That is how chapel begins at our Classical Lutheran Grammar school four times a week. We have Lutherans, Baptists, Christian and Missionary Alliance folks, and a couple Seventh Day Adventists at our school. And we pray and sing liturgy, psalms, and hymns in English....and in Latin.
I get to preach at least five times a week. More occasions arise with funerals, weddings, and shut-in visits. And I catechize a lot of new members. Many were raised Roman.
This review will focus on ancient prayer resources for 21st Century people. All are from Paraclete Press.
In addition to the volume above, we also received samples of four shorter books in the Ancient Spiritual Disciplines series, all available in paperback and digital formats.
I spent a pleasant evening reading all five books. That may sound like a lot, but that's what I do. I read voraciously. Thankfully I have a book review gig to feed my habit!
Since then, I've had time to ponder the long-term implications of these forms of ancient prayer. The arrival of this box of review books is not my first exposure to any of these forms of prayer.
And I'd like to think that the response of a liturgical, confessional, and Biblical Lutheran Christian wouldn't be as predictable as it sounds: there was a Reformation of the medieval liturgy for a reason.
Some brief points will tell you more about my perspective.
All four booklets will give the Christian food for thought and an exercise in historical and liturgical theology. Lutherans will be reminded why we pray as we do.
With regard to the ribboned, blue hardcover, Prayer Book of the Early Christians, there is much to commend.
I could imagine an interested American Christian could pick up the book and be exposed to the Daily Office for the first time.
Further, such a one could perhaps contemplate Psalms as prayers for the first time.
Additionally, many are averse to printed prayers these days. I always counter that with, "But what if I mean them from my mind and heart?"
Praying what ancient Christians prayed grants us fellowship with them as well as new words and thoughts when the Lord opens our lips for praise and prayer.
I love the Trisagion Prayers. They form the beginning of our Committal rite in the Pastoral Care Companion, a part of Lutheran Service Book, as a resource for The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod. I must reject "The Seal," found on the bookmark and commonly throughout the Office of the Orthodox: "Through the prayers of our holy Fathers and Mothers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us." I shall replace it with "Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison" and be more ancient than the ancients.
As noted before, I must refrain from praying to any creature, living or dead, whether Mary, angel, or Saint, and rewrite the prayers to address Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, all the while thanking the Lord for them, in accordance with Augsburg Confession 21:
Thus revised, very nearly the whole Prayer Book of the Early Christians is commended for Lutheran use.
Christians are given to worship the Lord in Spirit and in truth.
The Rev. Paul J Cain is Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming, Headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School, Yellowstone Circuit Visitor (LCMS Wyoming District), a member of the Board of Directors of The Consortium for Classical and Lutheran Education, Wyoming District Worship Chairman, and Editor of QBR.