1/16/2007

Praying for the Primates and the Communion.


Lest it be thought that progressives don’t pray, don’t care to talk about prayer, or don’t pray with fervor, a word on praying for the upcoming Primate’s meeting and the Communion seems in order, particularly because there is an Anglican Prayer Blog with resources for our praying. Right off, I think praying for the Primates and the Communion is absolutely on target. The picture to the left is of the last meeting of the Primates, and that was an odd meeting indeed. So prayers are in order.

I am a strong advocate for saying little and offering much in prayer, which may come as a surprise given my tendency to word explosions both verbal and written.
So my sense is that in the times of deliberate prayer we might well make space for offering up in prayer the leaders of the Churches in the Communion and the Communion itself. As with all our prayer that offering is part confession, part petition, part thanksgiving. We don’t have to spell out those particulars. It is perhaps enough to let the matter of the ministry of the Primates and the life of the Communion simply be in our awareness and our time in prayer. Beyond that, what might be useful?

An “Anglican Prayer Blog” is now in place on the net, with the specific purpose of “encouraging and providing resources to those who are committed to praying for ECUSA, the Anglican Church of Canada & the Anglican Communion.” The particular listing here says something about the prayer blog. It begins with a build in assumption that something of the current relation between the Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada and the Anglican Communion is amiss. Otherwise one might well pray for the Anglican Communion as a whole. Why this listing and not The Church of Nigeria, the Church of Uganda, and the Anglican Communion? Because that is not the way this blog sees the matter. Still, prayer is of great value no matter our right or wrong headedness in the praying. At least I hope that is true, otherwise many of my prayers are lost leaders.

Many of the prayers on the Lent and Beyond site are quite useful no matter the political / ecclesial agendas we have and are to be commended. There are some of the prayers that are clearly meant to direct us to particular desired outcomes. Those require some theological challenge and perhaps some theological editing. A primary example of this is the set of prayers for the Archbishop of Canterbury. On the one hand they spell out very well his various roles in life and ministry and it is good that we pray for him in each of these areas. On the other hand the creeping edge of desired outcomes are seen, and some of those need a bit of work. Still, better to take the challenge and change them than to simply give up on that set of prayers completely.

There are some of the prayers that partake of the language of evangelical fervor and while such language can be pretty easily understood and translated, some of the phrases still do not sit well with me. Maybe I’m just an ol’ Anglican mutterer, but being “bathed” or “soaked” in prayer trips me up a bit. O well. I can move through that and edit the prayers to fit an old head and heart.

I recommend this site for its compilation of prayers from various prayer books, for some of the more free form prayers and for some of its information about the Provinces of the Communion. At the same time I think we, progressives, moderates and realigning folk alike might need to exercise some caution in using some of this material. Perhaps it is best to consider it a grab bag of prayer helps, some more helpful than others.

I am of the mind that God does not particularly need our slants on the matters before us – God being either all knowing or perhaps all forgiving of our various ideas of what is good and true and lovely. Then again, that doesn’t stop me from voicing my opinions to God.

But at its core the idea behind Lent and Beyond’s Prayer Campaign is a good one. Use the materials for the benefit of your prayer life and discipline.

We all need to pray, for outcomes yes, but more for the presence of God.

5 comments:

  1. Mark, quite a surprise to find your post about Lent & Beyond. I think your comments quite fair and accurate.

    Our site is definitely a mixture of material and styles. We contributors make no secret of our evangelical convictions, but I can very honestly say that we try not to come at the prayers we post with a specific agenda in terms of "telling God what to do" -- sure that does creep in from time to time -- we're human! But we try to keep the vast majority of what we post centered around the daily lectionary to give us an anchor and a standard. We try to listen to and pray from Scripture.

    In any case, we hope there will be some helpful resources. Please take what is helpful and leave the rest. And certainly take what we've done as an example for what others might want to do. Our main goal is to encourage prayer, rather than try and direct it towards a certain agenda.

    Thanks for your words of appreciation.

    In Christ,
    Karen B., Lent & Beyond blog coordinator

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  2. Today I offer a prayer for the Church from the heart of Lancelot Andrewes’ Preces Privatae.

    For the Catholic Church: for the churches throughout the world: their truth, unity and stability, to wit: in all let charity thrive, truth live: for our own church: that the things that are wanting therein be supplied, that are not right be set in order. That all heresies, schisms, scandals, as well public as private, be put out of the way: correct the erring, convert the unbelieving, increase the faith of thy church, destroy heresies, expose crafty enemies, crush violent enemies….Amen.

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  3. I, too, appreciate the initiative of Lent and Beyond, but I am also wary of prayers that preach. This is a first draft of the prayer that I may use at intercessions next Sunday. It owes some ideas to Dr Toon's prayer on Lent and Beyond.

    "Gracious Father, giver of all good things, we thank you that by your Holy Spirit you have appointed leaders in your church and given them gifts of ministry. Look with mercy and kindness upon the Primates of the Anglican communion of churches as they prepare to meet in Tanzania in February.

    "By your grace, may they fulfil their tasks well. Make your truth of your Word ever more richly known to each one. Strengthen them in all goodness, so that our family of churches may be edified and well-governed to your glory.

    "May all our leaders be empowered and directed by your Spirit to teach the truth with boldness and fearlessly proclaim the Gospel of your Son in words and action.

    As they meet, send your Spirit upon the Primates that, bound together in Godly fellowship and common faith, they may courageously exercise the wisdom that you have promised to give. May their work together, we pray, prevent division and guide our communion of churches in paths that are good and acceptable to you."

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  4. Mark --

    Is there an email address where we can send words of encouragement to Bishop Katharine to assure her of our prayers & support which she will be told about even if she does not read herself?

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  5. Prior Aelred..let me find out about the email address thing.

    ReplyDelete

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