Exodos

My soul magnifies Your name O Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
You have looked with favour on this lowly servant.
You have remembered your promise of mercy
… Songs and/or words of praise and thanksgiving could be shared here…
Almighty, you have done great things for us
and holy is your name.

Let us catch glimpses of heaven today; inspire us to  sense how your will may be transfused into our world’s life, as we pray now.
… concerns for the good of people and events are brought before God, silently or aloud 
Compassionate God, may your will be done:
on earth as in heaven.

We seek your kingdom and righteousness, give all things needful to us in our seeking
 sharing of needs in silence or aloud…
In our asking for your provision, Generous God, may your will be done:
on earth as in heaven

Just as the Lord has forgiven us, so we also must forgive.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Thanks be to God

 I will listen to what the Lord God will say
for God shall speak peace to his people
to the faithful shall God speak
that they do not turn again to folly
           [from Psalm 85:8].

One of the following scriptures is read

Matthew 11.28-30 “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Matthew 6.21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Luke 4.12 Jesus answered “It is said, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”

Matthew 10.32-33  “Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.

1 Corinthians 10.13 No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.

       Time for reflection

The word that goes out from God’s mouth
shall not return empty,
it shall accomplish God’s purpose,
and succeed in what it is sent to do.

The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because God has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
God has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.
            [ Luke 4:17-19 and Isaiah 61:1-2 ]

As we seek to walk in the Spirit, let us pause before the likely events and involvements and the unpredictable happenings that face us.

Since we live by the Spirit,
let us keep in step with the Spirit.
           [Gal 5:25 ]
Now to you who by the power at work within us are able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to you be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
           [Eph.3:21]

Return

We did not receive a spirit that makes us slaves to fear
We received the Spirit of adoption
Your Spirit, O God, testifies with ours that we are your children:
By your Spirit we cry “Abba! Father”
Your Spirit hovered over the unformed creation, and overshadowed Mary as the Christ was enwombed, and now your Holy Spirit flares up among us assuring that we are your children, intimating at our core your delight in us,
Our God In heaven, father and mother to us:
Hallowed be your name!

In our world’s global community, in our world’s living systems;
Living God:
glorify your name.
In your church as we proclaim your new life in thought and word and deed;
Living God:
glorify your name.
Among all whose lives our lives touch, friends, colleagues and families;
Living God:
glorify your name.
In this world of sin and death, and yet of blessings and common grace;
Living God:
glorify your name.

In our laughter, and tears, in our fear and our hope;
Living God:
Glorify your name.
                                          [rewritten from a prayer in Patterns of Worship, 1995].

        Concerns for the life of the world may be voiced

 We will hear the scriptures together
Come Holy Spirit; fire up our imaginations for good

As we hear the scripture, change our hearts, correct our course and draw us into your counsel.
Ready us for service and steady us in wisdom,
Amen.

 One of the following scriptures is read

1 Corinthians 13.4-5 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;

1 Corinthians 13.6-7 [ Love ] does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Matthew 7:1-3 “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgement you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbour’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?

Matthew 7:1-3 “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgement you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbour’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?

        Time for reflection

We confess with sorrow that we have collaborated with the fallen powers of this world knowingly or unwittingly deliberately or from fearful weakness. We have held others in the tomb of our unforgiveness. …
We are mortified.
We repent in dust and ashes.
We turn afresh to the way of Christ,
the way of the cross
the way of life-giving wisdom.
Heal us and we shall be healed.
Save us and we shall be saved.

Luke 5:20 When he saw their faith, Jesus said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.”

Jesus comes to us and says,
‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’
He breathes on us and says; ‘Receive the Holy Spirit….’

       Pause to reflect on Christ’s risen presence with us and call to us

Let us bless the Lord
Thanks be to God
Who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Manna

You, O God, are the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.
Sustain us according to your promise
and we shall live.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
You have blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ
to the praise of your glorious grace,
which you have freely given us in the Beloved
And now we give you thanks because in love you adopted us through Jesus Christ: Our God In heaven
Hallowed be your name!

As we dare to intercede for a breaking world, we fear that our human agendas and earth-framed ideas fall short of true wisdom. So we ask, God of all mercies, not for our will but yours to be done.
For the misled and the disregarded
Not human scheming
but your will be done.
For the elites and powerful,
your will be done.
For the exploiters of others,
your will be done.
For the fearful and weak,
your will be done.
For the cynical and world-weary,
your will be done.
For the blindly pious and the users of religion,
your will be done.
For those just doing their jobs,
your will be done.
For the helpless and the hopeless,
your will be done.
For the despairing and crushed in spirit
 your will be done.
and we ask in hope that our prayerful imaginings may grow into God’s, as we consider the forces in our times still arrayed for woe and for ill.
Your Kingdom come,
Your will be done on earth as in heaven.

