They have given me a basic structure by which I can compose good public prayers, either ahead of time, or spontaneously. Cranmer’s collects [prayer] 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.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
A Framework for Prayer
Tim Keller draws from the prayer of Thomas Cranmer for How to Pray Better in Public and in Private, Too.