I read somewhere that one reason soldiers screaming as they run into battle, or football fans cheering their team at the top of their lungs feel a sense of camaraderie, of brotherhood, with each other is because raising your voice at the same time and in the same way as another person causes your hearts to synchronize.
When I first learned this little fact, I was floored. God had written into our voices and our hearts a beating reminder of our oneness with one another. My mind immediately jumped to the Mass, where hundreds of men and women and children raise their voices in the same hymns, the same Glorias and Alleluias , the same creeds, every heart beating as one “body of Christ.” Amazing.
For a long time now, my husband (and before that when he was my fiancé and my boyfriend) have said Evening Prayer together every night, no matter what. If we were in different states or countries, it didn’t matter, we prayed together over the phone. If we were mad at each other, it didn’t matter, we prayed together anyway. Somehow, saying the psalms and offering intentions always drew us closer. Now I know—at least one—reason why.
Now, though, there’s someone else joining us in Evening Prayer every night. My pregnancy is showing rapidly, and the little life inside me is more and more interested in making sure everyone knows he (or she) is there. When my husband and I lift our voices to sing the Magnificat together, to recite the Our Father, to sing an extra hymn just because we can, I like to imagine I can hear all three of our hearts beating as one, softly drumming a beat in praise of the Lord.
If you’ve never prayed Evening Prayer (part of the Liturgy of the Hours) it goes something like this:
There are three psalms read or sung as call-and-response, one person (or group) serving as “leader” while the other person (or group) serves as responder. After the psalms someone from the second group reads a short Scripture passage and leads a brief responsory prayer.
Then both people (or groups) say or sing the Magnificat together. My husband and I sing the Magnificat for Sundays (which, in Evening Prayer, happen on both Saturday *and* Sunday) and Feast Days. After the Magnificat comes a list of intercessions, the Our Father, and a closing prayer.
If you’ve never prayed the Liturgy of the Hours before, I strongly recommend it. Find a friend (or a spouse, or a child, or a roommate) and pray with him or her. It will take about 8 minutes out of your day, not a bad investment.