Monday, August 20, 2007

Praying With The Church #6: Jesus & Sacred Tradition

This is the last chapter I’ll cover of McKnight’s book, Praying With The Church. McKnight says Jesus’ prayer life was both traditional and innovative. His prayer life was immersed in the psalms, which is a good idea for any of us in our prayer lives. They help us really grapple with genuine emotion an engagement with God. Mark D. Roberts has a book on praying with the Psalms called No Holds Barred. Psalms help us relate with God on a real level.

The next aspect of Jesus’ prayer life is what McKnight calls the Jesus Creed. Faithful Jews recited the Shema, but Jesus adapted it by adding the love for one’s neighbor.

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
This was such a formative idea for the discipleship of the early church that McKnight thinks it might have been part of the daily prayer office.

McKnight says the instruction Jesus gives on prayer should be translated “whenever you pray … recite” the Lord’s Prayer. This is to be a feature of God’s people praying together. McKnight states his case bluntly: “The point I wish to make is a simple one. The Our Father prayer is to be recited whenever Christians pray together” (63). Notice the prayer is “our” Father, not “my” Father.

“Pray then like this: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (Matt. 6:9-13).
Here’s McKnight’s “Christian Prayer Day”

Morning = Jesus Creed, 10 Commandments (optional), Lord's Prayer
Afternoon = Lord's Prayer
Evening = Jesus Creed, 10 Commandments (optional), Lord's Prayer

The rest of McKnight’s book discusses the different prayer books of the different traditions – Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and The Divine Hours. I use the latter and I’ll discuss how it has been helpful in a future post.

1 comment:

Lee Jones said...

Interestingly enough, I have been stealing away two or three times daily at work. I get a break every few hours, and I have been using them to pray in a cold call room.

Oddly enough, I have been reading Psalms and praying along with them. 15 minutes goes very fast!

It has been good to do so. I believe I shall continue the practice.