A SACRIFICE OF LOVE Prayer as Remembrance Donald S. Stone Christopher is an evangelical believer who is very conscientious about reading the Bible and praying for personal and family needs. Yet, Christopher senses something missing. He endeavors to love his neighbor and stranger; he pays attention to the world around him; he reads the local newspaper and national journals; views television news programs and discussion groups; and discusses local, state, and national politics. Yet, he senses something lacking regarding his prayers. He recognizes that his own prayers, the prayers of his family and friends, and even the prayers expressed during times of worship at church are very parochial. Christopher wonders if his perspective on life expressed in his prayers is too narrow. Is the focus of his prayers imbalanced and characterized by individualism and subjectivism? Is there something Christopher could do to expand his horizons when praying? I would say “yes” and suggest the use of a standard prayer book. By doing so, Christopher could pray with others using carefully crafted prayers designed to address the needs of God’s kingdom. Such prayers offered to God express the wisdom and insights of generations of believers. Common prayers, like common songs, can assist the intercessor in finding the appropriate words to express the truly urgent needs facing the Christian and the Church. There was a time in the life of Christ’s Church when common, corporate prayer would have been considered the norm. If not the norm, then it was at least something toward which the community of faith was striving. These common prayers were designed to petition God about universal and typical needs including prayers for civil and ecclesiastical rulers, society, families, and individual concerns. Common, corporate prayer is an expression of love because it requires sacrifice to offer oneself for the sake of others. Prayer is a sacrifice. Common and corporate prayer helps shape a people into a community of love. It makes demands of time and accessibility. This is part of the demand of being a part of the Royal Priesthood of God. Become what you are! The Christian needs to know who he or she is. The man or woman placed into the church by means of baptism has been incorporated into a royal priesthood. The rite of baptism confers upon the recipient a new status. It is a new standing before God and the world. He or she has become a member of God’s priestly people. This membership involves prayer. It is part of the calling or vocation of a Christian to pray. How a Christian prays says a great deal about who he or she is and his or her relationship with God. Samuel Balentine comments, “Although God is not the one speaking in the act of prayer, God is being addressed. In this sense, what one says to God and about God in prayer provides insights into God’s identity, from the pray-er’s perspective.”1 We pray to communicate with God and the act of prayer expresses the type of relationship we have with him. “. . . there is no better index of
Samuel E. Balentine, Prayer in the Hebrew Bible: The Drama of Divine-Human Dialogue (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1993), p. 264.
3 So what is the value of common prayer? Common prayer expresses who we are as God’s priestly people. “What doth God require of us. The Larger Catechism identifies the outward means in the next question. The letter closes with a reminder that these believers put on the whole armor of God “praying at all times in the Spirit. that we may escape his wrath and curse due to us by reason of the transgression of the law? A. sacraments. is often used to express the idea of assembling or congregating.2
a man’s understanding of God than his prayers. p. and the diligent use of the outward means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of his mediation” (emphasis added). prayers. and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. I urge that supplications. at least. then. are all his ordinances. they need to be what they are! Prayer helps believers mature in their relationships. intercessions. ekklesia. with all prayer and supplication” (Ephesians 6:18). 264. godly and dignified in every way” (1 Timothy 2:1-2). To be the church is to be gathered. The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicates to his church the benefits of his mediation. question 153 asks the following question and gives its answer: Q. This identity is most poignantly manifested when the saints are gathered. the Hebrew term. chosen by the Father “so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:12). The letter provides a very simple and straightforward definition of prayer: “For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father” (Ephesians 2:18). number 154: Q. It is striking to note the same thrust given by Paul to Timothy: “First of all. That we may escape the wrath and curse of God due to us by reason of the transgression of the law. and for intercession for a world that is groaning. (Wheaton. This is our special vocation as believers joined to Christ our Head and great High Priest. an assembly or gathering. In the Greek translation of the Old Testament. If God’s people are to be healthy and effective. The term “church”4 used in the New Testament means to be called out and assembled. IL: Crossway
Bibles. all which are made effectual to the elect for their salvation” (emphasis added). the Body of Christ. the Bride of Christ. Paul writes to the Ephesians so that these Christians might have a better grasp of their identity as God’s people. the Septuagint. or. he requireth of us repentance toward God. when they pray in common. “What are the outward means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of his mediation? A. All Scripture references are taken from the English Standard Version. will translate qahal with the New Testament term. especially the word. for kings and all who are in high positions.. The letter opens with the majestic and lofty recognition that these men and women are God’s elect.”2 St. that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life. 2002). Prayer is one of those “means” appointed by God to communicate the benefits of Christ’s
Ibid. The faithful can place before God with confidence the needs of humanity knowing that they will be heard. In the Old Testament. for thanks to the Creator as creation’s spokesman.
