Practicing a Rule in Community

Father Andrew Unger casts a vision for practicing a Common Rule in community.


In my sermon on Sunday, I made a pitch for everyone at All Souls to take up a common rule of life – praying for our church and for each other three times a day. Like monastic communities that observe a regular routine throughout their days, the hope is that by committing to ordering daily life in prayer like this, we’ll find that God meets us and forms us through this rhythm of prayer. You can read more about the practice and find some resources on how you might observe these prayer hours on our Common Rule webpage.

I wanted to write a quick note about practicing our common rule with others. It might seem like this Common Rule is like homework: the thing you are supposed to do at home so that you are ready to engage when we come back together. Or that each of us has to pull our own spiritual load, so that if anyone falters they are dragging the community down.

Neither of these pictures really capture what practicing a rule in community ought to be like. As I mentioned in the sermon, we do have obligations to each other. But the work of a Common Rule is not “doing our part”, but the means by which we become more and more the people God calls us to be. Ideally, it’s collaborative. So, as much as possible, make your participation in the Common Rule a common experience!  You can:

  • Share with your friends about how the process has helped you (or where you are struggling).
  • Discuss the process in your house group.
  • Talk with the people you live with about praying together. Or see if there are other parts of Earley’s Rule that you might want to add in.

The goal isn’t to help you ascend a spiritual ladder, but to have a common way of ordering our lives in such a way that it draws us into prayer for each other, returning us to God’s word, anchoring our lives in Christ. May we all find that by giving this pattern to our days, we notice God more, find greater awareness of His love for us, and see Him working through us to love others.