Note: During Lent, we will feature guest blog posts from members of Restoration who are exploring the Daily Office in the Book of Common Prayer. Hopefully, these reflections will be an encouragement to you in your own prayer life during this season. Thanks to Brian Prewitt for this contribution.
Receiving from the Lord:
1 Corinthians 4:7 (ESV) “What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?”
Have you ever compared your superior or less than stellar prayer life to someone else’s? I’ve been there, in fact, quite recently. I didn’t come from an Anglican background, so prayer was work to me. I unknowingly approached prayer as a means to an end, the formula by which God worked. My words included things like, “we need to get together to pray for revival, healing, and workers to go into the harvest. If we don’t pray, we won’t see God move. We need to be about the work of prayer!” I was frustrated by my lack of ability and other people’s lack of willingness.
Dismayed and frustrated by life when I was first introduced to the Book of Common Prayer, I excitedly approached it like any other “new” book on prayer, but with suspicious questions. “Is this book legitimate? Should I be praying other people’s prayers? How does using this book interfere with my personal quiet time and devotions?” Without realizing it, I was thinking: “If I do this, I’ll be a better Christian and more pleasing to God.” Ultimately, I failed and couldn’t keep up.
It wasn’t until the Lord grabbed a hold of my heart and showed me I couldn’t make myself or others better. I had to relinquish my pride, self-sufficiency, and “good works” ethic, and receive Christ and keep on receiving Christ. I had to ask the question, “What do I have that I have not received?” The answer was nothing. Everything had been received.
I was now able to approach the BCP in a whole new light. Prayer wasn’t something that I had to do, work at, conjure up, figure out, sound fancy, or try not to sound too fancy. Prayer was something I was receiving from the Lord. Prayer had become a precious gift.
As someone fairly new to the Book of Common Prayer, I encourage you all not to see prayer as a competition, or a work by which you will receive compensation, but to trust God to work in and through you as you repetitiously receive the precious gift of prayer God has graciously given us organized by the Anglicans who have gone before us.