As Baptists we generally practice extemporaneous prayer. Off the cuff. Of course for Sunday Worship we may write a prayer – just to help our nerves. But it is written in our own words, which is our model of prayer. For a traditional Baptist, prayer should rise up out of our hearts, like a conversation with God. We would not script a conversation with anyone else, why would we with God? But other traditions have a long history of praying prayers written by others. These traditions use scripture (many consider the Psalms prayers), creeds, and prayers from faithful Christians as their spoken words to God.
I believe we need both kinds of prayer. We need the words of our heart to rise up to God. To offer our own thoughts, feelings, and needs in our own words. But there are times, especially as I get older, when my heart is too confused or too broken. In these moments I need discipline. Because my mind is too frantic to stop for silence. My words too jumbled to make sense. It is then I use the words of others. We stand not as the first generation, but in a long line of believers. A beautiful tradition. So I let their words speak for me.
As we begin a worship series on prayer, I hope to put this into practice at Chandler. Each week of the series we will also have a prayer service at 8:40. It will end soon enough to grab a donut before Sunday School. Each week will include ancient prayers, intercesory prayers, prayed scripture, and communion.
- Check out the first week’s service order here.
- You can also read an explanation of the prayers used here.
Sermon Series: Be Still
During October and November we will be joining the early church, moving through the pages of Acts. We will discover how they were propelled by prayer. Today I fear we are propelled by busyness, but our frantic pace is in circles… we never arrive. There is a need to pause, to BE Still. To rediscover what it means to know God. Just as the church of Acts. I hope you will join us.