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On Friday, September 1, 2017, President Donald Trump proclaimed that Sunday would be a National Day of Prayer in the United States for those affected by Hurricane Harvey — victims, first responders and rescuers:

Trump’s pastor friends are behind him laying on hands in prayer. Pastor Robert Jeffress is on the left with the red tie.

Trump also thanked the first responders and rescuers doing so much to mitigate Harvey’s ravaging effects.

Trump spoke then signed the proclamation (3:08 mark above). The White House has a transcript of his proclamation, most of which follows:

Americans have always come to the aid of their fellow countrymen — friend helping friend, neighbor helping neighbor, and stranger helping stranger — and we vow to do so in response to Hurricane Harvey. From the beginning of our Nation, Americans have joined together in prayer during times of great need, to ask for God’s blessings and guidance. This tradition dates to June 12, 1775, when the Continental Congress proclaimed a day of prayer following the Battles of Lexington and Concord, and April 30, 1789, when President George Washington, during the Nation’s first Presidential inauguration, asked Americans to pray for God’s protection and favor.

When we look across Texas and Louisiana, we see the American spirit of service embodied by countless men and women. Brave first responders have rescued those stranded in drowning cars and rising water. Families have given food and shelter to those in need. Houses of worship have organized efforts to clean up communities and repair damaged homes. Individuals of every background are striving for the same goal — to aid and comfort people facing devastating losses. As Americans, we know that no challenge is too great for us to overcome.

As response and recovery efforts continue, and as Americans provide much needed relief to the people of Texas and Louisiana, we are reminded of Scripture’s promise that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Melania and I are grateful to everyone devoting time, effort, and resources to the ongoing response, recovery, and rebuilding efforts. We invite all Americans to join us as we continue to pray for those who have lost family members or friends, and for those who are suffering in this time of crisis.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim September 3, 2017, as a National Day of Prayer for the Victims of Hurricane Harvey and for our National Response and Recovery Efforts. We give thanks for the generosity and goodness of all those who have responded to the needs of their fellow Americans. I urge Americans of all faiths and religious traditions and backgrounds to offer prayers today for all those harmed by Hurricane Harvey, including people who have lost family members or been injured, those who have lost homes or other property, and our first responders, law enforcement officers, military personnel, and medical professionals leading the response and recovery efforts. Each of us, in our own way, may call upon our God for strength and comfort during this difficult time. I call on all Americans and houses of worship throughout the Nation to join in one voice of prayer, as we seek to uplift one another and assist those suffering from the consequences of this terrible storm.

The Left went mad.

They complained of mixing church and state. Unlike France, the United States does not prohibit the mixing of church and state. The United States grants the freedom for people to practise their own religion and says there will be no state religion. For more information on church and state in America, see ‘Church, state and the First Amendment’, which I wrote earlier this year.

They accused Trump of intimating that people who were non-Christian could not participate. Does he have to draw them a picture every time he speaks? Everyone was encouraged to participate in their own way: ‘all faiths and religious traditions and backgrounds’.

The aforementioned Pastor Jeffress gave an interview to Judge Jeanine Pirro of Fox News on November 2. He is grateful that God gave America Donald Trump:

I read somewhere last week that President Trump might not be a religious president, but he is a prayerful one. That works for me.

In July 2012 — the year of Obama’s re-election — there was the 714-PROJECT for America, which was a general — not presidential — call to prayer and meditation based on 2 Chronicles 7:14. That verse was useful then and continues to be so now:

I think of that verse often, not only for the US, but also for other nations, including the UK.

However, it does not take a national day of prayer for the faithful to bow their heads and ask for God’s blessing (the date of the tweet shows here as November 3 but is actually November 2):

Breitbart has a good article on previous National Days of Prayer. Excerpts follow.

As Trump said, Washington was the first to make such a proclamation:

“No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States,” Washington declared in his first Inaugural Address, the first words uttered by a president of the United States.

It is therefore hardly surprising that when the first Congress passed a resolution on September 25, 1789, calling upon Washington to proclaim a National Day of Prayer, the Father of His Country issued a proclamation to all Americans that November 26, 1789, would be a day to “offer our prayers and supplications to the Great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions.”

“Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful to his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor,” Washington’s proclamation begins, then encourages Americans to pray in their churches and homes on the designated day …

John Adams, the second president, made two: in 1798 and 1799. He asked for a day of:

solemn humiliation, fasting, and prayer.

From James Madison — the fourth president — onwards, every president proclaimed that at least one day be a National Day of Prayer.

This was not a rare occurrence.

In 1863, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed March 30 to be a:

Day of National Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer.

He announced:

Whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men to owe their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord; I do hereby request all the people to abstain on that day from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite at their several places of public worship and their respective homes in keeping the day holy to the Lord and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion.

The proclamations of national days of prayer continued until 1952.