. and prayer. The Westminster Larger Catechism (WLC). This gathered people are given the privilege of and responsibility for the praise of God. and thanksgivings be made for all people. qahal.
281. praying the Lord’s Prayer where it begins with “our”. etc. they received their food with glad and generous hearts.
.e. Prayer Ought to Express Our Oneness “All these with one accord [homothumadon] were devoting themselves to prayer. Now. This was true not merely under the Law. “we” at times in place of “I”. . The pronouns speak for themselves. and praying were corporate activities. singing the gloria patri. since Paul declares that we are the children of a new. but also the positive as Christians carry forth the Great Commission. the Church must also be a mother. praising God and having favor with all the people. As John Calvin reminds us. 30:6-8. Both common and corporate prayer was practiced by our fathers and mothers in the faith. It is instructive to note the proof texts attached to question 154 of the WLC. Therefore I have noted a few statements made by the church which confirm the importance of common prayer. one speaking and another hearing. petitions. instructions. eating. Eerdmans Publishing Company. translated by Henry Beveridge (Grand Rapids. the benefits of Christ’s mediation are not only to address the negative. What follows is a cursory treatment of some biblical passages which point to common and corporate prayer. and his brothers” (Acts 1:14).”5 Let us also be reminded that our heavenly Father speaks to us through His Word and by means of our mother through her testimonies (i. And day by day. Second. etc. Teaching. 9): to those to whom he is a Father. there are at least three truths we can glean about the activity of prayer: First. confessions. Exodus 29:38-39. 26). let not man put asunder (Mark x. Prayer is primarily a corporate activity. Just as faith comes by hearing. Third. Revelation 8:1-5). confessing the faith by means of the Nicene Creed and using the first person plural pronoun.). MI: Wm. Genesis 9:16. Ephesians 6:10-20. even a heavenly Jerusalem (Gal. “What God has thus joined.1. sermons. prayer done at particular times and with others. but even now after the advent of Christ. The adjective common suggests the use of similar words to express praises. . And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved” (Acts 2:42. iv. The biblical passages cite the corporate or common activity of the disciples recorded in Acts 2: “And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship. Book 4. which suggests at least a company of two. “escape his wrath and curse due to us by reason of the transgression of the law”. creeds. Hebrews 13:15-16). 46-47). The term corporate suggests done with others. Institutes of the Christian Religion. common prayer is a vital aspect of the Church’s identity and vocation (cf. 4:23-31. When reading about the church in Acts. .g.).1. prayer serves as a memorial or remembrance much like the Lord’s Supper (Acts 10:4. and intercessions (e. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26). much of our praying ought to be done in the company of others. The oneness expressed by the disciples following the ascension of our Lord was an answer to the
John Calvin. prayer is a sacrifice offered to God (Acts 10:1-4. to the breaking of bread and the prayers. together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus. p. Acts 1:14. attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes. 1972).3
The unanimity is not based on common personal feelings but on a cause greater than the individual” (The New International DICTIONARY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT THEOLOGY). .’ This corporate group may have been family units or small groups of believers living in close proximity to one another. The use of the term ascend identifies prayer as a sacrifice. It is first found in the 5th and 4th cent. They sought to express their unified faith with one confession and one prayer. 4:24. and especially by the frequent use of the adverb homothumadon. which is your spiritual worship” (Romans 12:1). Bradshaw also wrote an article in Worship 64 (1990) with the engaging title. A vital aspect of prayer in the Bible involves God’s people being in one accord. Jordan. The term. “Whatever Happened to Daily Prayer?” It’s a good question. together and thymos (derived from thyo. This unity was expressed verbally and visibly. and in the political sphere is used especially for the visible. 1982). Head and Body moving in one accord. Marines on the drill field.7 Paul Bradshaw writes in his book. This is the beauty and attraction of liturgy on Sunday as well as common prayer during the week. Biblical Horizons. The same can be said regarding a marching band or a platoon of U. Daily Prayer in the Early Church: A Study of the Origin and Early Development of the Divine Office (New York: Oxford University Press. 5:12). holy and acceptable to God. “homothymadon is compounded of homo. Jordan comments on the importance the choreography between a man and woman before the Lord. B. is of a corporate observance of daily prayer in the early community . homothumadon. Daily Prayer in the Early Church. They are in sync. and one life in Christ. It’s a wonderful thing to behold when you see people working in harmony. with one accord’ (Acts 1:14. Prayer Expresses Our Love as Sacrifice “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God” (Acts 10:4).6 is translated in the Bible as being “in one accord. They were in sync. A man leads and the woman gracefully follows. homothumadon. “I appeal to you therefore.”8 Common prayer can be a helpful antidote to the ailing church today which is often afflicted with individualism and subjectivism. The Apostle Paul told the Christians in Rome.
