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Written Prayers - or do you wing it?

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  • Written Prayers - or do you wing it?

    We had a combined Christmas Eve Service with our Lutheran friends -- for those who don't know, we allow the Lutherans (a "back to the Bible" group) to use our building on Sunday Mornings before our Service, and occasionally we do things together.

    At this Christmas Eve Service, it was the Lutheran Pastor's turn to be the primary officiator, so he wrote the order of service.

    About a week before the Service, he handed me my parts -- scripture readings, narrations, etc -- and we would take turns with our respective parts.

    He pointed out that he had written me a prayer for the opening of the service, but he knew I'd probably just "wing it", and suggested I cover the points he had printed, but in my own words.

    AFTER the service, my wife asked me, "that first prayer you did -- was that a written prayer?" I laughed, and asked "you could TELL?" She said it just "didn't sound like you", and I admitted that I prayed in my own words, but tried following the gist of the written prayer.

    So, what are your thoughts on written prayers? I suspecting that our "higher church" folks will favor them, and I'd be interested to know the "church history" aspect, as well.

    Thanks
    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

  • #2
    Personally I don't care for them. A prayer is not a speech. It is a heart to heart communication with God. I doubt he is impressed with such things.

    (This is not talking about prayer lists, or reminders to help you remember to pray for someone or something)

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    • #3
      Written prayer is... weird to me. Why plan a prayer when the order of service isn't even set in stone? Spontaneity is important because we don't want to extinguish the Spirit by making plans that exclude acts of God. We're real low churh where I go.

      History aspect? Doesn't it go back to Zwingli and Luther? I could be wrong but I thought I'd read that somewhere, and that's why some Presbyterians are low church and all Lutheran are high.
      Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith? -Galatians 3:5

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      • #4
        Since I've started using written prayers in my private devotions, I've been praying much more regularly.

        As far as church history goes, prayers during the liturgy tended to be free-form at first. However, that turned out to provide opportunity for people to interject heretical ideas into the liturgy, so during the 3rd/4th century prayers began to be standardized. Written prayers help keep the theology of the church stable.
        Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

        Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
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        I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

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        • #5
          I think prayers written as songs (psalms) or poetry are OK too.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Sparko View Post
            Personally I don't care for them. A prayer is not a speech. It is a heart to heart communication with God.
            Written prayer can also be a heart to heart communication with God (in fact, the ascetic fathers repeatedly emphasize that prayer that is not from the heart is useless).
            I doubt he is impressed with such things.
            My intention in prayer has never been to impress God.
            Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

            Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
            sigpic
            I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

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            • #7
              Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
              Written prayer can also be a heart to heart communication with God (in fact, the ascetic fathers repeatedly emphasize that prayer that is not from the heart is useless).

              My intention in prayer has never been to impress God.
              you know what I meant.

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              • #8
                I generally just wing it, but I can see how written prayers could be helpful (like OBP said). Perhaps it's each in its place.
                I DENOUNCE DONALD J. TRUMP AND ALL HIS IMMORAL ACTS.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
                  Since I've started using written prayers in my private devotions, I've been praying much more regularly.

                  As far as church history goes, prayers during the liturgy tended to be free-form at first. However, that turned out to provide opportunity for people to interject heretical ideas into the liturgy, so during the 3rd/4th century prayers began to be standardized. Written prayers help keep the theology of the church stable.
                  That's interesting -- thanks for that perspective.
                  "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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                  • #10
                    I favor written ones. I find for example, the Lord's prayer to be quite helpful, and very meaningful. I also enjoy some of the other simpler ones to help me along when I simply do not know what to say, but know I need to pray. Its kind of autoprogrammed. Oh I need to pray what do I say?....and its very sincere and heartfelt.
                    A happy family is but an earlier heaven.
                    George Bernard Shaw

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                    • #11
                      I remember a scene in Patton where General Patton summons his chaplain and orders him to "write a prayer" for good weather so they could have a good battle the next day at Bastogne.

                      Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations.
                      "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                        I remember a scene in Patton where General Patton summons his chaplain and orders him to "write a prayer" for good weather so they could have a good battle the next day at Bastogne.

                        Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations.

                        LOL that reminds me of the instructions for the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch in the Holy Grail.

                        And Saint Attila raised the hand grenade up on high, saying, "O LORD, bless this Thy hand grenade that with it Thou mayest blow Thine enemies to tiny bits, in Thy mercy." And the LORD did grin and the people did feast upon the lambs and sloths and carp and anchovies and orangutans and breakfast cereals, and fruit bats and large chu... [At this point, the friar is urged by Brother Maynard to "skip a bit, brother"]... And the LORD spake, saying, "First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin, then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it."

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                        • #13
                          In service, I prefer written - and so does everyone having to listen to me. I generally write out my prayers when I'm working on the OoW. Otherwise, I forget things or start rambling. I dislike praying in public - and I stink at it - so written prayers, mine or published, are extremely helpful.

                          "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


                          "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                            LOL that reminds me of the instructions for the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch in the Holy Grail.

                            And Saint Attila raised the hand grenade up on high, saying, "O LORD, bless this Thy hand grenade that with it Thou mayest blow Thine enemies to tiny bits, in Thy mercy." And the LORD did grin and the people did feast upon the lambs and sloths and carp and anchovies and orangutans and breakfast cereals, and fruit bats and large chu... [At this point, the friar is urged by Brother Maynard to "skip a bit, brother"]... And the LORD spake, saying, "First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin, then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it."
                            That's a parody of scripture, not prayer.
                            Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

                            Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
                            sigpic
                            I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

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                            • #15
                              Sometimes, on a Sunday Morning, I'll just mention that too many times we use prayer to "tattle on people" or to ask for "stuff", or to tell God how to solve problems, or "whatever" --- and remind people that sometimes we just need to come to the Lord with a prayer of thanksgiving.

                              On those occasions, I'll just ask that we "bow in prayer", and anybody who wants to can just call out something for which they are thankful, or thank God for something or somebody --- there have been some incredibly sweet times like that.
                              "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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