In 1952, President Harry S Truman’s and Congress’s intentions were good, however, instituting the first Thursday of May as the National Day of Prayer in perpetuity became a day viewed by most as a time when the president’s favourite pastors go to the White House for prayer and breakfast. It is no longer an exceptional occasion which captures most Americans’ hearts. It should, but, as the decades pass, it just looks too institutionalised.

It’s better to retain that and, when necessary, add special National Days of Prayer for specific events.

Various presidents after Truman have done so. Prior to President Trump, the last to do so was George W Bush after 9/11 in 2001.

Obama had no specially designated National Days of Prayer.

Thank goodness that President Trump is resuming the tradition.

To those who do not understand a national call to prayer, Breitbart explains:

all the Establishment Clause forbids is the government officially adopting a national religion or coercing Americans to participate in a religious activity that violates their conscience.

This is what would be unconstitutional:

ordering Americans to attend church to pray this Sunday and threatening them with federal prison if they refuse …

These National Days of Prayer are appeals:

issuing a proclamation that encourages all Americans who are willing to offer prayers that accord with their individual conscience is entirely constitutional.

The Left questioned whether Trump went to church on Sunday.

Yes, he did.

He attended St John’s Episcopal Church — the Church of the Presidents — which is in Lafayette Square, very close to the White House:

As the Trumps left after the service, the president answered a question from the press:

In case that video gets deleted, here are three tweets: first, second and third.

It was great to see tweets from others who participated in this National Day of Prayer at their own local churches:

Hurricane Harvey presented a perfect opportunity to unite the country and bring people closer to God through an officially proclaimed National Day of Prayer.

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Bible readingThe three-year Lectionary that many Catholics and Protestants hear in public worship gives us a great variety of Holy Scripture.

Yet, it doesn’t tell the whole story.

My series Forbidden Bible Verses — ones the Lectionary editors and their clergy omit — examines the passages we do not hear in church. These missing verses are also Essential Bible Verses, ones we should study with care and attention. Often, we find that they carry difficult messages and warnings.

Today’s reading is from the English Standard Version with commentary by Matthew Henry and John MacArthur.

Acts 10:1-8

Peter and Cornelius

10 At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God. 3 About the ninth hour of the day[a] he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, “Cornelius.” And he stared at him in terror and said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa and bring one Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging with one Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea.” When the angel who spoke to him had departed, he called two of his servants and a devout soldier from among those who attended him, and having related everything to them, he sent them to Joppa.

—————————————————————————————————-

We are entering another exciting chapter in Acts. This book is a tremendous documentation of the explosive expansion of the early Church.

The previous chapters recounted the countless number of Jewish converts to Christianity. We also read about the growth of the Church among the Samaritans, who were half Jew, half Gentile because they intermarried with Assyrians. St Luke, the author of Acts, then documented the conversion of the Gentiles, the first of whom is Cornelius.

Cornelius was a Roman centurion of the Italian cohort — regiment, literally ‘band’ — who was stationed in Caesarea (verse 1). John MacArthur tells us:

Josephus, I think it is, tells us that there were five cohorts stationed in Caesarea, so they had a lotta Roman soldiers in that place…Make it a little study. It’s interesting. Sometime study centurions in the New Testament. You’ll find that they always appear to be good men. In fact, Jesus had some most interesting conversations with centurions.

Matthew Henry gives us more information (emphases mine below):

We are here told that he was a great man and a good man–two characters that seldom meet, but here they did; and where they do meet they put a lustre upon each other: goodness makes greatness truly valuable, and greatness makes goodness much more serviceable. 1. Cornelius was an officer of the army, Acts 10:1. He was at present quartered in Cesarea, a strong city, lately re-edified and fortified by Herod the Great, and called Cesarea in honour of Augustus Cæsar. It lay upon the sea-shore, very convenient for the keeping up of a correspondence between Rome and its conquests in those parts. The Roman governor or proconsul ordinarily resided here, Acts 23:23,24,25:6. Here there was a band, or cohort, or regiment, of the Roman army, which probably was the governor’s life-guard, and is here called the Italian band, because, that they might be the more sure of their fidelity, they were all native Romans, or Italians. Cornelius had a command in this part of the army. His name, Cornelius was much used among the Romans, among some of the most ancient and noble families. He was an officer of considerable rank and figure, a centurion. We read of one of that rank in our Saviour’s time, of whom he gave a great commendation, Matthew 8:10.

It is also interesting that the Lord chose a centurion rather than a philosopher or, as in the case of some of the Apostles, a fisherman.

Matthew Henry explains. The first sentence is well worth remembering. The last sentence is particularly important to note, as it would appear this was a sort of judgement on the Jews for rejecting Christ:

Fishermen, unlearned and ignorant men, were the first of the Jewish converts, but not so of the Gentiles; for the world shall know that the gospel has that in it which may recommend it to men of polite learning and a liberal education, as we have reason to think this centurion was. Let not soldiers and officers of the army plead that their employment frees them from the restraints which some others are under, and, giving them an opportunity of living more at large, may excuse them if they be not religious; for here was an officer of the army that embraced Christianity, and yet was neither turned out of his place nor turned himself out. And, lastly, it was a mortification to the Jews that not only the Gentiles were taken into the church, but that the first who was taken in was an officer of the Roman army, which was to them the abomination of desolation.