. . brothers. one heart. a God-fearing gentile.” Those disciples expecting the outpouring of the promised Spirit shared a common passion and were of one mind. Each has unique moves enhanced and complimented by the other. . Sacrifice
6 According to its classical usage in Greek. For the new community of believers in Christ. to present your bodies as a living sacrifice. by the mercies of God. “Liturgical Man. Bradshaw. one work. Their movements and gestures appear effortless.
James B.S. John 17).C. seethe).4
prayer of our Lord (cf. Have you ever observed a well trained couple ballroom dancing? There is something very beautiful and attractive about it. conveyed the thought of unanimity. rage. The early disciples were of one mind. One cannot be overly rigid regarding the composition of this ‘corporate observance. . .” numbers 86-87. feeling and thought . are described as having ascended. Paul F. ‘together. 25. “‘The impression given by the passages in the Acts. 2:46. the principle of life. inner unity of a group faced by a common duty or danger. . Liturgical Woman. . The prayers and alms of Cornelius. Rite Reasons Newsletter.
that is. What a commendation! It is to be noted that the time at which the angel appeared to Cornelius is a time at which prayers are lifted up before the Lord in the temple (cf. the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. We read in Acts 10 about a God-fearing gentile by the name of Cornelius. The believer obviously lives through this ordeal just as Isaac did because a substitute actually died in his place. Revelation 8:1-4). the Lord instructed Joshua to have stones placed by the Jordan River to remind the tribes of their relationship to God and each other. That is why the writer to Hebrews goes on to say later: “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God. Cornelius testifies to the truth that God’s kingdom advances as God’s people pray (cf. The Lord smells the sacrifice and delights in it. This was the case with incense offered on the incense altar (Hebrews 9:3-4. that is. at particular times although people may be separated spatially. Remember the setting is a gathered assembly (Hebrews 10:19-25). “Likewise. He is stationed in Caesarea when. the rainbow reminded the Lord of His covenant with creation). But sacrifices are placed upon the altar in order to ascend before God. cf.5
is still required in the New Covenant. Remember the various sacrifices offered by God’s people are consumed by fire and described as ascending. In Two Ways of Praying Paul Bradshaw presents a very helpful chapter about “The Biblical Roots of Liturgical Prayer” which presents prayer as remembrance. and of your outstretched arm).9 What we do each Lord’s
Remembrance is a vital activity for the Christian and the Church. “Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer. hear in heaven your dwelling place and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to you. Prayer is a memorial or remembrance. who is not of your people Israel. but we are called to be sacrifices. Stones were also placed in the river bed to remind God of the covenant
. Christ Jesus’ sacrifice is the only propitiary sacrifice acceptable to God for our atonement. for such sacrifices are pleasing to God” (Hebrews 13:15-16). Of course. the ninth hour.”). Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have. Cornelius has a vision of an angel addressing him: “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God” (Acts 10:4). When Israel crossed into the promised land. Consider the activity of these pious Jews and this god-fearing Gentile when you read in 1 Kings 8 at the consecration of the Temple by King Solomon and all of Israel. when a foreigner. when he comes and prays toward this house. Remembrance is a vital function of daily prayer. Acts 3:1. Remembrance involves God and His people (cf. Genesis 9:6. Psalm 141:2). anamnesis. Exodus 30:7-9. Prayer Is an Important Way to Remember “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God” (Acts 10:4). This suggests a recognition that prayer was done in common. The writer to Hebrews reveals that the Word of God kills us (Hebrews 4:12) so that we might be placed upon the altar or table in order to ascend into God’s presence where we can offer ourselves as living sacrifices. in order that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you. and that they may know that this house that I have built is called by your name” (1 Kings 8:41-43). comes from a far country for your name's sake (for they shall hear of your great name and your mighty hand. which involves our lips and lives. at a time associated with the prayers of God’s people in Jerusalem. as do your people Israel.