We do not live by bread alone
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

       One of the following scriptures is read

 Matthew 6.33 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matthew 14.16 Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.”

Luke 4:4 Jesus answered, “It is written, “One does not live by bread alone.’ ”

Romans 8:32 [God] did not spare his own son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also graciously give us all things?

John 6:51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

        A time of reflection

My soul faints with longing for your salvation,
and in your word have I put my hope.

You supply seed to the sower and bread for food, supply and multiply our seed for sowing and increase the harvest of our righteousness

With the bread we need for today, feed us.
Into what will sustain our life in you, lead us.

       … reflection and requests for daily bread and provision.

We look to you to supply our need.

Be our provider and strength.

We have lived within the horizons of this life alone, failing to take our bearings from eternal Life.
Merciful God, forgive us.
And restore us to life.
We have laid others in the tomb of our unforgiveness, withholding the word of life.
Forgive us, Merciful God
And restore us to life-giving.
Let us attend; Christ breathes upon us the peace and forgiveness of God.

Our hearts tell of your Word, O God, “Seek my face”.
Your face, Lord, will we seek (Ps 27)
As we go from this time and place, we go seeking

What is it that we seek?
We seek God’s heart and holiness.
Let’s seek with all our reflecting
Amen. God be our wisdom.
Let’s seek with all our attentiveness
Amen. God be our centre.
Let’s seek with all our valuing
Amen. God be our vision.
Let’s seek with all our efforts
Amen. God be our strength and refuge.

Bits and bobs

On this page I’m intending to collect short pieces relating to praying the Lord’s prayer. Either they will be links or sometimes a few sentences.

Here’s a paraphrase from a colleague, Derek Avery

Loving Mother/ Father God, Cherisher and Guardian of us all May your name be revered above all names. May your loving presence be felt throughout the whole universe, May we, your children, be the conduits of your love, which you pour out on your entire creation, Make our earth your heaven. Give us today we pray just what we need, nothing more, Allow us to learn from our own stupid mistakes So that we can allow others to make their own. Help us not to be seduced by things that really do not matter And keep us from all that harms each other and your creation For Indeed our world, the cosmos and the whole universe Is (and will remain) yours for ever and ever. Amen

I especially liked the ‘stupid’ mistakes bit. There’s a meditative video of it too.

Thy Kingdom Come -short form

This version of the fuller ‘Thy Kingdom Come‘ office can be prayed in around 5 minutes or a bit more depending on how much time you take bringing your own thoughts, reflections and how big the pauses and readings you use are. It could be suitable as a midday office amid work. It is about a third of the length of its parent form, counted by words.

Together with all in Christ, we wait
Come Holy Spirit; soak into our deepest being
We pray together with all your people
Come Holy Spirit; breeze through our staleness
We will hear the scriptures together
Come Holy Spirit; fire up our imaginations for good

         Psalm and readings.

Together we say:
We will receive power
when the Holy Spirit comes upon us;
And we will be Jesus’ witnesses
to the ends of the earth

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
You have blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ
         …
And now we give you thanks because in Christ you embed us in your mission, and you equip us by the Holy Spirit.
Hallowed be your name!

As the Good News is shared, let it soften hearts and change minds.
       …
Your Spirit is working:
Your Kingdom come.

Draw those who have newly heard Christ’s call, to heed their vocation and to be nurtured and baptised
       …
Your Spirit is working:
Your Kingdom come.
Equip us to work with you,
enthuse us to hold our course true.
Send forth your Spirit:
And renew the face of our lives.

We recognise we’ve quenched your Spirit and resisted sharing your good news

Breathe upon us the breath of life:
And renew the face of our lives.
Make our hearts clean, O God
And re-form a right spirit within us.
Let us attend; Christ breathes upon us the peace and forgiveness of God.
         Pause

God invites us into his work in creation and redemption, let us pray not to miss our path.
       Pause

Who is it that we seek?
We seek God: Sender, Sent and Sending.
Since we live by the Spirit,
let us keep in step with the Spirit.

This order is a shortened form of the ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ office.

Collects

These collects are composed or refashioned by Jeremy Clines from older collects and  can be found at his Late Quartet site. There are a number of other collects there, this is a short collection of ones I think might be most helpful for occasional use.
Collects are designed to ‘collect’ together people’s thoughts and prayers at one particular point in time. They have a normal structure of addressing God by recognising some divine quality and on the basis of that quality they then ask God for something, ending with some further recognition of God’s qualities.
………………………………………………………………….

