Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Prayer for the renewal of evangelists

From PalmTreePundit:

I finished Answering God last night. I'm borrowing it from our public library, but I plan to buy my own copy. The entire book is excellent, but I'd buy it for the chapter on liturgy alone. Here's a peek:

These psalms that teach us to pray are, all of them, prayers of people gathered as a community before God in worship. Some of them most certainly originated in solitude, and all of them have been continued in solitude. But the form in which they come to us, the only form in which they come to us, and therefore in the way they serve as our school of prayer, they are the prayers of the community before God in worship. Prayer is fundamentally liturgical. Selah, untranslated and untranslatable, strewn through the Psalms, will not let us forget it. If its meaning is an enigma, its use is clear: Selah directed people who were together in prayer to do something or other together. Our prayer book, by the time we get our hands on it, has all these liturgical scribbles in the margins. Biblically, we are not provided with a single prayer for private devotions. The community in prayer, not the individual at prayer, is basic and primary. The Americanization of prayer has reversed this clear biblical (and human!) order. Individuals don't "make up" the community, they are produced by it. The Psalms return us to this beginning, this original matrix of humanity and spirituality.
Matt's note: The Psalms are one good way to a renewed prayer life. I use several everyday and our church prays through one per week (out of the lectionary) at our prayer meeting using... Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication in whatever Psalm we find ourself in. It refreshes the soul. People who share Jesus will find this helpful.


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