Prayer & Language

How has our language changed over the past 200 years or so? Excerpts from a book of Puritan prayers:

Benign Lord, Remember not the sins of my youth,  nor the multiplied transgressions of later years, my failure to improve time and talents, my abuse of mercies and means, my wasted Sabbaths, my perverted seasons of grace, my long neglect of Thy great salvation, my disregard of the Friend of sinners.

While I confess my guilt, help me to feel it deeply, with self-abhorrence and self-despair, yet to remember there is hope in Thee and to see the Lamb that takes away sin. Through Him may I return to Thee, listen to Thee, trust in Thee, delight in Thy laws, obey Thee, be upheld by Thee.

Preserve my understanding from error, my affections from love of idols, my lips from speaking guile, my conduct from stain of vice, my character from appearance of evil, that I may be harmless, blameless, rebukeless, exemplary, useful, light-giving, prudent, zealous for Thy glory and the good of my fellow-man.

Words matter to me.  Have you ever prayed using language like that?   I realize these rich words don’t penetrate God’s heart more than my more casual offerings.  But I love words… finding the perfect phrase… a well-crafted thought.  So prayers written like this one often literally cause me to catch my breath.  Because words matter to me. What if I were to try to craft the words I pray as carefully as I craft the things I write? While this post was marinating in my ‘drafts’ box, I read this post by my friend JVo, also about prayer.  Read his post and find truth there, as well as a challenge to step outside what might be your prayer ‘habits’…. places, times, postures, and especially the language we use.  I’m taking him up on his challenge.  But I’m also going to try wrapping rich language around some of my prayers in written form this week. Because… yes… words matter to me. Are you willing to try something different this week?

4 thoughts on “Prayer & Language

  1. Thanks, Kim. Thanks for the conversation and thoughts on prayer. Words matter to me as well. Words mean something. I appreciate your feedback and this post.

  2. Words – what we say and what we think are VERY important. But hopefully we use them frugally also.( and i am SO not good at that! ) ;-)Thought of you when i watched a documentary on Australia’s depleted Murray-Darling river system (our largest) that showed a stretch of river and shore that had 20 THOUSAND pelicans resting on it. :-)<B

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