Using Liturgy for Private Prayer

John J. Bombaro
Thursday, November 1st 2018
Nov/Dec 2018

Prayers of confession or repentance in the corporate setting teach us that we are called to repentance daily, even in our private settings.

The Agnus Dei, the “Lamb of God” anthem, is a highly memorable prayer of praise perfectly suited to those devoted to Holy Communion.

The Kyrie Eleison (“Lord, have mercy”) is an ancient biblical prayer recalling petitions for help and healing spoken to Jesus during his lifetime (Matt. 15:22; Mark 10:46–52; Luke 17:13). Special petitions can be inserted by the celebrant, congregation, or private individual.

The Collect of the Day helps parishioners focus on a central theme drawn from the readings of the day, which they may be following at home or in their own devotional reading. In Gathered Guests, Timothy Maschke writes, “In many ways these collects remind us that our prayers are not ours alone, but they are the prayers of the whole church—past, present, and future” (125).

The Eucharistic prayer derived from 1 Corinthians 11:23–26 conforms to God’s injunction to “give thanks” before the Lord’s Supper. The Eucharistic Prayer consists of anamnesis and epiclesis (“remembering” and “invoking”). We remember the great work of redemption accomplished by Christ on the holy cross, and we ask for the Spirit’s continuing aid in making us worthy recipients of the sacraments—that is, to strengthen our faith.

The Lord’s Prayer was particularly associated with Holy Communion in early Christian worship practice, and so praying it privately brings to mind its seven petitions that have their fulfillment in Christ’s gracious rule and provision.

The post-Communion canticle Nunc Dimittis (Simeon’s Song from Luke 2:25–32), or “Thank the Lord,” is a beautiful prayer of satisfaction, suitable for any blessing in one’s personal life.

Thursday, November 1st 2018

“Modern Reformation has championed confessional Reformation theology in an anti-confessional and anti-theological age.”

Picture of J. Ligon Duncan, IIIJ. Ligon Duncan, IIISenior Minister, First Presbyterian Church
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