O Creator, from who all good things come,
grant to us your humble servants,
that we may see you in all your works.
Inspire us to think on your goodness,
and be guided to become holy stewards
in the creation, which holds together
in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

…………………………………………………………………

Holy God,
faithful and unchanging:
enlarge our minds with the knowledge
of your world, your cosmos and your truth.
Draw us more deeply into the mystery of your love.
Help us truly serve and worship you,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.
Amen.

…………………………………………………………………
All-loving God,
in your service we receive perfect freedom.
Show us your purposes for our lives
here on earth that we may obey you
with all our heart and mind and strength,
through Jesus Christ our redeemer.
Amen.

 

…………………………………………………………………

God of mercy,
in giving us yourself in Jesus the Christ,
as the bread of life,
we live in the hope of life without hunger.
As we serve you and the world you created,
may we who eat, be bread to others,
may we who drink, pour out your love.
Amen.

…………………………………………………………………

Eternal God,
in Jesus, the Christ,
you served, among the crowds,
and you were with the wild animals,
and angels served you.
Equip us to be givers and receives of that same
love and hospitality; in the church, and with
the peoples and creatures of our world.
Help us notice your presence in others
and in our own lives.
Amen.

…………………………………………………………………

God, whose Spirit hovers over
the deep chaos, bringing order;
by your self-giving grace
we can find your love
and desire to see your promises fulfilled
for ourselves, humanity and whole earth.
Help us share your vision for your world
both now and in the new creation.
Through Jesus Christ our rescuer and redeemer.
Amen.

…………………………………………………………………

Go with us, God, into our lives
and our world, guiding our feet,
thoughts, hopes and our actions.
May your continual help equip
us to serve your divine purpose
for our world and our lives,
both now and for ever,
through Jesus Christ our rescuer.
Amen.

…………………………………………………………………

God who angels and animals worship;
you equip us with new hope,
and empower us with your Spirit.
Help us work with you to
protect and restore the broken
and forgotten people and places of our world,
through Jesus Christ our redeemer.
Amen.

…………………………………………………………………

All-powerful God,
you showed us
in rising from death
the promise of eternity.
Encourage us to view
our lives and world within
your all-loving and eternal nature.
Amen.

…………………………………………………………………

God our creator, in Christ
we see your love for our world
is stronger than death or despair.
Gift us with faith to trust your rescue.
Gift us with hope for creation’s liberation.
Gift us with love for our journey towards you.
Amen.

…………………………………………………………………

God, you love the world.
Your rule of peace was revealed
in Jesus, before he suffered and
died by the rule of law.
Help us see how much stronger
your love is than death.
Strengthen us so we may
serve you in this world,
even when love may mean that we suffer.
Amen.

…………………………………………………………………

Creator God,
in Christ you make all things new.
With creation, we long for freedom.
Come and renew our lives and our world,
with your grace and love.
Help us notice such gifts of hope,
so we may point out the signs of
eternal recovery, close at hand.
Amen.

For more of these collects which have a strong affinity with the Christian concerns for the environment, please go to this site.

Whys and wherefores

Patterned praying and the wider church

The prayers on this website are intended for daily or ‘most-days’ use. In very broad terms they fit within a long tradition of prayers written and set to assist Christians to pray regularly. The guiding principles in putting these offices (that’s a word often used to describe these regular forms of prayer) together have been two-fold. The chief principle has been to make use of the prayer that Jesus gave to his first disciples in response to the request ‘Teach us to pray’. We now usually call that prayer “The Lord’s Prayer” though it has also been known as “the Gospel prayer” or often named for it’s first phrase, the “Our Father”. There are slightly different versions of it in the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke. Putting these together to compare them, we find that there are five topics or movements of prayer covered. Given that there is some variation it is reasonable to suppose that the point is not the exact words but the kinds of things we are being asked to make part of our regular praying.

The second principle informing the shape of these offices has been to include the reading of scripture. For many Christians reading or hearing the Bible regularly is an important discipline, and so it seems important to give room for that in a structure for regular prayer such as this. It seems best to have this component at the start of a time of prayer, perhaps this is because it is the way so many offices and prayer-time advice recommend. In many traditional offices the liturgy around the readings doesn’t particularly support the scriptural component -at least not explicitly in the prayers. In these offices, the prayers before and after the readings are intended to prepare us for hearing the scriptures and give us forms to respond, if only briefly, to them. There is also a framework for reflection offered. This might be particularly useful if you wanted to to use the scripture-centred part of the office separately from the prayer-based second part. One scenario for doing it like that might be to have two times of prayer during the day using one part in each prayer time.

