Biblical Prayer: Liturgical Prayer

Numbers 6:22-27, Blessing the People
2 Chronicles 6:12-42, Prayers for the nation and unbelievers
Psalm 136, Responsive readings
John 17:1-26, Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer
1 Corinthians 11:23-26, Prayer for the Eucharist

More About Biblical Prayer

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Numbers 6:22-27, Blessing the People (9/8/08)

Prayer as part of the worship service is called "liturgical prayer."  Most often, the preacher does the praying as well, although in many denominations, such as ours, laity take an active part.  Typically at St. John's at 11:00, the senior pastor, the associate pastor, one lay person, one staff member, one member of the children's ministry, and the choir all lead us in prayer.  One of the most ancient liturgical prayers is the benediction we read today.

Today’s Prayer: O Lord, my church and my nation need your blessing.  Be gracious to us and give us peace.  Amen.

2 Chronicles 6:12-42, Prayers for the nation and unbelievers (9/9/08)

Solemn occasions call for solemn prayers.  Today we read the prayer that Solomon prayed at the dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem.  Notice the stately, repetitive pattern of presenting a possible future situation and asking for God's response to that situation.  Notice that Solomon prays earnestly for his people and his nation.  One thing (out of many) that I always liked about Pastor Charlie's morning prayers was that he routinely prayed for our nation and our leaders.  We should do that, too.

Today’s Prayer: Dear Lord, we pray especially for our nation today, and for our political leaders.  Grant us civility in the upcoming electoral campaign.  Grant both the winners and the losers grace to serve the nation in whatever situation they find themselves.  Give us the strength, courage, and knowledge to do what is right.  Give our enemies the same blessings you give us.  Give us your peace.  Amen.

Psalms 136, Responsive readings (9/10/08)

One of the standard types of liturgical prayer is the responsive reading.  If you grew up in the UMC (or a number of other denominations), you have done responsive readings hundreds of times in church.  (If you didn't, turn to the back of the hymnal this Sunday and read a few during the prelude to see what they are like.)  I chose Psalm 136 for our reading, even though it is a little bloodthirsty, because it is such a clear scriptural example of a responsive reading.

Today’s Prayer: We are going to read this scripture responsively.  If your name begins with A-M, read the first half of each verse out loud in vss. 1-13, and pause long enough to read the refrain silently.  If your name begins with L-Z, read the refrain out loud and the first half of the verse silently.  Switch half-way through and read the other half of the verse out loud.  If there are two readers at your address, read it responsively together.

John 17:1-26, Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer (9/11/08)

One function of the High Priest was to make the annual sacrifice for all the people of Israel (e.g., Leviticus 16).  At the last supper, Jesus talks to God the Father in the presence of his disciples about his own sacrifice of himself for all people (see especially vss. 1-2, 19).  This is often called his "High Priestly Prayer." 

Today’s Prayer: Dear Father, I know that Jesus sacrificed himself when he didn't have to, in order that my sins could be forgiven.  Thank you.  Amen.

1 Corinthians 11:23-26, Prayer for the Eucharist (9/12/08)

We have seen this week that many of the prayers we use in church come directly from the Bible.  Our passage today is one that is so familiar that many people are surprised when they first see it in 1 Corinthians.

Today’s Prayer: Hear us, O Merciful Father.  Help us to remember Christ's death and resurrection always.  Amen.

More About Biblical Prayer

The Purpose of Prayer
Conversations with God – Abraham
Conversations with God – Moses
Conversations with God – David and Solomon
Adoration: Sing to the Lord a New Song
Liturgical Prayer
When God Speaks
God promises to answer all prayers…
… Except the prayers of the Wicked. But if the Wicked repent, God hears them, too.
Sometimes the answer is “No.”
The disciples talk about prayer.
How Not to Pray
How to Pray: Effectively
How to Pray – Privately
How to Pray – Corporately

Copyright 2008, 2011 by Regina L. Hunter. All rights reserved.

Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the Bible-study participants.  Thanks to the Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers for their support and enthusiasm.  All errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.

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