Verse 2 tells us that Cornelius was a ‘devout’ man. He and his household ‘feared God’. He gave alms generously and prayed ‘continually’. He was a Gentile following Jewish beliefs and customs, although not circumcision, in his case. No doubt he followed the Jewish laws about charity and adhered to their frequent prayer schedule.

MacArthur describes the three different types of Gentiles, some of whom believed in the God of Israel. It is no accident that the words ‘feared God’ are in verse 2, because the God-fearer was one of these three types:

Now, the term feared God became a technical term for Gentiles. There were three kinds of Gentiles in the mind of a Jew. One kind was just the plain, old, run-of-the-mill Gentile. The other kind, and this is getting better on the scale, the other kind was a God-fearer quote. This was a Gentile who had been sick of his own religion, the immoralities and the idolatries of his own faith, and he was sick of the whole polytheistic thing, and he had come to the conclusion in his mind that the God of Israel was the true God. He actually began to pray to that God. He perhaps become involved in the worship in certain synagogues or temple, or the temple itself. Much like, you remember, the eunuch, chapter 8, whom Philip met. But he was…he was involved in the Jewish ethic. He believed in the ethics of the Old Testament, but he had never been circumcised. He was not then a full proselyte. He was what they called a God-fearer.

The third level of Gentile would be the proselyte who had come all the way to Judaism, actually gone through the act of circumcision, and fully identified himself with Israel and was considered to be a Jew in a spiritual sense. Now you have all three. Well, Cornelius is the guy in the middle. He’s the God-fearer. He is not a full Jew, so he is to be considered a Gentile…but he did fear God. He was sick of the immorality and the emptiness of his own religion. He had attached himself to the Jewish religion. He didn’t accept the ceremonial laws, perhaps, and the circumcision, etc., but he often attended worship, no doubt. He believed in one God and in the ethics of the Old Testament.

At the ‘ninth hour of the day’, Cornelius received a vision from an angel of the Lord (verse 3). The ninth hour of the day was three o’clock in the afternoon. It is significant, because that was the time of the ritual sacrifice in the temple. Devout Jews prayed at that time of day, and, in Acts 10:30, Cornelius said that is what he was doing.

The angel addressed Cornelius by name. Henry explains:

he called him by his name, Cornelius, to intimate the particular notice God took of him.

Not surprisingly, Cornelius was terrified and asked what the matter was (verse 4). No doubt he thought the Lord was going to reprimand him in some way. Henry tells us:

The wisest and best men have been struck with fear upon the appearance of any extra-ordinary messenger from heaven; and justly, for sinful man knows that he has no reason to expect any good tidings thence. And therefore Cornelius cries, “What is it, Lord? What is the matter?” This he speaks as one afraid of something amiss, and longing to be eased of that fear, by knowing the truth; or as one desirous to know the mind of God, and ready to comply with it, as Joshua: What saith my Lord unto his servant? And Samuel: Speak, for thy servant heareth.

The angel reassures Cornelius that his prayers and alms have ascended to God. That is from the Old Testament and one of the reasons that incense was used, the fragrant smoke being a visible symbol of prayers and sacrifices rising to God.

Henry cites Leviticus:

Cornelius prayed, and gave alms, not as the Pharisees, to be seen of men, but in sincerity, as unto God; and he is here told that they were come up for a memorial before God. They were upon record in heaven, in the book of remembrance that is written there for all that fear God, and shall be remembered to his advantage: “Thy prayers shall be answered, and thine alms recompensed.” The sacrifices under the law are said to be for a memorial. See Leviticus 2:9,16,5:12,6:15. And prayers and alms are our spiritual offerings, which God is pleased to take cognizance of, and have regard to.

Some people consider themselves Christians, yet they do not pray daily. Prayer is worship. Prayer is our active acknowledgement of God the Father and God the Son. It’s essential to the Christian life. Furthermore, God hears our prayers and blesses us accordingly.

MacArthur points out:

You know, it seems to me that as I study the Bible, great things always happen when people are in prayer. God moved on Cornelius when he was in prayer. You’re gonna see in a minute that it was Peter, when he was praying, that God moved on, as well. Prayer’s a great place to be, on your knees before God, for God to speak, and here it happens.

God moves in response to prayer. You say, “What was Cornelius praying about?” I don’t know what he was praying about, but I can take a good guess. I think he was saying, “God, I wanna know more about You. I want the fullness.” He was searching for more light and God was about to invade him with light, and here came the angel, the angelic appearance.

The angel told Cornelius to send men to Joppa and to bring Peter to his house (verse 5). Note that the angel did not tell Cornelius to go himself, but to send his men instead.

Two things are striking about this verse. The first is that there was an action to be performed in obedience to the Lord. The second is that Cornelius was not to meet Peter himself in Joppa.

