nearby university. It is the only time she walks there. She says that when she first started out, she would walk along slowly, reading the office from a book. People walk and read at the same time on college campuses all the time; that is evidently when studying takes place, so it never occurred to anyone that she was saying her prayers. Later, she said, she memorized the office and walked along saying it to herself. She had to stop moving her lips, though, because people had begun to stare at this lady who was walking around talking to herself every day at noon — which one would expect not to be unnerving to people on a college campus, actually.

"I have a friend who bought a kneeler and uses it to say his prayers. He used to keep it in a closet and pull it out when it was time to pray. Then his teenage daughter took up the closet space, so now it has a permanent place in his front parlor.

"Another woman I know has a particular candle that she pulls out of a drawer and puts in the middle of a shelf when it is time to say her prayers. If the candle is lit, then the chapel is open.

"Every day that I fail to say my prayers, and every day that I am tempted to set the whole practice aside, I think of these people I know and their places and their habits. And I think of the promises we made to one another and the promise I made to these people to remain faithful in my prayers.

"First and foremost, the Church worships the living God. It is where our understanding of God begins. And it may be the best place for our understanding of one another to begin as well.

"And it cannot hurt our understanding of God or one another if we offer such worship and praise each day, rather than merely once a week.

"One of my friends used to say to me, 'So you want to meet God. Exactly when and where will this meeting take place?'

"I cannot tell you when God is going to choose to come and be with you. I cannot even tell you when God is going to choose to come and be with me. But one of the ideas that undergird the practice of the daily office is that it is not for me anyway. It is for God. There is no more guarantee that we will have some fresh and powerful personal sense of God's presence while saying our office each day than there is that such a thing will happen to us or among us when we gather for worship on Sundays either. But that is no reason not to go to church on Sundays.

"Another of the ideas that underlies the saying of the office is that regardless of whether we get anything out of the office, we are to say it in order to keep the prayer that is prayed without ceasing from actually ceasing as it passes through our time zone and city and parish and neighborhood and home.

"Another of the powerful notions underneath the practice is that it is a means by which we are drawn to attention for the presence of God."