A further principle has been to enable people to pray these offices together as well as singly. The offices are designed with a small group praying them in mind. It doesn’t have to be that way; a person on their own could pray the office -in fact for me that is the usual way it happens. It does act as a reminder though that prayer is envisaged to be a communal activity at heart. After all, the Lord’s Prayer itself supposes a community of prayer: “Our Father … give us … as we forgive…” etc. All of this means that many of the prayers are composed for two or more voices in dialogue. The default is that one voice would say one part of those prayers and the rest of the voices (whether one or more) would say the other part. Obviously, the voice for the first part could vary, and the ‘lead’ in that sense could rotate between participants. If you pray this physically alone, simply take both parts yourself. It works out fine, just remember if you do occasionally pray with others, to be aware that you may fall into habits of speech that need adjusting when sharing the prayers with others and you may want to check whether your prayer partner is expecting you to join in with the responses or not.

Some background

Many of the existing orders of regular pre-written prayers were developed for and by people in monastic communities. Some have been developed so as to simplify or make them more serviceable for those who live outside of monastic communities -this would include Anglican Morning and Evening Prayer.  There have been, however, different approaches and we’ll come to that a bit further on. Suffice to say for now that many of the most widely available collections of offices are rooted in or simply direct copies of monastic offices.

One of the recurring characteristics of monastic offices is that they are built round saying (or, often, singing or chanting) the Psalms. The Psalms would be set, normally on a rotational basis, and during a normal full day of maybe seven offices, the whole of the book of Psalms would be recited. The nuns or monks would be expected to be praying in the rest of their time in the form of individual devotions and as they worked. They would come together up to seven times a day to recite the Psalms together and this was conceived as joining the prayer of God’s people -which arguably the Psalms are. These gatherings for reciting the Psalms would be accompanied by other prayers and scripture reading.

This is not the only pattern of praying together, historically speaking, that Christians have had. In the church of the first few Christian centuries, lay people would gather for prayer (sometimes called ‘Cathedral Offices’) where praying together rather than Psalm-recital was the central activity. It is more in the spirit of that tradition that these offices are composed. It should be said here, though, that using the Lord’s prayer as a structuring principle for a daily office has not been as common as might be expected. Probably the lack of uptake for that is that other patterns have preoccupied minds and imaginations. However, I would argue that we should consider giving pride of place to the Lord’s Prayer in our regular praying, and if it is right that it was intended to be a basis for regular prayer on the part of the disciples then we should be considering using it as a basis for a daily office. This book is an attempt to do that with a variety of forms that it is hoped will enable the Lord’s Prayer to be explored more fully and to bring fresh insight as the different forms are used.

As you use these offices you would probably become aware that many sentences and phrases in them are actually quotes or paraphrases of passages from the Christian scriptures. Part of the point of this is to help us to pray scripture to some degree. It is something that I have valued about Anglican liturgies over the years that many of the prayers quote or make use of biblical texts in this we are taking a leaf from Jesus’ book for he is depicted in the Gospels as using scripture in reflection and directly in prayer. That said, another aim in composing and compiling the prayers in these offices is to come up with fresh phrases or imagery with the hope that theses may stimulate and enliven our prayers.

The value of regular praying using set prayers.

Many Christians and others would use the word ‘liturgy’ to mean a sequence of set, pre-written, prayers. I tend to use the word with a broader meaning: for me, liturgy is the way we pattern our time with God. Thinking about it in that way puts a wider variety of ways of praying within the orbit of ‘liturgy’: For example, a Quiet Time where there is a normal pattern of asking for God’s help in reading and understanding Scripture leading into reading it, reflecting on it, perhaps learning some of it and then praying out of it, that is a liturgy. Even though there is a high degree of extemporisation in the details, the fact that it is a regular pattern (probably with very similar details of the prayers said or thought) means it is a liturgy. Many so-called ‘non-liturgical’ services of worship are actually often liturgical in the wider sense because they have a fairly predictable pattern to them from the point of view of those who regularly worship. What this means is that we need to think about the value as well as the downsides of using a pattern of set prayers on a regular basis. This is not about liturgy or no-liturgy, but rather content and Christian growth and formation.

