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May 09, 2004


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'quite often by seizing both ends of a paradox we can approach the truth'

i really like that idea.

Relate to all of this: both forms of praying can go dead -and silence can be a great aid in that as well as mixing silence into the other kinds too. I pray the Psalms by having gobbets of silence between the clauses. any faster and I end up just reciting.
Also I was pleased to see the 'illuminated' praying of the Lord's prayer figuring: I'm writing a book[let] ont that at the moment. One of the things in it is sharing how I've also liturgised some of it so it becomes a kind of 'office' of the Lor'ds prayer but with lots of spaces for own words and or silence. In various forms it has sustained me for 15 years or so.

Tammy, I'm with you in liking what Richard shared ("by seizing both sides of a paradox we can approach the truth...") -- our faith is filled with theological "tensions" - tensions we should celebrate and marvel over, rather than trying to reduce into either-or realities. This is one area where postmodernity is succeeding in restoring mystery to our ancient faith.

Andii -- the Lord's Prayer "AS" an office rather than "IN" an office... that's fascinating. Would you be able to share a little more about that without giving away the contents of the booklet you're writing?

Responding to the request to expand a bit on the idea of LP *as* office rather than *in* an office. Basically it involves taking each clause as a structuring item and finding/writing prayers that develop/explicate the theme of that clause. I actually started keeping a loose-leaf prayer journal divided into the relevant sections for the LP so that I could add in prayers or scriptures or prayer lists or reflections under each 'heading'. That has now developed into a set of [seasonal/daily] offices that I use, each based on the structure of the Lord's prayer. I am hoping to publish some of it on the web nearer the time the booklet goes to press [which may be a year or so]. But if there's demand, perhaps I might go public with that bit of it sooner...

I did it because I was challenged by the fact that this was the only prayer that Jesus told us to use and we only ever parroted it in daily offices. I felt that it deserved more 'respect' than that and that, given I thought it was a pattern-prayer, it should /could be used to pattern offices [early Christians prayed LP 3 times a day and so developing that into a kind of office didn't seem to big a stretch].

Most offices have developed from the [monastic] desire to pray the Psalter and to meditate on scripture and the other kind of prayer has been added on to the end -usually focussing on intercessory /petitionary prayer. So I started out by praying my developing LP offices at the point where the LP came in the offices I did pray and cutting down on the other materials at that point so as not to reduplicate. So the usual structure would be: opening prayer, psalms and scripture, canticle/creed, Lord's prayer and final collects. I still do basically that except I now think of it as two offices; the office of scripture and the office of the Lord's prayer ...

oooh andii - that's very powerful - i think you've redeemed something there. thanks for expanding on it.

richard wrote: "On another note, a college professor, trying to teach us about the Trinity, told us that quite often by seizing both ends of a paradox we can approach the truth: e.g.--God is One and Three." Nouwen expands on this in his "Praying with Icons" - and talks about how the Trinity is already in community and our goal becomes to 'join into' their community through prayer and silence. He used the tool of an icon to achieve this. i've never done it myself, but i found it fascinating. i set the book aside (due to some other reading that had a deadline) and haven't finished it yet, but your thoughts on the paradox of the Trinity sparked that rememberance in my mind. Gotta find that book again, thanks for the encouragement. Good stuff!

Over a year after this discussion tailed away, I return to say that the book has now been published after a few changes in plan...
Books on the Lord's prayer tend to be one or other of two kinds. On the one hand there are scholarly books which explore the texts, backgrounds and usages of the prayer critically. On the other hand there are more devotional books which offer meditations and reflections on the meaning of the prayer. What there appears not to be are books that take the insights about meanings and structure and the template-nature of the prayer and attempt to turn them into practical strategies for praying. Until that happens, people have other models and patterns of praying which, by virtue of history and present usage, tend to predominate. In order to use the Lord's prayer in the kind of way that scholarship broadly indicates, we need also to provide models and means to do so.

Praying the Pattern attempts to fill that gap: the gap between observing that the 'Our Father' is supposed to be a structuring framework for prayer and the practice that simply uses the prayer as a recitation and uses other schemas to shape prayer.

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