Writing prayers for worship calls for the creativity of a poet, the sensitivity of a pastor, the insight of a theologian, and the foundation of a living relationship with God. Weaving together these concerns, this article gives advice to the worshiper who is given the task of writing prayers for public worship. It suggests an approach that will be accessible for beginners and challenging for experienced worship leaders.
The text of a prayer is only one element important in the act of public prayer. For the way in which a prayer is spoken, the attitudes that accompany it, and the nonverbal gestures which complement it often communicate as much of the meaning of the prayer as the text itself. This article looks at the whole act of public prayer, offering worship planners pastoral, liturgical, and aesthetic guidelines regarding prayer.
In addition to formal dance, the postures taken for the various acts of worship are an important aspect of movement in worship. Posture both reflects and shapes the attitudes that we bring to worship. One of the most important postures for many Christians in worship is that of kneeling for prayer. This article traces the history of the use of kneeling in worship and commends this practice to all Christians.
When we think of prayer, we probably think of words that we speak, sing, or read. Yet human communication happens as much through nonverbal means as through verbal ones. This article probes the nature and influence of nonverbal communication and argues that it should be intentionally employed in worship.
Many churches ask for some practical ideas for their worship team rehearsals. Often, these practice sessions become mundane and boring. I don’t necessarily have the final word on how to handle these sessions, but here are a few practical tips.
A number of Protestant churches trace their descent from the Puritan heritage. In their worship, these groups share a commitment to a common principle: worship must be ordered according to the Word of God alone. Puritan worship is also characterized by covenant theology and an emphasis on prayer.
Jewish table prayer, thought by some historians of liturgy to be the antecedent of the early Christian eucharistic prayer, evidences a threefold pattern of praise, remembrance, and petition. In a general way this sequence corresponds to the formula “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” in Christian worship. Thus, liturgical practice may have helped to shape classical Christian Trinitarianism.
Ancient sources reveal that a tradition of daily prayer at stated hours developed quite early in the history of the church. The practice of assembling for these times of daily prayer was derived in part from Jewish custom and is mentioned in the New Testament. Christian daily prayer evolved into two forms: monastic prayer, practiced by members of separated communities (originally of laypeople), and cathedral prayer, for which members of the local congregations would assemble with their bishop and other leaders. Daily prayer included the recitation of psalms and hymns, with congregational responses. Some elements in historic Christian liturgies seem to have originated in the practice of daily prayer.
The brakhah, blessing or benediction, is the chief form of prayer in Jewish worship. The New Testament provides numerous examples of the use of this form of prayer by Jesus and the apostles.
Our knowledge of synagogue worship in the first century of the Common Era (c.e.) is limited by a lack of source material. It seems clear, however, that readings from the Law and the Prophets, the recitation of the Shma‘, and the prayers or benedictions formed the order of the service.