AnonymousDeleted UserOctober 15, 2020 at 12:59 am
The Collects of the BCP and the Daily Office were a totally new experience to me, other than visiting a few friend’s Anglican and Episcopal churches before, I do not have a lot of experience in the COE. I think in my earlier evangelical mega-churchy days, the idea of reading a pre-written prayer was very foreign to me, but as I moved into the Reformed/Presbyterian tradition, I was introduced to books like the Valley of Vision which showed me how empowering it could be to use prewritten prayers, that they can often help us find words to express things in our hearts that we do not have words for. Prewritten prayers often help me to pray or consider things that I would not/do not consider out of my own experience that are things I could/should and can add into my prayer life. I think that one thing I appreciated in Calvin’s reflections on the Lord’s prayer is his emphasis on the collective nature of the prayer, always returning to the “our” of the Father- invoking the familial nature and connection to Christian brethren, and the “our” of bread— how we cannot neglect the hungry among us, that our need of bread is not an individual one, perhaps we have the bread we need but there are those brethren who are unsure of where their bread is coming?
Recently my friend asked me to weigh in on Donald Trump contracting COVID (can we pray that he would die?) and I replied that I would simply pray the Lord’s prayer, the the Lord’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven, and to trust that whether Trump lives or dies, it will all be to the glory of God. I was encouraged then, when reading Calvin’s reflection on the Lord’s Prayer because I felt it aligned nicely with my response.
I think that structure is helpful for me, but I also feel the need to act freely within the flexibility of having a structure. In the last few years, I have often found myself turning to the Lord’s Prayer in times of great distress, it helped me calm down during times I was overwhelmed with panic attacks or anxiety (like a kind of stimming), having the rhythmic and familiar words that never seem to fail to express the needs and fears of my heart has offered a comfort in distressing times.