I mentioned in a previous post that you can have the head of the household lead family devotions in the home if you can’t get to church. Someone commented that they are alone. What do you do if you are alone? Well, first, recognize that you are the head of household in that instance. Second, you can still do Matins. All the responses in Matins work with one person. It’s a prayer office. It’s designed for prayer, and it’s scaleable – one person or a thousand works just as well.
The Divine Service is only scaleable down to two. It just does not work to say “The Lord be with you. And with your spirit.” to yourself. I wasn’t there when Matins was developed, but I know that the extra-people-ness of Divine Service is intentional. You can not have a private communion. That’s like saying a dark light. It contradicts itself. But you can have private prayers. It happens a lot. And Matins is a form to help you with prayers. So if you are alone, you can work right through Matins. Sing the parts you know, or speak them if you prefer. Do many Psalms or one – it is up to you and your schedule. For hymns – sing them with gusto or quietly, no one will complain.
But for those alone and unable to get to church, Matins should work just fine with one. I’ve done it many times myself as a prayer at the church. If it’s evening, Vespers will also work. The point is, do something. Matins/Vespers gives a structure, but its by no means the only structure you can use. Hymns, psalms, readings, a few pertinent words are the goal. If that works in Matins, cool. If that works in some other format, that’s ok too. Private prayers are flexible prayers. Do what works for you.
But pray. Pray often – without ceasing in fact. It doesn’t have to be long or formal, although it can be that as well. Pray for the church and the world. Pray for those in need. Pray for whatever troubles you, give thanks for whatever blessings you have received.
But whatever you do, pray that soon we can gather again as the church in all her splendor. And as the church always does, pray that our Lord will return soon.