Thursday, July 19, 2007

Praying With the Church #2: Why?

Near the end of my Sabbatical and my first couple days back I read Praying with the Church by Scot McKnight (see link below). Why? I think prayer is the most difficult discipline for me to maintain in my life. It is frustrating, guilt-inducing, et al. But I love to read. I’ve found that my prayer life improves when I’m reading something about prayer and experimenting, etc… I try to read at least one book on prayer per year. It has probably led to more head info than practice, but it is generally helpful for a season. And when prayer is the struggle it is for me, I’ll take it. (The nature of the struggle to pray is probably worthy of another post.)

There’s another reason why, however. When I read Prayer by Richard Foster I was drawn to the chapter on liturgical prayer. I bought a Common Book of Prayer to help me. It was confusing and after mediocre effort in deciphering it, I gave up. But I’m drawn to the liturgical lately. I feel like us evangelicals are missing something of the tradition and roots of our historical faith, even if it isn’t something specifically in the Bible. I admit it might be simply a romantic notion that might bore me to death if I actually practiced it, but I’m drawn to the romanticism of it nonetheless.

McKnight’s book is about using the prayer books of the great branches of the Christian church – Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Anglican. He also directs on how to use a modern one that I’ve been dabbling with the last couple days, The Divine Hours by Phyllis Tickle.

That’s “why” I read it. McKnight has his own reasons that are more substantive than mine and well worth reading. The next post will discuss the biblical basis for “fixed hour” prayer, which was quite a lesson for a guy with Baptist/Vineyard/Free Church background.

The book:

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