MacArthur takes this further. This is really important:

God not only chooses the receiver and responds to the searching heart of the receiver and prepares the receiver, but God gives the receiver the opportunity to respond actively. Now God could’ve said through this angel, “Cornelius, all you have to do is these steps. Do you know that God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life or whatever?” And he could’ve gone through the Gospel, see. He could’ve simply gone right to the Gospel, said, “Cornelius, do you believe.” ________ “I believe.” “It’s over, Cornelius, great.” But, no, He didn’t do that.

No, you see, Paul said that we were sent to the world for the obedience of faith, Romans 1. You see, God always wants to tie with faith an act of obedience, because that’s what the Christian life is all about. You might as well learn it at the beginning. That’s why the Bible says, “If you believe in your heartRomans 10:9 and 10, and do what else?...confess with your mouth, the Lord Jesus Christ, you’ll be saved.” God wants some kind of act of obedience tied in with that salvation. So He gives to…to Cornelius the opportunity to be obedient; and isn’t it interesting that if I were Cornelius, here would’ve been my reaction. “Uh, can I go myself? Why do I have to send guys? That means they’ll go there, and they’ll get him, and he’ll have to come here, and that’s a lot of time. I wanna get there.”

I don’t read that in the text. Praise the Lord, he was obedient. He was believing God, and he was obedient. You say, “Well, why would God take this time?” I think there’s two reasons. No. 1, I think was the fact that God wanted Peter also to act on faith, ’cause Peter was gonna have to pack up and head for Cornelius’ house strictly on faith. I mean to have a bunch of Roman soldiers arrive at his door and say, “Come on, we’re taking you to a man who wants to see ya.” That’s a little scary. Roman soldiers.

Secondly, I think, in order to break the barriers down, that the Lord wanted Peter to lead Cornelius to Christ in Cornelius’ own house, which no Jew would ever enter, and so God had the plan laid out, and Cornelius didn’t hassle God. He believed and obeyed.

The angel told Cornelius that Peter was lodging at Simon the tanner’s house by the sea in Joppa (verse 6).

Last week’s entry explained the Jewish opprobrium towards tanners. Their profession was unclean, therefore, they, too were unclean. Tanning also smells, even today. Yet, Peter stayed with Simon for a long time, probably two years. From this, we see the inclusivity of Christianity, which the Apostle himself displayed.

MacArthur tells us why tanners lived by the sea:

Tanners had their house by the seaside, because they needed the salt water for the tanning processes.

After the angel left him, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier (verse 7). He explained the vision to them and sent them to Joppa (verse 8). Last week’s entry also discussed Joppa, more about which can be found at BiblePlaces.com.

MacArthur ties this vision and obedience together for us:

Cornelius is getting prepared. What have we seen in the preparation of the receiver over here? We’ve seen 1) God chose him. 2) God responded to his open heart. 3) God prepared the soil with the proper information and instruction. 4) God promises more light. “He shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.” 5) God asks for the obedience of faith. Meanwhile, He prepares the messenger, Peter, down in Joppa.

Peter’s preparation — also a vision — is the subject of next week’s post. Peter learned another great lesson in his life which further aided his powerful ministry.

Next time — Acts 10:9-16

Last week, supporters of President Donald Trump had to endure much negativity.

There were the melées in Charlottesville and Boston, the media and others on the Left denouncing him, continued calls for his removal from office and so on.

Then there are the conversations that we have with people — friends and acquaintances. For my circle, Trump isn’t sophisticated enough. One Englishman actually said to me just a few days ago:

Trump isn’t very bright. He appeals only to the unsophisticated — like people in Boise, Idaho.

He was refuted pretty quickly on that one, let me tell you.

Anyway, with all of this rubbish going on, Trump’s (previously) scheduled rally in Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 came at the perfect time.

The videos

Those interested can view everything — from supporters’ interviews to the guest speakers to Trump’s speech — below. Thank you, RSBN:

The following video from Fox 10 in Phoenix is of Trump’s one hour and seventeen minute speech:

If you have never seen a Trump rally, it’s worth watching. They’re all good — and all on YouTube.

Arizona Republicans spoke as did Alveda King, Martin Luther King’s niece who is very much pro-life.

The Rev Franklin Graham — Billy’s son — opened proceedings with a prayer. (Alveda King is on the right in black and purple.) This really is an amazing prayer on so many levels. RSBN also pans the crowd so you can see how many thousands are there:

Speaking of crowds, someone did a great time lapse video of the queue of people waiting to get in to the Phoenix Convention Center. It was a hot day, with temps over 100° F (40°+ C). People get to Trump’s evening rallies early in the morning and are outdoors all day long:

Trump tweeted that there were 15,000.

They were probably in line before Trump left Washington DC. Upon arrival in Arizona, Trump visited the US Border Protection and ICE teams in Yuma:

They told him about their daily work and the dangers they face. Trump discussed the visit in his speech.

Speech highlights

Although the teleprompter was up and running, Trump diverged from it with his trusty Sharpie-written notes and quotes. Trump is nearly always better without a teleprompter.

