Monday, February 10, 2014

The Little Hours

Blessed is our God, always now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

The Protestants got away from the Horologion - the Book of Hours - which governed the pattern of regular prayer for centuries in the High Churches.  This, I think, was a bit of a shame.  The intent of saying the hours was that prayer and worship might continually ascend to God from His people, and intercession be offered up at all times in all places. 

Any system is capable of misuse, of course, and it would be foolish to make the all-to-Romanist link that just doing the prayers means they are pleasing to God.  Never has God accepted vapid or tepid worship.  True worship is done in Spirit and truth.  But we still use structures to help us do it well.

As a Presbyterian, my local church has a structure and a liturgy (which varies a bit, but not dramatically), and belongs to a presbytery in a denomination which maintains a Book of Church Order comprising a Form of Government, a Book of Discipline, and a Directory for Public Worship.  Even broadly evangelical churches have structure (cloaked as spontaneity, sometimes),  with goals, visions, mission statements, and programs upon programs.  But where is prayer?

While understanding that monasticism destroys the evangelical mission of the Great Commission, I nevertheless think there was a commendable motive behind that unhelpful practice - that all aspects of life must be consciously, daily, and diligently surrendered to God.  The cloister is unhelpful at best, but the fervent desire to be entirely at God's disposal is entirely correct.  Forms may be abused, no matter what they are.  But they can also be a guide and guard to assist good practice.

Anyhow, food for thought.

O come, let us worship God our King. O come, let us worship and fall down before Christ our King and our God.  O come, let us worship and fall down before Christ Himself, our King and our God.


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