Saturday, October 23, 2010

Cramner's Prayer Structure Will Help You Pray Better

Most teachers pray before and/or after lessons and small group studies. This means that you are modeling prayer for your students. It's been well-said that prayer is more caught than taught -- so let's be good pray-ers that our students will catch good things from us.

I commend Tim Keller's article on how he uses the structure of prayers from Thomas Cramner. Here is an excerpt:

Cranmer’s collects consist of 5 parts:
1. The address - a name of God
2. The doctrine - a truth about God’s nature that is the basis for the prayer
3. The petition - what is being asked for
4. The aspiration - what good result will come if the request is granted
5. In Jesus’ name - this remembers the mediatorial role of Jesus

See this structure in Cranmer’s famous collect for the service of Holy Communion:
1.Almighty God
2.unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid,
3.cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit,
4.that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy holy name,
5.through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

See how the prayer moves from a doctrinal basis (why we can ask for it) to the petition (what we want) to the aspiration (what we will do with it if we get it.) It is remarkable how this combines solid theology with deep aspirations of the heart and concrete goals for our daily life.

Read the whole article, it's excellent.

HT: Challies

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