Trump began by thanking his supporters in Arizona and reminding them that he did his first ever rally there, during the Republican candidate debate season. He also thanked the speakers who preceded him.

He spent several minutes recapping his three statements about Charlottesville, which I covered here last week. N.B.: Although Trump did not say it, Charlottesville was a paid-for, false flag event on both sides.

Trump was amazed that the media did not mention he has ‘a home there’. It is where Trump Winery is located.

He said that the media were to blame for stirring up division in America. He said they reported only parts of stories, particularly those related to him. They take selective quotes from his statements. He wondered if the media even liked America because they seem to be so against the interests of the American people.

He did give credit to Fox News, namely Fox and Friends (morning show) and Sean Hannity (late night show). He watches both:

He also said he did not like it when the media smeared his supporters:

He also said that there was a lot of news they never cover, such as America’s failing education system and gang violence:

Between 32 and 35 minutes in, CNN and MSNBC shut off their cameras. Trump could see this, because their red camera lights went on. He mentioned it.

This is what happened at MSNBC. Notice the test pattern. (Surely, being a ‘Trash Man’ is a good thing. The trash man — dustman in the UK — removes rubbish.) Rachel Maddow wasn’t sure yet what was going on:

Trump talked about his 1m+ new jobs which would help to unify the nation and end the current division. He said that he wanted prosperity for all:

Trump went on to review his many achievements during the first seven months of his presidency, which I’ve also written about.

Although his infrastructure project has started, some CEOs from his advisory panel resigned after Charlottesville, because they did not think his statements went far enough. He disbanded the group:

He criticised Congress (and the Senate) for failing to pass legislation to repeal Obamacare. He said he had not given up and also pledged the largest tax reform ‘in 30 years’:

The tweets below are reactions from the elitist neo-con never-Trumper Bill Kristol (Trump complimented General Kelly, moved from Homeland Security to Chief of Staff) and conservative pundit, the pro-Trump Laura Ingraham:

Trump rightly had a go at local governments and universities bowing to pressure from Antifa to have Confederate and other statues of past American leaders removed. He told them not to touch those of George Washington. Removal takes place in the middle of the night, incidentally:

Around this time:

Trump spoke about renegotiating NAFTA. The first round of talks took place at the end of last week and ran through the weekend:

He signalled that he was sick and tired of the advice from outsiders:

He had a few closing soundbites, including:

Trump then concluded his speech:

Reactions

As ever, Trump pleased his supporters.

A Canadian had a righteous blast at CNN’s Jim Acosta. Thank you:

CNN responded with a programme about impeaching Trump featuring their usual leftist experts, Deep Staters and Democrats.

A New York City radio show host measured Trump’s speech by noting the Left’s hysteria. Responses mentioned the CNN feature about impeachment:

There was also this scandalous CNN commentary on black Trump supporters, including the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, retired brain surgeon Dr Ben Carson:

Terrible. Now that is racist, even if Mr Boykin is himself black. That‘s CNN, folks.

Indeed it is.

NBC’s White House reporter tweeted:

People at home were blown away:

You bet.

In closing, here’s the verdict of Trump’s longtime supporter, Pastor Mark Burns:

Amen, Pastor Burns. MAGA!

On Tuesday, July 11, 2017, after the G20 and before President Donald Trump’s trip to Paris for Bastille Day, the Trump administration met with a group of Evangelical pastors who are members of the Office of Public Liaison.

Later, they were invited into the Oval Office to meet President Trump. Among them were Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne of Revival Ministries International and his wife Adonica.

The group prayed over the president.

Pastor Howard-Browne has got to know Trump over the past year or so, and he is also well acquainted with certain American politicians.

The following day, he received shocking news from a Congressman who has been in office since 1996. The two met privately for three hours that night.

The Congressman revealed to Howard-Browne that ‘news on the Hill’ is that a bi-partisan plot to ‘immobilise’ Trump is in the making.

And, there have been rumblings in the media that this is true. Here is a video of CNN’s Wolf Blitzer interviewing John Brennan, Former Director, Central Intelligence Agency and James Clapper, Former Director of National Intelligence. The three appeared together recently at the Aspen (Colorado) Security Forum:

An accompanying article on Zero Hedge says that Brennan told Blitzer (emphases mine):

if the White House tries to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, government officials should refuse to follow the president[‘s] orders, as they would be – in his view – “inconsistent” with the duties of the executive branch …

“That Republicans, Democrats are going to see that the future of this government is at stake and something needs to be done for the good of the future,” Brennan told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer at the Aspen Security Forum, effectively calling for a coup against the president should Trump give the order to fire Mueller.

Meanwhile, Pastor Howard-Browne relayed to his congregation what the Congressman told him. You can see what he said in this clip from Infowars which also features an interview with him that aired on Wednesday, July 26:

Howard-Browne told CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network, founded by the Rev Pat Robertson) of the story but they were afraid to run with it.