O Lord. a consecration (vv. 6-12). Zechariah interprets what has occurred as the work of God. Psalm 77). and you shall call his name John’” (Luke 1:13). and your steadfast love. After Ezra. the prayer confesses the Lord God to be the Creator and Redeemer (vv. and a proclamation (vv. Because of all this we make a firm covenant in writing.
. the Levites lead the people in prayer as they address God. and circumcision are quite unusual. This is good news. our Levites. Nehemiah 9 demonstrates an example of prayer as remembrance. TN: Abingdon Press. and our priests” (Nehemiah 9:36-38). “But the angel said to him. The New Testament provides another example of prayer as remembrance in the song of Zechariah. according to your steadfast love remember me. 68). . 1995). O Lord!” (Psalm 25:6-7). Various deliverances and defeats demonstrating God’s patience and love are recalled. birth.78-79). the Lawgiver. There is an intimate relationship between prophesy and prayer. the Philistine king. those assembled hearing this prayer addressed to God proclaim God is mighty and merciful. Joshua 4). In response to the Lord’s gracious gift of a son. was fearful of God’s
relationship (cf. on the sealed document are the names of our princes. This faithful priest acknowledges God’s faithfulness to the people of God and he further proclaims the significance of his son’s life. Two Ways of Praying (Nashville. Nehemiah 8). . This beautiful prophesy (song and prayer) is comprised of an interpretation of a religious experience (v. First. the father of John the Baptist (Luke 1:68-79). “Behold. reads the Law during the Feast of Tabernacles (cf. King David writes: “Remember your mercy. an angel of God appeared and spoke to Zechariah. Zechariah. The prophet is a privileged counsel member before God. A remembrance that provides (1) an interpretation of life before God. this humble priest further responds with the Benedictus (Luke 1:67-79).6
Day is a remembrance and by extension. Savior and Judge (vv. Third. Second. for the sake of your goodness. Zechariah was privileged to serve as a priest at the Temple in order to intercede for Israel before Almighty God. The Lord God’s activity of leading his people out of Egypt into the promised land is rehearsed. The prayer recorded in chapter 9 functions as a reminder in four different ways. the leaders and people renew their covenant with God. 13-31). and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son. When Abimelech. 76-78). Our prayers rehearse before God and each other the Lord’s saving work in our midst (cf. (2) a confession of faith in God. prayer every day ought to be a remembrance. the scribe. The events surrounding John the Baptist’s conception. 45-56. Finally. ‘Do not be afraid. and (4) a consecration of one’s life for God. (3) a proclamation concerning the good news about God. 69-75).10 The remembrance involves God and His children. a confession (vv. we are slaves this day . The prophet contributes to the deliberations with God and the heavenly council by prayer. the prayer interprets the captivity of Israel as the activity of God’s punishment for his people. Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions. Who else would see them?
