Does Your Congregation Recite the Lord's Prayer?

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Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
Our Westminster-confessing congregation does not recite the Lord's Prayer, but members join in the reading of Deuteronomy 5:6-21 as well as Psalm 124:8. My family does not participate; we believe that such reading in unison is nowhere commanded in Scripture. (See WCF 21, esp. Section 5.)
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Our church does this as is common in the PCA. While I have refrained from other things like unision readings, my understanding is the same as Josh's since his church is the successor of the church that I 'reformed' in. On the historical point, when this subject has come up here, it has been frustratingly hard to demonstrate what the practice was when the directory was instituted (pastor prays it or the people pray it too?); the protester resolutioner division happened as the directory was released for use and uniform practice in the Scottish church and with the Cromwellian occupation and then the restoration it is very hard in some areas to nail down what was the intended practice here. Maybe it was shown on one of the old threads but I remember sort of the conclusion was it was unclear. That being said, like Ed but not quite there yet, I have become more and more dissatisfied with the practice. 1. Despite my saying something at least once to the pastor, it is always rushed through, never said slowly, and I barely have the time to think and I'm usually skipping words to keep up. 2. Some children are learning it presently, and the clear rote-ness seems to me have underscored my issues. I'm sick today (since Thursday); but maybe if not this would have been the Lord's Day I just stopped.
 

Poimen

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Our church does this as is common in the PCA. While I have refrained from other things like unision readings, my understanding is the same as Josh's since his church is the successor of the church that I 'reformed' in. On the historical point, when this subject has come up here, it has been frustratingly hard to demonstrate what the practice was when the directory was instituted (pastor prays it or the people pray it too?); the protester resolutioner division happened as the directory was released for use and uniform practice in the Scottish church and with the Cromwellian occupation and then the restoration it is very hard in some areas to nail down what was the intended practice here. Maybe it was shown on one of the old threads but I remember sort of the conclusion was it was unclear. That being said, like Ed but not quite there yet, I have become more and more dissatisfied with the practice. 1. Despite my saying something at least once to the pastor, it is always rushed through, never said slowly, and I barely have the time to think and I'm usually skipping words to keep up. 2. Some children are learning it presently, and the clear rote-ness seems to me have underscored my issues. I'm sick today (since Thursday); but maybe if not this would have been the Lord's Day I just stopped.
The Directory seems to indicate that it is pastor who prays it. At the end of the paragraph it reads "...every minister is herein to apply himself in his prayer, before or after sermon, to those occasions: but, for the manner, he is left to his liberty, as God shall direct and enable him in piety and wisdom to discharge his duty."

Either way, it does not commend a weekly recitation since it says "we recommend it also to be used in the prayers of the church" not as a prayer. Other grounds, as expressed elsewhere in this thread, may deter us from using it weekly, especially where in so doing it violates the principles laid down in Q&A 187: "with understanding, faith, reverence, and other graces necessary to the right performance of the duty of prayer."
 
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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
We used to use the Lord's Prayer in every Lord's Day service. Now we only use it in the mornings (when I am normally not able to attend). I think it is a great shame, as the use of the Lord's Prayer set the tone for the rest of the congregational prayers.
 

hLuke

Puritan Board Freshman
Another interesting view on reciting the Lord's Prayer as a congregation can be found in the Didache, which is arguably a first century church document.

But let not your fasts be with the hypocrites; Matthew 6:16 for they fast on the second and fifth day of the week; but fast on the fourth day and the Preparation (Friday). Neither pray as the hypocrites; but as the Lord commanded in His Gospel, thus pray: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. Give us today our daily (needful) bread, and forgive us our debt as we also forgive our debtors. And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one (or, evil); for Yours is the power and the glory forever. Thrice in the day thus pray.
(Didache 8)
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
Yes, we prayed it together this morning. In addition to the wording the Lord uses when giving the prayer, there is an example of jointly said prayer in Acts 4:24.
 

Jonathan95

Puritan Board Sophomore
I'm a member of an OPC church and we recite the Lord's Prayer weekly as well. We also read a confession of our faith from a portion of scripture as well.
 