Howard-Browne is originally from South Africa and became a naturalised American citizen several years ago. He believes it is his civic duty to speak out and ask for people to support Trump, especially via prayer.

Howard-Browne told Jones that if he took no action, he would feel obliged to renounce his American citizenship!

If only more Americans felt that way!

On Monday, July 24, Infowars posted an article about the pastor’s conversation with the congressman:

He said there is a plot on Capitol Hill to take the president out, I said you mean by impeachment or by indictment – he said no, to take him out, he will be removed suddenly from office,” said Howard-Browne, before adding, “you can read between the lines”.

Howard-Browne said the congressman used the word ‘immobilised’.

Also:

The Congressman, who the pastor revealed had been in office since 1996, went on to tell Howard-Browne “there’s nothing we can do to stop it.”

Howard-Browne said there is always something we can do to stop it and started a two-week prayer vigil at his church. He said there are people there praying for Trump, day and night.

He urged all Americans to pray for the president from the privacy of their own homes — and to let people know about the attempted coup.

Howard-Browne understands, that, if it occurs, this removal from office, would take place within the next several weeks, no later than September.

Pastor Howard-Browne has informed the appropriate authorities.

Let’s get praying, folks. We are not out of the woods yet. There are more battles to be fought before Trump can settle comfortably into the White House.

Over the past few weeks I have been running a series of posts on Percy Dearmer‘s 1912 volume, Everyman’s History of the Prayer Book, published by Mowbray.

These are the previous posts in the series:

Percy Dearmer on the Anglican Thirty-nine Articles of Religion

Percy Dearmer on the title page of the Book of Common Prayer

Percy Dearmer on the title page of the Book of Common Prayer – part 1

Percy Dearmer on the title page of the Book of Common Prayer – part 2

Percy Dearmer on the earliest church service manuscripts

Percy Dearmer’s interpretation of St Paul on prophecy and tongues

Percy Dearmer on elements of worship in the New Testament

Percy Dearmer: how several prayer books became one liturgical book

In Chapter 5 of his book, Dearmer outlines the importance of the Reformation and royalty on the Anglican Book of Common Prayer (BCP), which Archbishop Thomas Cranmer was instrumental in writing.

He tells us that the BCP developed over a century, from 1544 in the time of Henry VIII and concluding with Charles II in 1662. The 1662 BCP is still in use today, although, sadly, much less so than in previous decades.

The introduction of the printing press led to availability of a Bible in English. If you visit an Anglican or Episcopal church, you will see that a Bible is always open on a lectern outside of times of public worship. Dearmer explains:

The Bible was in 1536 ordered to be set up in every church, so that it might be read aloud out of service time … Thus the Lectern may remind us of the first stage in reform.

Several years later, another new item at the altar was installed, a litany-desk, equipped with a kneeler:

The Litany-desk tells of the second stage; for, though the Litany was not sung kneeling till three years after, that beautiful service itself was produced by the genius of Cranmer, and ordered to be used in 1544.

Dearmer lists the main events in the development of the BCP. Below are the major highlights (emphases and explanatory notes mine below):

1534 (Henry VIII). Convocation petitions the King for an authorized English Version of the Bible.

1535. Coverdale’s Bible.

1536. The Bible ordered to be set up in every church. New edition of the Sarum Breviary, in Latin, but with the name of the Roman Pontiff and other things omitted.

1543. The Lessons in English. A chapter of the Bible to be read after Te Deum and Magnificat.

1544. The English Litany.

1544-7. Experiments. The Rationale, or explanation of the Ceremonies to be used in the Church of England. First and Second Drafts of reformed services in Latin. Cranmer attempts a translation of the Processional.

1547 (Edward VI). August. Beginning of more radical changes by means of the Injunctions (without the authority of Convocation or Parliament) :— Book of Homilies to be read; At High Mass, Epistle and Gospel to be read in English; New form of Bidding Prayer ; and some changes in Breviary services.

November. Convocation meets (at the opening Mass, Gloria in Excelsis, Creed, and Agnus sung in English), and approves Communion in both kinds.

1548 March. The Order of the Communion, drawn up by sundry “grave and well-learned prelates,” provides for Communion in both kinds, and is to come into use at Easter by Royal proclamation. This Order consists of the following, inserted before the Communion in the Latin Service :— First Exhortation, Second Exhortation, “Ye that do truly,” the Confession, the Absolution and Comfortable Words, “We do not presume,” [which is the Prayer of Humble Access,] the Words of Administration in both kinds (first part), “The Peace of God ” (without the Blessing) [at the end], a Note that the bread is to be as heretofore (round wafers) and each wafer is to be broken for Communion, and a Note that if the Chalice is exhausted the priest is to consecrate afresh, beginning Simili modo postquam coenatum est, “Likewise after Supper,” “without any elevation or lifting up.”

Dearmer notes that congregants were so upset about these changes that preaching was forbidden in April and September 1548.

Also in that year:

May. St. Paul’s and other churches “sung all the service in English, both Mattins, Mass, and Evensong”: it therefore appears that these services of the First Prayer Book were already drafted, at least in some experimental form, the choir services being reduced to two, Mattins and Evensong.

