Do you remember when we would not talk or move during the prayer in worship? Even ushers were still, except when others had to be called to order during prayer! What happened? Are we lacking in faith or understanding? Do we believe that prayer, even in church worship, is our real communication with the real God?
Perhaps we do not understand that during the communion liturgy we are PRAYING. We Pray the General Confession. We Pray for Pardon, Humility and in Adoration. We Pray the Consecration. Do we even recognize PRAYER as part of our liturgical experience? What do clergy and lay think or focus on when we PRAY? Are they words on a page, or are they sentiments of our hearts?
It disturbs me when I see bishops, pastors, and stewardesses moving about, or engaged in conversation, during prayer. It may be difficult when we are trying to tweak logistics, but what good is smooth execution if we have dishonored the sacred moment with motion and talk…even seemingly important talk.
It is also disheartening when I hear clergy and lay rattle off prayers as though the words have no meaning. You have heard them “recite” the Lord’s Prayer. If you are “reciting,” are you “praying?”
We need liturgical reform! We must raise up a new generation of worshippers who go to the sanctuary to pray, for real. Clergy and laity must respect moments of prayer with focus and reverence. What if we are not truly praying when we sound the call, “Let us pray!“? What if God listens with the same nonchalant attitude with which we often pray?
Let’s get more disciplined about prayer, especially in our congregational worship! There are blessings missed because we are absent in spirit while present in body in the sanctuary.
One thought on “Are We Serious about Liturgical Prayer?”
Blessings Bishop Leath,
Our hearts should cry with gratitude and thankfulness when we pray through the Holy Communion. It speaks of God’s grace through our very sinful nature, and His pardoning of our sins through his Son Jesus the Christ. Let us begin with our small children and lead them through prayer, while teaching the significance of the words spoken during prayer. As we guide these little ones with godly love and respect while praying over them, the seed will be planted in their hearts. I pray the children will be a relationship influencer of prayer within the family unit. In doing so, it will fortify the households of faith, and become the seed bed for those households that are desolate of prayer.
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