C4MERON

Puritan Board Freshman
We have started to recite it together congregationally each Lord’s Day morning service.
 

D.L. Arter

Puritan Board Freshman
Our church doesn’t recite the Lord’s Prayer during worship services, however, I do recommend it as a model of prayer and a teaching tool. I don’t necessarily have an issue with it being recited in a church as long as the recitation served its spiritual purpose and it doesn’t just become a routine. Our church does do a responsive call to worship, which is usually a Psalm or what might be considered a hymn found in Scripture, which could end up being a similar issue of routine, but it doesn’t seem to have become an issue as of yet.
 

SeanPatrickCornell

Puritan Board Sophomore
Yes. At the end of the opening prayer the Pastor finishes with the Lord's Prayer and the congregation recites it alongside the Pastor.
 

lifelong_sinner

Puritan Board Freshman
I attend a PCA church, and we dont say it every week, when we do, it tends to be added on to a prayer our teaching elder began.
 

TheInquirer

Puritan Board Sophomore
We recite/pray it weekly. I do find it difficult to actually "pray" it in the time it takes to say it. My preference might be to go through it more slowly, line by line, and allow for personal reflection, repentance, and prayer through it.
 

Regi Addictissimus

Completely sold out to the King
We recite it weekly along with other congregational prayers, read from God's law in unison, and confess our faith before weekly communion with either the Nicene Creed or the Apostle's Creed.

In the evenings, we do some of the above and read through the Westminster Standards in unison. We are nearing the end of the Larger Catechism.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
If you mean what you say in the words of the Lord's Prayer, as much as you mean what you sing (whether the Psalter exclusively or other songs inclusive); and furthermore if what you mean is enhanced at every point with true knowledge of what you profess in each of the preface, six petitions, and conclusion--see WSC #s 100-109; then your (corporate, unison) confession of faith in those words is, in my humble estimation, a "lawful oath/vow," and thus a proper element of worship.
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
lawful oath/vow
Would you say that WCF 21.5 has in view weekly recitation in the church's regular corporate worship?

The reading of Scriptures with godly fear; the sound preaching, and conscionable hearing of the Word, in obedience unto God, with understanding, faith, and reverence; singing of Psalms with grace in the heart; as also, the due administration and worthy receiving of the sacraments instituted by Christ; are all parts of the ordinary religious worship of God: besides religious oaths, vows, solemn fastings, and thanksgivings upon special occasions, which are, in their several times and seasons, to be used in an holy and religious manner.
 

MChase

Puritan Board Freshman
The argument that it may become rote isn’t a good one. Our sinful hearts are prone to make any means of grace a rote ritual. The argument against it is that it isn’t a required form of prayer for public worship. The scriptural example is for the congregation to give their Amen to the Minister’s prayer, and in that manner to pray along side him.

It also cannot be an oath or vow. Oaths and vows are occasional elements of worship not weekly elements. Not to get into the weeds too far, but this is why I also think weekly communion is an error. Part of partaking of the elements is vowing unto the Lord and renewing covenant, which our confession states is an occasional occurrence.
 

kodos

Puritan Board Junior
If you mean what you say in the words of the Lord's Prayer, as much as you mean what you sing (whether the Psalter exclusively or other songs inclusive); and furthermore if what you mean is enhanced at every point with true knowledge of what you profess in each of the preface, six petitions, and conclusion--see WSC #s 100-109; then your (corporate, unison) confession of faith in those words is, in my humble estimation, a "lawful oath/vow," and thus a proper element of worship.

This is contrary to the Westminster Confession of Faith's teaching on Oaths/Vows.

WCF 21.6 - "...besides religious oaths and vows, solemn fastings, and thanksgivings upon special occasions".

I have found that a lot of Presbyterians unhappy with the RPW attempt to appeal to this as an "out".. But that is not what the Confession of Faith teaches. It does not envision this being a weekly or regular occurrence. Besides - an oath binds to performances, see Chapter 22, and is to be administered. If you want to tell your congregants you are administering an oath, try telling them that before you recite it. But then they will say you are being confounding. Even the unlearned will think you are from another planet.
 
