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Change the Prayer Book?



I’m thinking of changing the Book of Common Prayer.  To do so, I’ll have to send a letter to the Custodian of the Standard Book of Common Prayer, and it may take a few years for my change to be officially accepted.  That’s fine.  In the meantime, maybe you can test my idea in your church, whether it’s liturgical or informal, and see what you think.  Let me explain.

 

One of the strengths of the Anglican tradition is a commitment to prayer.  The Prayer Book is chock full of some of the Church’s great “collects.”  If you know where to look, you can find the perfect prayer for almost any occasion. But I’m reminded of what Carl Henry, the great evangelical theologian of the 20th century once said, “The gospel is only good news if it gets there in time.”  I think the same notion applies to prayer.  Sometimes we need it…now.

 

So, here’s the change I’d like to make; let’s call it “Form VII.”  Whenever someone tells you what they’re going through, be a compassionate listener and say, “Let’s pray now.”  Then pray on the spot.  Perhaps you’re like me; there have been times when I’ve told someone “I’ll pray for you,” but have forgotten immediately.  Let’s fix that by saying, “Let’s pray now.”

 

The reality is, most people come to church with cluttered minds and burdened hearts; for some the burdens are overwhelming.  I believe the time after a worship service is for fellowship and prayer.  A time when people listen to each other and have the courage to say, “Let’s pray now….”  Imagine the healing and spiritual strength that such an ethos of corporate prayer ministry could bring to your church.

 

Come to think of it, maybe it’s too complicated to tinker with the Book of Common Prayer after all these years. Why not implement the change on our own? Let’s pray now.

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