Those who do not know much about English history will be surprised to know that Edward VI ascended to the throne in 1547, at the age of nine. He died when he was only 15.

This was a tumultuous period, given his tender age. Dearmer explains:

At the accession of the boy-King, it is clear that the whole atmosphere was changed: the power passed into the hands of the knot of men — and history shows them to have been despotic and evil menwho ruled in King Edward’s name. From this gang of robbers — who were five years later to ransack the property of the people in the guilds and parish churches, robbing the poor for the sake of the rich — Archbishop Cranmer stands apart, trying to steer his own uncertain course.

Although Cranmer did not work in isolation and had pious Anglican clergymen known as ‘divines’ helping him with the Prayer Book, he spearheaded its creation. He was also Edward VI’s foremost spiritual adviser.

In 1549, the first Prayer Book was passed into law and published for church use:

1549. January 21st. First Act of Uniformity. The First Prayer Book becomes law.

March 7. First Prayer Book printed and published.

June 9th. Date fixed by the Act for the Book to be everywhere used.

June 10th. Armed rebellions against the Act begin, especially in the West of England. The insurgents demand the old ceremonies— Holy water, Images, Ashes, Palms, etc., and the service in Latin. They are suppressed by foreign mercenaries.

Yes, people were that upset!

The following year, the liturgy was set to music — ‘noted’:

1550. The Book of Common Prayer Noted, by John Merbecke, published. This is Merbecke’s famous musical setting, which is still so largely sung.

March. The English Ordinal issued, containing the Ordering of Deacons, the Ordering of Priests, and the Consecration of Bishops. The essential parts of the Latin rite were carefully retained, but the ceremonial rather ruthlessly cut down.

1549 – 1551. The Foreign Reformers (Bucer, Peter Martyr, etc.) criticize the First Prayer Book.

1551. Third Edition of Old Version of metrical psalms, seven psalms by Hopkins being added to Sternhold’s.

Dearmer does not say why the Reformers on the Continent disliked the First Prayer Book. However, one thing can be said: the Anglican Book of Common Prayer is like no other in its beauty and biblical faithfulness. It is an enduring pleasure from which to pray in church and to read privately at home.

Next time: the unique character of the first Prayer Book

This post continues a series about Percy Dearmer‘s 1912 volume, Everyman’s History of the Prayer Book, published by Mowbray.

These are the previous posts in the series:

Percy Dearmer on the Anglican Thirty-nine Articles of Religion

Percy Dearmer on the title page of the Book of Common Prayer

Percy Dearmer on the title page of the Book of Common Prayer – part 1

Percy Dearmer on the title page of the Book of Common Prayer – part 2

In Chapter 4 of his book, Dearmer discusses the development of service books for public worship.

There is a lot of material to cover, so today’s post will look at what he wrote about the earliest Christian worship, from the time of the Apostles to the 2nd century AD. Emphases mine below.

The earliest Church services were:

unfixed in character … and largely extemporary.

Once services became more fixed, they were written down. That said, there were no prayer books like the ones we have today. What was written were likely to be short formularies, which were important to say or to pray during worship. Unfortunately, only a few have survived:

None of the very earliest books (so far as we yet know) have survived; for one thing, as must always be remembered, the last great Persecution of the Christians by the Emperor Diocletian (303) included a systematic destruction of Christian literature ; but an early book by Serapion, Bishop of Thmuis, in Egypt … of about the year 350, was discovered at Mount Athos in 1894, and it is quite possible that scholars may discover something yet earlier. Little service books, or liturgical notes, may have been written in the md [first?] century, or even in the time of the Apostles; for it is probable that there were some fixed formulas in the earliest services, and sentences which look like quotations of these exist in the Epistle of St. Clement (c. A.D. 96), and in the 2nd century Didachè.

I wrote about the Didache in 2009. It included more on Christian practice for non-Jewish peoples who were converting. For example, abortion was unknown in Jewish society at that time but was common among the ancient Greeks. Abortion was not part of Scripture because it was unknown to the Jews. The Didache covers social practices that were not part of Scripture but practised by non-Jewish converts.

It is possible that some books of the New Testament, outside of the Gospels, contain verses that were part of the earliest public worship:

A baptismal creed is given in Acts viii. 37, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God”: it is only in some of the texts, and may also belong to the 2nd century. Many scholars think that some verses from St. Paul are really liturgical formulas, e.g. “Wherefore he saith, Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (Eph. v. 14); and “He who was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (1 Tim. iii. 16), which latter looks very like a quotation from what came to be called the Anaphora or Canon of the Eucharist, and may have been part of the words which St. Paul used himself when he celebrated, just as “The grace of our Lord,” in 2 Cor. xiii. 14, was perhaps a form of blessing which he was in the habit of using.