Praying with set prayers can be helpful to us. Quite often we can find a phrase in scripture or elsewhere which captures something we would find hard to put into words. Sometimes it can do this in a style or elegance of language we find enticing in prayer and which encourages us to bring ourselves to God with it. Sometimes set prayers can awaken us to ideas of what to praise, thank or ask God for that we probably wouldn’t have done ourselves but which we are glad of as the Spirit enlivens them to us. And thene there are the times when our inner life feels dried up or weary and being able to make use of the words that are ‘there’ is helpful; it’s like being able to pray with someone else where they are able to hold us in what we cannot do. It can also be that set prayers enable us to stay focussed at times when our minds might be inclined to wonder.

One objection to set prayers -and therefore to offices of prayer- is that they are not spontaneous. The thought behind this is that only the spontaneous is authentic or genuine and therefore ‘honest’ before God. Sometimes pre-written prayers can be dismissed as ‘vain repetition’ -a phrase from Jesus’ teaching on prayer and how not to do it. I’d like to address those concerns. First of all with regard to the concern about vain repetition. It comes from the King James’ version of Matthew 6:7. Other versions have words like ‘heap up words’; ’empty phrases’; ‘babble on’ and we should note, crucially, that the next bit is to say that this meaningless repetition is like what the heathens /Gentiles /those who don’t know God do and they do it because they are trying to make God listen. Jesus’ point is that we can be confident God hears us so we don’t need to try to impress God. In relation to offices of prayer this translates to the attitude we have when we pray them: if the set prayers enable us to relate to God, fine; if we use them as a kind of bribe to impress God into listening to us, forget it. We use the forms and the words to help us to focus on God and to carry our desire to connect and to share our concerns and to be touched by God. It needn’t replace using our own words, far from it. Using set prayers can support and nurture our own prayers. In fact, in these offices, there is space written in for our own more ‘of the moment’ prayers to be brought in.

In relation to the matter of only spontaneous prayers being authentic and acceptable before God, there are a few things to think more about. One is that Jesus used set prayers or phrases as well as spontaneous ones. For example “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” is a quote from Psalm 22:1 -itself a prayer. And noting the use of Psalms -these are hymns and prayers which have been used for centuries by God’s people with never a sense of it being wrong to use them as prayers (whether said, sung or inwardly articulated) -this is why they are in the Bible: to be used for praying. This reminds us that using the words of others can be ‘authentic’ or can stir up within us a real connection with God. It should be noticed, too, that singing hymns and songs to God is praying and it relies on pre-written words so that many can sing together. It is hard to see how, in principle, singing prayers using someone else’s words is different to saying prayers that have been written previously.

days and seasons

This site has offices for different days and different seasons of the year. It’s not compulsory, obviously, to use them but many people do find it helpful to change forms every so often and this is one way to do this. Many people also find it good to pray along with the seasons of the church year and so there are forms to help you to do that which use imagery and phrases resonant with some of the themes of that season. You’ll see that each day has a theme which references a different part of the church’s year and there are similarities between these and the seasonal prayers themselves to a greater or lesser extent. There is also an order for ‘Everyday’ which is intended to be used anytime as an alternative to any of the others.

In addition to what you would expect in terms of seasons of the church year (Advent, Lent, Easter etc), there are some additional orders of prayer for times and seasons and themes which don’t often appear -Transfiguration is one and what I have called ‘Magnificat’ times when we might be reminded of Mary the mother of Jesus -as the name suggests the words of Mary in Luke 1:46ff form a central place in that office. You can also find a ‘Pauline Office’ which uses words from Paul’s letters to help us to pray. Creationtide is a new, developing, season in September up to 4 October. There is an office for “Dark Seasons” which was compiled with winter in higher latitudes in mind when darkness is a bigger part of everyday experience and it uses imagery of dark and light to draw on that experience as we pray.

There are also some ‘bedtime’ offices. Having a short office before bed is something that has grown in popularity in recent years and so these draw on some of the traditional prayers and imagery for Compline (the traditional late night office) but restructure them in Lord’s Prayer format. One of the constants in these offices is the use of the Nunc Dimittis -the Song of Simeon from Luke 2. In these orders of prayer it is used to round off a time of thankful reflection on the day past rather than as a response to the scripture reading. These night prayer offices are not written ‘seasonally’ but simply with some variety to be used as you find helpful.

Praying offices more than once a day?

If you are looking to pray an office more than once a day and would like to use these liturgies but would also prefer not to pray the same one twice a day. Then (assuming that you don’t count the night prayers) I suggest that it could work to use a seasonal one and a day one. So in December you might pray the Advent office in the mornings but the days’ offices on the relevant day. Or in times outside of the seasons (so called ‘ordinary time’) you might consider the days’ prayers in the mornings and use the Everyday form or the Pauline order on your second sitting.