Paul Bradshaw. pp. Our prayers remind God of His covenant with us. for your prayer has been heard. for they have been from of old. While in the Holy Place before the altar of incense.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9. (Cambridge. Christians pray to communicate their loving response to God. and all who are yours” (Genesis 20:6). Books I-IV with an English translation by H. 212. Thanksgiving is a natural duty.”11 There was a daily remembrance by people concerning the Lord’s gracious provisions for life and guidance. they are to be a praying people. 9. and also portrays Jesus as praying in the morning (Mark 1:35) and in the evening (Matt 14:23. however. It displays a very similar spirit about morning and evening prayer as celebrated by pious believers. St. you. Josephus. to remember who they are as living sacrifices. It would appear that these early Christians were greatly influenced by the practices of the Jewish system of the Old Covenant and the Rabbinic Judaism which was observed during the first century. 1 Cor 8:4-6). J. The Liturgy of the Hours in East and West (Collegeville. Jewish Antiquities. so that he will pray for you. John’s Abbey. records in his Jewish Antiquities. St. Robert Taft asks the question. Thackerary. Christians pray to develop their relationship with God. Tertullian. Mark 6:46. return the man's wife. Numbers 15:37-41). Although there is some question as to how many synagogues throughout Israel during the first century could maintain corporate daily prayer. eighteen benedictions designed to bless God for all he had done for his people. the external observance of certain
Robert Taft. p. for he is a prophet. Concerning the time [of prayer]. Mark 12:29-30. The Church wanted to generate an appreciation for habit or regimentation among its people.A. Christ’s Body. states. writing On Prayer. The Liturgical Press. This is one of the most loving acts Christians perform. know that you shall surely die. Christians are to prophesy (Acts 2:17-21). 11:13-21. MA: Harvard University Press. therefore. a creedal statement (cf.
. It is “faith working through love. 1986). at the dawn thereof and when the hour comes for turning to repose. and to incline the giver to others yet to come. 1930). But the New Testament knew the Shema (Matt 22:37. M. a military general and historian. and is rendered both in gratitude for past mercies.” This is the testimony of God’s people down through the centuries. and you shall live.”12 This comment by Josephus is common among early Christians. the Lord instructed and comforted him with these words: “Now then. to edify one another as a unified people. devout Jews would take the time to recite the Tefillah. MN. “Did the early Christians observe these Jewish hours of prayer? It is impossible to give a definitive answer to this question. “Twice every day. let all acknowledge before God the bounties he has bestowed on them through their deliverance from the land of Egypt. John 6:15).7
judgment upon him. Luke 10:26-27. the Loved dialoguing with the Beloved. Josephus. p. But if you do not return her. and to groan with the creation along with the Spirit (Romans 8:18-30). along with the Shema. Our Fathers and Mothers Prayed Daily prayer was the norm for the early disciples. The testimony of Scripture is that Christians are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise (Galatians 3:27-29).
69 (emphasis added). Whenever we pray. but to assemble continually and not diminish the Church by absenting themselves and making the Body of Christ lack a member. On Prayer. which are owed without any admonition at the beginning of light and of night. It is made up of parts which comprise the whole. and so manifest the presence both of Christ (“Where two or three are gathered in my name. In order for the body to function properly. Of course this is in addition to the statutory prayers. in a small group. morning and evening every day. Whether we pray in solitude. There is strictly speaking. is not an optional extra. or in a parish setting. The ecclesiological aspect of Christian prayer naturally receives its fullest liturgical expression when believers assemble together to pray. and not to forsake it at all.
Paul F.g. . Christians need to be reminded of their true identity and mutual interdependence. command and exhort the people to frequent the church regularly. p. which. . Common and corporate prayer express who the Church is. still it is good to establish a presumption that might reinforce the admonition to pray. The Liturgy of Hours East and West.13 This statement by Tertullian is important because it demonstrates how the church was developing a standardization for regular times of prayer by the end of the second century. so that we at least pray not less than three times a day . bishop. quoted by Robert Taft. the Bride of Christ. families. it is what all Christian prayer is meant to be. Two Ways of Praying. . Daniel also observed in accord. the household of God. etc. Although these hours simply exist without any command for their observance.
. Just as our beliefs (e. Corporate daily prayer. The church in the environs of Antioch in the late fourth century endeavored to promote the oneness of Christ’s people in prayer. Bradshaw. 18:20) and also of the church. as we read. and in the house of God. When you teach. and tear away from our affairs for this duty as if by law. no such thing as private prayer for a Christian. and small groups. This is true regarding work done in the world. I am there among them” Matt. in the home. The Scriptures describe the Church in a variety of ways with the utilization of different metaphors to describe those united with God through Christ in the Spirit: the Body of Christ. The goal was to develop a discipline of prayer among individuals. with family. therefore. all the parts or members need to participate. we do so as members of the body of Christ and united by the Spirit with the whole company of earth and heaven. our prayers shape beliefs. the Temple of the Holy Spirit. with Israel’s discipline. we should recognize that we are praying as members of the one body. church confessions) shape our understanding and conduct. These metaphors are a descriptive of God’s people and about what they ought to be in the world. 17-18.8
hours will not be unprofitable.14 The people of God make up a living organism. pp. For it is not only said for the benefit of
Tertullian. We pray as the church and with the church. certainly. . .
