Prayers for a Sojourning People: A Collection of Pastoral Prayers

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9781574380156: Prayers for a Sojourning People: A Collection of Pastoral Prayers
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Prayer does not have to be eloquent to be prayer. It doesn't even have to be spoken. Paul said, the Spirit "intercedes for us" (Romans 8). You can pray sitting quietly, opening your life to God's presence. Some people are given the gift of extempore prayer. I have been in meetings when the gathering became a community because of the prayer offered by a member. The words were addressed to God, not to us, but as they ascended they lifted us and made us one. As vital to the life of the community is the formal prayer. It is like a concerto, or a sonnet, guided by rules that determine the structure. It contains prescribed elements: thanksgiving, confession, petition, dedication. Whoever attempts the formal prayer will follow the expected formula. It there is innovation, it is variation on the set theme. There is a special type of formal prayer. It is called the "pastoral prayer." It is in the pattern of formal prayer, but you sense something more. It begins with personal spiritual discipline, the way an artist's work rests solidly on the practice of fundamentals. It requires participation in the suffering all human beings endure, the "groaning in travail" of the creation. It is nourished by daily contact with the congregation, sustained from understanding the seasons, absorbing the scriptures, and caring for the world. Susan Gregg-Schroeder is a pastor. She has been given a spiritual gift, which she has disciplined into a craft, and God has matured that craft into its highest form, the pastoral prayer. All you need to do is read the prayers in this volume and you will sense their power. They can be used as models for pastors ordering worship, or for one's personal devotion. In either case you will hear your needs as a person spoken and the assurance of the Gospel proclaimed.

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Susan Gregg-Schroeder
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