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Ryan&Amber2013

Puritan Board Senior
I don't have a strong opinion about this matter one way or the other, but I did just read through the passage. Jesus said "pray then like this." As far as I can tell he was giving us a model for prayer, but not a specific, required, word for word, prayer to pray, let alone every time we gather as a church. To me, and I mean just to me, this sounds like a ritual which could potentially be very healthy for the church, but also has the potential to become just another formal ritual with not as much spiritual benefit if it becomes too repetitive.
 
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bookish_Basset

Puritan Board Freshman
Our congregation prays it together right after the invocation on Sundays when we celebrate the Lord's Supper, so generally once a month.

I've never really grasped how to pray such prayers reflectively, either, though I try to do it with intention. I guess I've reconciled myself to it by figuring that more reflective prayer is more suited to one's private devotions, and corporate unison prayer is appropriate and meaningful in a different way? I could be wrong; it isn't something I've conclusively thought through.

I'm just grateful that we don't have a written corporate prayer of confession, because that was much more confusing for me through my Anglican years and then in our previous PCA congregations.
 

De Jager

Puritan Board Sophomore
The only time we do it is in connection with our form for the administration of the Lord's supper. I'm in the URC...the Dutch churches have their own quirks when it comes to these things. As for me personally, I would be quite happy to not repeat the prayer in unison. But my conscience isn't pricked by doing so. That doesn't mean I am right, though.
 

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Senior
Do you want to know what is most interesting to me about this and other similar threads? And I'm the one who started this one.

When I post about our only hope as being a massive work of the Spirit coming in revival, I get maybe three responses.
And one of those is usually a joke of some sort.

Wake up, before it's too late.
 

Ryan&Amber2013

Puritan Board Senior
Do you want to know what is most interesting to me about this and other similar threads? And I'm the one who started this one.

When I post about our only hope as being a massive work of the Spirit coming in revival, I get maybe three responses.
And one of those is usually a joke of some sort.

Wake up, before it's too late.
I don't think I understand what you're saying, brother. That people aren't discussing a massive work of the Spirit and revival more, when they should be?
 

kainos01

Puritan Board Senior
When I post about our only hope as being a massive work of the Spirit coming in revival, I get maybe three responses.
Is that what you posted about??
It seems to me that you asked a direct question and have received many (not three) responses to that question.

If we all missed the intention of the OP, then perhaps you could reframe it.

Forgive me if I misunderstood this (#55) post...
 
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hLuke

Puritan Board Freshman
I don't think I understand what you're saying, brother. That people aren't discussing a massive work of the Spirit and revival more, when they should be?
I believe he meant that people on this board may be more inclined to discuss issues of trivial degree when compared to discussion the work of God, or deeply spiritual matters such as godliness or holiness.

There is doubtless an intellectual focus on this forum which for some (speaking generally) may blur the reality of godly living in each PuritanBoard member's life.

I speak with no such certainty because I am fully aware that Ed is entitled to his convictions and moreover I am in no position to evaluate a member's personal walk with God in terms of their devotion to matters pertaining to holiness or spiritual renewal when I have my own spiritual pitfalls to deal with.

@Ed Walsh I do see what you're getting at!
 

jw

Administrator
For what it's worth to anyone reading this, I can take or leave most any bit of information that I see here on the Puritan Board. Don't misread that as not enjoying the online company of friends & brethren here. I do, or I would not spend time posting, poking, praying for, and jesting with folks here. With that caveat, I'll say: (and I'm gonna give a paragraph break here for @ZackF)

If our best efforts are spent on work in the inner man, as informed by the Scriptures in our local chapters of Zion, our own families in private worship, and the Spirit of God's illumination in our secret worship via the Word -while we might take encouragement on the Puritan Board- we will have no dependency on the conversations that pass herethrough. If someone doesn't heed my freely-given advice, that is there prerogative. This is not a church. This is not where I am duty-bound to correct (though I'm free to express such), or confess my sins, and share my struggles. Each of those things -by command- belong to those with whom I commune each Lord's Day, and to some degree, those with whom I share in Presbyterial communion (and denominational, etc.).

You can take what I've said above, or you can Not take it. Either way, that's fine.
 
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