. . . . 59 quoted in Robert Taft. nor prefer the needs of this life to the Word of God. but let each of the laity hear what was said by the Lord as spoken to himself: “He who is not with me is against me. Two Ways of Praying.
Paul F. Otherwise how will one defend himself before God. . Do not be neglectful of yourselves. Prayer is a labor of love for everyone. Bradshaw. 68. Common and corporate prayer functioned as a memorial (anamnesis) during the week just as the Lord’s Supper did during Lord’s Day worship. who is the temple of God. . fathers and mothers). and you are that temple” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). and in the evening Ps 140. singing psalms and praying in the Lord’s houses. Although the following comment by Paul Bradshaw is directed toward the teaching office of the church. A sacrifice of thanksgiving along with intercessions were presented to the Lord God. and he who does not gather with me scatters” (Mt 12:30). 1 Peter 2:4-10. it could just as easily be applied to the leaders of households (i.. 59 demonstrates the significance of the liturgy of prayer during the week. . But especially on the Sabbath and the Lord’s Day of the resurrection of the Lord. nor divide his body. nor rob the savior of his own members. therefore. p. For God’s temple is holy. but to lead that community in regular prayer.e.
. p. Hebrews 12:22-24). the last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45) and High Priest over creation. and involves teaching people how to pray as well as making the practical arrangements for the occasions of communal prayer and for individuals to share in it in some way even when they are unable to be physically present. is not to do the Christian community’s praying on its behalf. one who does not assemble on that day . on which is accomplished the reading of the prophets and the proclamation of the gospel and the offering of the sacrifice and the gift of the holy food?15 This statement is important for the home and church to hear. nor scatter his members. He embodies all that the Old
Apostolic Constitutions II. The early church understood the work of prayer as the responsibility and privilege of the entire church and not the sole work of the church officers or heads of households. The previous quotation from the Apostolic Constitutions II. Liturgy of the Hours in East and West. This is true in the Church and in the home. This is a much more demanding obligation than vicarious praying. . . meet even more diligently. Christians were understood to be the living stones joined to the Chief Cornerstone. “Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? . Jesus Christ. The role of the ordained minister.9
the priests. The early church fathers stressed the importance of morning and evening prayer because of their convictions that the Church was the Temple of the Holy Spirit. but assemble each day morning and evening. sending up praise to God. and to enable and encourage the prayer of the church to take place.16 Everyone who was able to attend was exhorted to participate. where the Lord especially meets with His people (John 2:19-21.
333. . in the morning saying Ps 62. Jesus Christ came to fulfill the Old Covenant as the perfect man.
Diane Karay Tripp. This was an important outlook in the Christian’s understanding of himself. that daily prayer is an essential service of the whole body of the Church.
Ibid. who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens. 4.10
Testament Scriptures have to say regarding mankind’s activity before the Heavenly Father. pp.” Worship
Daily prayer from a Reformed perspective was understood to be a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to God (Exodus 29:38-39. It was to move from the monastery to the parish. 122. 30:6-8.” Studia Liturgica 21 (1991) p. The Reformers did not dissolve the daily prayer services into private devotions as pietism was to do in following centuries. Daily prayer was to be celebrated in the common language rather than in Latin. Diane Karay Tripp writes: “The understanding of prayer as sacrifice is a thankful response to the grace of God for selfgiving to point of death in Jesus Christ upon a cross. 1 Chronicles 23:30). and the Reformers intended to maintain the daily prayer of the Church as well. 122-4. “Daily Prayer in the Reformed Church of Strasbourg.”17 There were several principles observed by these Reformers:18 1. p. 1525-1530. The people of God are joined with their High Priest to pray. Daily prayer was to be a corporate service of the whole Church. and not man” (Hebrews 8:1-2). Daily prayer was no longer to be celebrated primarily by those in religious vocations but rather it was to be celebrated by the whole Church. that daily prayer is an essential service of the whole body of the Church.
2. The Reformers reaffirmed the basic insight of the daily office. a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected.
.. The Reformers knew from such passages of Scripture as Acts 4:23-31 that the Apostles maintained daily services of prayer.
