The Sacrament of….???? Prayer??? Really?
Discussion/Devotional Thought of the Day:
“16 Ultimately, if we should list as sacraments all the things that have God’s command and a promise added to them, then why not prayer, which can most truly be called a sacrament? It has both the command of God and many promises. If it were placed among the sacraments and thus given, so to speak, a more exalted position, this would move men to pray.” Apology of the Augsburg Confession Article XIII
Some pastors and people in my denomination, if asked about the sacraments, would probably indicate that there are two, or perhaps three. (In fact, I have heard and read arguments about whether the third (Confession and Absolution) is really a sacrament. As our area pastors gathered yesterday, we looked at this particular article – and how it describes and defines our trust in God. It was an enlightening discussion for both us more… chronologically mature types (4 of us middle age with 20 years in ministry plus) and the three “new guys” to ministry.
I think what we realized, perhaps more than that we need to be encourage each other and our people to look to more than a “new member’s course/catechism” is how much God pours into our lives, His comforting presence, and the promises that are made sure and are guaranteed. THe next day or two, a quick mention of a couple other sacraments – things commissioned by God, to which promises of His mercy and love are attached.
Today though – a quick look at prayer – whether it is reciting the Lord’s prayer, which simply contains everything of every prayer, whether praying through the psalms, or some litany, or whether we are simply pouring out our hearts – letting the Holy Spirit purge us of worries, anxieties, sins, guilt and shame, or just waiting in stillness for God’s promised comfort, this is a holy sacred time, a time set apart – by both God and us, for us to realize His grace, mercy, love, peace, kindness… that He shares with us, that He causes us to abide in…..
And therefore – yes – if calling it a sacrament – which is no stretch… encourages men to pray… to spend time in the sacred manner… walking with their Heavenly Father… then so let us call it a sacrament, encourage it, and teach people to treasure it….
The next to last paragraph of what we shared… is so relavent – and a thought to end with…as we try to live life, focused on Christ, yet assaulted by the anxieties and sins of a broken world…
” 22 Such use of the sacrament comforts devout and troubled minds.”
Comfort us Lord!