Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

Wesleyan Wednesdays

September 15, 2010

Although I’ve been greatly enjoying reflecting with Spurgeon, to be honest, there is much within it that is not to my theological taste  (it’s rather too 19th century and calvinisticky). Consequently, I’m going to balance out the great Baptist with some posts on Wesley and the movement he spawned. Originally, I was thinking of just focusing on the great man himself, but that seems too restrictive. I’m a closet fan of Adam Clarke who succeeded Wesley (heretically, I think he was a better exegete than Wesley), and I might even work through or ponder aloud on current Methodist beliefs. For example, I’ve just finished reading a little booklet on the essentials of belief for the Methodist Church in Ireland. To be honest, I was surprised how much I agreed with, though not everything. Anyway, Wesleyan Wednesdays commence today with one of John Wesley’s prayers. This expresses the man’s heart and is why I’m a fan.

A Contrite Spirit

I desire to offer unto Thee, O Lord,
my evening sacrifice, the sacrifice of a contrite spirit.
Have mercy upon me, O God, after Thy great goodness;
and after the multitude of Thy mercies, do away mine offences.

Let Thy unspeakable mercy free me
from the sins I have committed,
and deliver me from the punishment I have deserved.

O save me from every work of darkness and cleanse me
from all filthiness of flesh and spirit,
that, for the time to come, I may, with a pure heart and mind,
follow Thee, the only true God.


Scot McKnight’s “Praying with the Church”

August 1, 2010

Praying with the Church: Developing a Daily Rhythm for Devotional Life

As one who is originally from a very low church background, I appreciated what McKnight was trying to achieve with this little book: to demonstrate the value of regular fixed hours of prayer by using a traditional prayer book. He suggests that not only should we maintain our own “spontaneous” prayers, but that by using the traditional set prayers from various traditions, we can learn to pray with the Church – not alone within the church, but with it.

The first part of the book deals with Jesus in prayer and the wider Jewish tradition. The second part of the book introduces us to each of the major prayer books of the Roman Catholic, the Orthodox, and the Anglican traditions. He gives a useful sketch of what each entails and how they might be profitably used based on his own experience.

Importantly, McKnight points out that having fixed hours of prayer helps to reorientate our lives around a sacred rhythm. We should no longer shape our day around “breakfast, lunch, and dinner”, or “before work, work, and after work”, but rather around our times of prayer. Thus, we centre our daily lives around our communion with God, and after the pattern of Jesus’ own praxis.

This was a short, helpful little book for those new to prayer books and set times of prayer. I’ve even been persuaded to start using  The Book of Common Prayer (the Anglican one) in concert with Phyllis Tickle’s The Divine Hours. I’ll use them for a few months and then maybe give an update on how I’ve found my journey. My only complaint about the book is that it is over-punctuated with personal testimonies of the value others have found in taking up set times of prayer. It’s not that I object to doing this in general, rather that it was a bit overdone – there wasn’t any need for quite so many. Nonetheless, 7/10.

To Buy: In the UK; In the USA (it’s on at a bargain price at the moment!)

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