3. “Daily Prayer in the Reformed Tradition: An Initial Survey. “The Reformers reaffirmed the basic insight of the daily office. and through his complete sacrifice. Baptism placed the individual or household into the Church which is a
Hughes Oliphant Old. 87. It was recognized that an ordinary congregation of people who were not engaged in religious vocations could not maintain all the hours of prayer which the cathedral church or monastic communities were accustomed to maintaining. “Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest. obtaining forgiveness and eternal life for unworthy creatures. This was the approach taken by many of the Protestant leaders who wanted to restore daily prayer to the whole church. Only a like sacrificial love is the proper response to this divine gift ”19 Daily prayer from a Reformed perspective was a renewal of one’s covenant with God which had been signed and sealed in baptism.
the Church. common prayer.11
royal priesthood. they received in return union with Christ. that most. The reading of the Word. to be directionless. where can one find help to get started in the use of common prayers? Various church communions have ‘older’ prayer books which contain prayers for church. They express a Christian piety that affirms the Creator’s intention to have redeemed humanity. and through him were made heirs of the world.21 These prayer books can be helpful resources for use on a personal or family basis. etc. surrendering themselves wholly to God’s will. “Families were expected to instruct their children in the meaning of baptism. and the life everlasting. family. if not all. He extends the scepter because he delights to give her up to half the kingdom
Ibid. The Book of Common Worship (Presbyterian). the communion of saints. You may need to modify or adjust some prayers in these books to better express specific petitions according to your concerns. A part of the crucial work to be performed by the Church is interceding for a world that is in chaos and confusion. . and the responding to the Word are best accomplished corporately. Daily. and personal use: The Book of Common Prayer (Episcopalian). p.. A simple search on the web will provide an abundance of resources. the forgiveness of sins. extemporaneous prayer in the prayer closet need to discover the importance of daily. Membership in this royal priesthood has its privileges and obligations.
It is important to exercise discretion regarding modern prayer books such as the 1979 edition of the Book of Common Prayer. It is an appropriate corrective to the imbalance of individualism which plagues the American society at large and in particular the American Church. of these prayers have been carefully crafted based upon the wisdom and needs of God’s people for generations. to cling to God’s word of promise. leading them to a free and joyful consent to the vow made in baptism. inclusive language). at times. Relinquishing everything to God. common prayer directs the Christian to the important truth expressed in the Apostles’ Creed. . Common/Corporate Prayer Needs to be Rediscovered Direction and consistency are necessary ingredients for anyone who hopes to succeed in life. The Lutheran Book of Worship (Missouri Synod Lutheran).
. “I believe in the Holy Ghost. The Bride of Christ needs to act confidently with the knowledge that the golden scepter of her King is extended to her. The testimonies of Scripture and the Church confirm the importance of daily. joined to Christ as his helpmate. Remember. Daily prayer provides the pilgrim both. . Some of the modern prayer book editions contain inappropriate petitions and language (e. the hearing of the Word. the spiritual life is often characterized as a rugged individual effort which appears.g. 89. For many Christians. The members of this royal priesthood were to give themselves to God as whole burnt (ascension) offerings. and to expect the fulfillment of those promises. the resurrection of the body.” The Lord God intends for man to live in community. Now.”20 Prayer was understood as an activity of the whole person: body and soul. Try to set a particular time of the day in which your family or friends can meet to pray. common prayer. Those Christian traditions that have emphasized private. the holy catholic church.
do not be anxious about anything. in interceding for the world. Jesus Christ. In other words. teach us to pray and motivate us to do it together. again I will say. Rejoice. which surpasses all understanding. And the peace of God. “Lord..”
. The Lord is at hand. Each Lord’s Day the Lord’s people come before their King as they remember. will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:4-7). Esther 5:3).12
(cf. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. “Rejoice in the Lord always. Psalm 112:4). Each morning reminds us of the bodily resurrection of Christ and our resurrection along with the restored cosmos. but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. daily prayer is an extension through the week of our remembrance made before God each Lord’s Day. Our blessed Lord God extends this invitation to his Royal Priesthood: come join your Great High Priest. Each night reminds us of our hope in the true light of the world that each Christian seeks to reflect to his neighbor (Philippians 2:14-17. Each day of prayer also serves as a time of remembrance.