Thursday, November 13, 2014
Shaping the Prayers...
Published by Eerdmans, more information can be found at www.eerdmans.com. To begin, Kocher and Wells give a little history of American churches, and how prayers were put together. Sometimes it was a Pastoral Prayer given by clergy, sometimes prayers were woven together from "revivalist traditions," and sometimes lay people were encouraged to just put together the cares and concerns of the members of the congregation. Among all the churches, there are many different styles of worship. Wells and Kocher are accepting differences and looking at them as opportunities for those intercessors who lead prayers to think carefully about what they are doing.
Their book has two parts: theory and practice. The authors say it is designed to answer the question: "Teach us to pray," and intercessors will take from it what they find helpful and that's good. The authors are offering "grace and joy" in planning prayers, "not new laws or rote" on how to do it. But I think that in the first five chapters, they cover just about every angle of how to plan and pray as intercessors. It shows, as they begin with words like: propose, suggest, explore, choose. And they remind us that Jesus described prayer as: "Ask, Seek, and Knock."
In the second part, Kocher and Wells offer samples of prayers under three headings: Seasons, Ordinary Time, and Occasions. Some of these prayers go back many years and some have been more recently prayed, remembered, and shared. These prayers take us through the church year and there are brief paragraphs suggesting how they might be used. The final two pages are a Checklist for Preparing the Prayers of the People that intercessors may find helpful.