Prayer Meeting – Wednesday 29th April 2015

Prayer Blog 26th April 2nd May 2015

Extempore or Set Forms of Prayer

Depending on what Christian tradition you grew up in, you will be more familiar with either extempore, unwritten prayers, or written set forms of prayer. Some of us may have found that set written prayers were frowned upon in the churches we attended. In my experience, from time to time, I have come across a slight spiritual arrogance by those who can pray unaided by paper at the prayer meetings. Furthermore, those who find it difficult to pray out loud, without first having prepared something beforehand, may feel discouraged from time to time.

Truth is, in my opinion, a well written prayer which someone has taken time to reflect on and put together trumps an ill prepared prayer any time. It is said of George Macleod, founder of the Iona Community, that in writing prayers; ‘Five hours preparation for a five minute prayer was by no means unusual’.[1]

That is why I am so appreciative of the fact that, Sunday by Sunday, we are blessed in our worship at DBC by people who take time to prepare prayers of intercession prior to standing up and praying publically.

Of course there can be problems with both types of prayers. According to David Cornick:

Written prayer is a stringent discipline…It is but a short step from praying to lecturing, from adoring God to telling God what to do…Reformed worship continues to walk a fine line between freedom and form. When it gets it right, it can move to Heaven’s gate in a way that few set liturgies can. When it gets it wrong, it can fall to depths that set liturgies never plumb. [2]

Of course, important as all of this is, we must never forget that true prayer comes from the heart, whether written or extempore. That is why when we meet this coming Wednesday, at 7.30pm, in the church for prayer, I have chosen a set liturgy for us to follow which also leaves gaps for free and open prayer. It’s not really about one or the other, it’s both. But preparation for both moves us nearer to ‘Heaven’s gate.’

Come, and join us for prayer if you can. The liturgy is printed below for your use if you cannot come out but would still like to join us. Please do!

As we forgive


Opening sentence

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those who sin against us.

Call to praise

O God, your word is a lamp to my feet

and a light to my path.

The light and peace of Jesus Christ be with us.

Glory …

Psalm 65.2-5 [1-4]

To you our praise is due in Zion, O God.

To you we pay our vows, you who hear our prayer.

To you all flesh will come with its burden of sin.

Too heavy for us, our offenses, but you wipe them away.

Blessed those whom you choose and call to dwell in your courts.

We are filled with the blessings of your house, of your holy temple.


It is good to give thanks to the Lord,

to sing praises to your name, O Most High.

(free prayers of thanksgiving)

We declare your steadfast love in the morning,

and your faithfulness by night. Amen.


Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love;

according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.


Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and sustain in me a willing spirit. Amen.

Call to discipleship

Jesus said, I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry,

and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Lord Jesus, you have the words of eternal life.

Luke 7.(36-39), 40-50

Jesus spoke up and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Teacher,”

he replied, “Speak.” “A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii,

and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he canceled the debts for both of them. Now

which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he

canceled the greater debt.” And Jesus said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then turning

toward the woman, he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house;

you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried

them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped

kissing my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with

ointment. Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has

shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” Then he said to her,

“Your sins are forgiven.” But those who were at the table with him began to say among

themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” And he said to the woman, “Your faith

has saved you; go in peace.”

2 Corinthians 2.5-11

But if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but to some extent—not to exaggerate

it—to all of you. This punishment by the majority is enough for such a person; so

now instead you should forgive and console him, so that he may not be overwhelmed by

excessive sorrow. So I urge you to reaffirm your love for him. I wrote for this reason: to

test you and to know whether you are obedient in everything. Anyone whom you forgive,

I also forgive. What I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in

the presence of Christ. And we do this so that we may not be outwitted by Satan; for we are

not ignorant of his designs.

Silent or spoken reflection on the readings

Call to intercession

Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find;

knock, and the door will be opened for you.

The heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.

Merciful God, we bring our prayers to you with confidence, in the name of our Lord


In your mercy, Lord, hear our prayer.

You wipe away our offenses. We pray for ourselves and those dear to us.

(open prayers)

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those who sin against us.

You speak your word of forgiveness. We pray for our community and for our neighbors.

(open prayers)

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those who sin against us.

You have forgiven your people, and you call us to forgive. We pray for the church in all

places, that we may bear witness to your reign of justice, peace, and joy.

(open prayers)

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those who sin against us.

You have reconciled the world to yourself in Christ. We pray for the world, for all who are

ensnared in greed, violence, and oppression.

(open prayers)

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those who sin against us.

We offer you other concerns we carry in our hearts.

(open prayers)

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those who sin against us.

God of grace and glory, you keep our souls, satisfying us with living bread and holy work.

Renew us through forgiveness and restore us in rest,

that we may look for the coming of your reign on earth as in heaven.

Secure in your love, we pray with humility and joy:

Our Father …


Now may the Lord of peace give us peace

at all times in all ways.

The Lord be with us. Amen.[3]

[1] Ronald Fergusson, Introduction in, George Macleod, The Whole Earth Shall Cry Glory, (Iona, Wild Goose Publications, 1985)

[2] David Cornick, Letting God be God, The Reformed Tradition, Traditions in Christian Spirituality Series, (London, Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd, 2008), 68

[3] Take Our Moments and Our Days (Canada: Herald Press, 2007), 65-70

4 thoughts on “Prayer Meeting – Wednesday 29th April 2015

  1. Anne McD

    Having grown up in a Brethern assembly, worshipping in St George’s Tron Church of Scotland from my late teens to my late twenties, worshipping in a small Anglican church in a small village in West Lancashire, a Methodist church in Bakewell in Derbyshire and returning to my roots (almost) in the Baptist church in the Highlands I have experienced and been blessed by both extempore and set forms of prayer. I have been blessed by the extempore prayers of people whom I believe had a gift and whose prayers did ‘enable me to go on the heights’. One of the things which I felt cautious about when contemplating worshipping in an Anglican setting was the use of the Prayer Book. In time I began to appreciate the beauty of these prayers. It was one of the things I missed most when we left. I still have a copy of the Prayer Book. Many of its phrases still come to my mind and are an inspiration when my own prayers are a bit on the slow side. I believe God accepts prayers which come from our hearts be they inspired simply from within ourselves or by the written, shared prayers of others. In effect, TRY PRAYING!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. barbsfun

    Some of us didn’t grow up in any Christian tradition we met Jesus in adulthood! I have been in Anglican, Pentecostal – Elim, Methodist, Church of the Nazarene, Church of Scotland (is that Presbyterian?) and Baptist over the last 8 years and now sometimes Free Church.
    Attending Anglican services on a regular basis you can become too familiar with the words repeated every week and not think of the meaning. It was very refreshing recently reciting the creed in church for a change and meant much more than when said every week.
    I think the main thing is to connect with the Spirit in any time of prayer.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. williemiller1958

    I guess your experience teaches us that this works both ways barbsfun. Set liturgies can help us get going with prayer, when we find it difficult. Extempore prayer should not be neglected by those who mainly use liturgy.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s