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Worship The Lord by His Standards

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It seems to me there are four topics that need to be sketched out and that I have found scattered in the Scriptures, indicating that each one should organize one’s prayer according to these topics. This is what they are: In the beginning and the preface of the prayer something having the force of praise should be said of God through Christ, who is praised with Him, and by the Holy Spirit, who is hymned with Him. After this each person should place general thanksgivings, bringing forward for thanksgiving the benefits given many people and those he has himself received from God. After thanksgiving it seems to me that he ought to blame himself bitterly before God for his own sins and then ask, first, for healing that he may be delivered from the habit that brings him to sin and, second, for forgiveness of the sins that have been committed. And after confession, the fourth topic that seems to me must be added is the request for great and heavenly things, both private and general, and concerning his household and his dearest. And, finally, the prayer should be concluded with a doxology of God through Christ in the Holy Spirit.… First, giving praise may be found in the following words from Psalm 104:1–3): “O Lord my God, thou art great indeed, clothed with majesty and splendour, and wrapped in a robe of light. Thou hast spread out the heavens like a tent and on their waters laid the beams of thy pavilion; who takest the clouds for thy chariot, riding on the wings of the wind”…. As for thanksgiving.… David is amazed at God’s gifts and thanks Him for them in these words, “What am I, Lord God, and what is my family, that thou hast brought me thus far?” (2 Sam. 7:18)…. An example of confession is:.… “My wounds fester and stink because of my folly. I am bowed down and utterly prostrate. All day long I go about as if in mourning” (Ps. 38:5–6).

An example of petition or request is found in Psalm 28:3: “Do not drag me away with the ungodly, with evildoers.” Other examples are like this one.

And having begun with praise it is right to conclude the prayer by ending with praise, hymning and glorifying the Father of all through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit, to whom be glory forever (cf. Rom. 16:27; Heb. 13:21; Gal. 1:5; 2 Tim. 4:18). (Origen, On Prayer, Sec. XXXIII. 1–6, CWS, pp. 169–170, NEB)*

CWS Classics of Western Spirituality. 37 vols. to date. Edited by Richard J. Payne et. al. New York: Paulist Press, 1978ff.

NEB New English Bible.

Oden, Thomas C.: Ministry Through Word and Sacrament. New York : Crossroad, 1989, S. 74


Sermon text with italics and bold and John 3:16 and v. 20.

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