Verses from the Book of Revelation were used in early Christian hymns:

The reader will find it interesting to look these out for himself— Rev. iv. 8-11, v. 9, 10, 12, 13, vii. 12, xi. 17, xii. 10-12, xv. 3-4, xix. 1, 6-7, 2 Tim. ii. 11 – 13; and, besides Eph. v. 4, perhaps i. 3 – 14, and the prayer in Acts iv. 24-30.

Below is Revelation 4:8-11. I’ve highlighted the relevant verses, which are part of a hymn sung today — although it is much more recent than the early Church — Holy, Holy, Holy, which dates from 1826:

And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,

Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
    who was and is and is to come!”

And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
    to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
    and by your will they existed and were created.”

The Gospels had their part to play in providing content for canticles, which are generally sung, and the Gloria:

There are also the great Canticles given us by St. Luke in the first two chapters of his Gospel— Magnificat, Benedictus, Gloria in Excelsis, and Nunc Dimittis

Anglicans still use canticles in traditional services, such as Morning Prayer.

Next time: how worship developed in the Apostolic Age

This post continues the series on Percy Dearmer and his 1912 volume, Everyman’s History of the Prayer Book, published by Mowbray.

It concerns the 1662 Book of Common Prayer (BCP) used in the Church of England.

My first post was on the value of liturgical prayer and the second was about the Anglican Thirty-nine Articles of Religion.

The third discussed how Anglican theology influenced the wording on the title page of the BCP.

This post explains more about the title page of the BCP, from Chapter 3 of Dearmer’s book. Excerpts and a summary follow, emphases mine below.

Dearmer breaks the BCP into five parts, or books:

(1) The Book of Common Prayer
(2) And Administration of the Sacraments,
(3) And other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church according to the use of the Church of England
(4) Together with the Psalter or Psalms of David pointed as they are to be sung or said in Churches
(5) And the Form and Manner of Making, Ordaining, and Consecrating of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons.

He describes the first book as being one of choir services:

Book 1. THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER. The “Common Prayer” is the name for those services which are conducted in the choir, (10) Morning Prayer and (11) Evening Prayer, which are therefore called choir services. There were formerly eight such services (see p. 150), and together they are called the Divine Service. Common Prayer also includes (13) The Litany, which is a service of Intercession after Morning Prayer, preparatory to the Holy Communion.

N.B.: Dearmer uses Mattins for Morning Prayer and Evensong for Evening Prayer below.

The second book concerns the sacraments. He explains how two — Baptism and Holy Communion — were decided upon:

Book 2. ADMINISTRATION OF THE SACRAMENTS.(16) Holy Communion at the holy Table or altar, and (17, 18) Baptism, at the font. In these Sacraments— outward signs bringing an inward gracesomething is done: at the altar Christians are fed with the spiritual Body of their Master; at the font non-Christians are admitted into the Catholic or Universal Church. There are other outward signs in which something is done, as Confirmation, Matrimony, and Orders (the Ordination of Ministers); but there was much disputing at the time when the Prayer Book was produced as to the number of the Sacraments, and the English Church therefore contented herself with laying stress on the two great Sacraments of the Gospel, Baptism and Holy Communion, leaving the “five commonly called Sacraments, that is to say, Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and extreme Unction,” in a separate category. There can be little doubt that this was the wisest way of settling an unhappy dispute; and it leaves us free either to include the “lesser Sacraments,” as they are sometimes called, under this head or to class some or all of them among the other Rites of the Church. (See pp. 45, 47.)

A selection of prayers for special occasions follows.

Then comes the section of Scripture readings. That section precedes the rite for Holy Communion:

The Collects, Epistles, and Gospels to be used at the Ministration of the holy Communion, throughout the year,” as they are described in the Table of Contents; the Collects, however, are used also at Mattins and Evensong.

Those readings are the ones which were traditionally used in the earliest Christian denominations until the two- and three-year Lectionaries came into widespread use in the 1970s. It is rare for the celebrant to read them now.

Following the rite for Communion are those for the lesser sacraments and other rites. Note that a small catechism is included, which precedes the liturgy for Confirmation:

Book 3. OTHER RITES AND CEREMONIES OF THE CHURCH. It will be noticed that both the Gospel Sacraments and the “other” Rites, are described as “of the Church,” services, that is to say, not of the Anglican Communion only, but of the whole Church; though their ritual (i.e. the manner of saying) and their ceremonial (i.e. the manner of doing) are according to the English Use. Furthermore, the Title-page does not say “All other Rites”; there are some which are not in the Prayer Book (pp. 47-52), such as the Coronation Service, or the Form for the Consecration of a Church, which are used under episcopal sanction.

These Rites consist of certain of the “five commonly called Sacraments,” namely (20) Confirmation, to which is prefixed (19) the Catechism, which is the preparation for Confirmation, and was only separated from it at the last Revision ; (21) the Solemnization of Matrimony; and (22) the Visitation and Communion of the Sick. Those who, like our brethren of the Eastern Orthodox Church to-day, look for seven Sacraments, will find on p. 45 how two of the lesser Sacraments come under this head, while the seventh is given in Book 5, the Ordinal.

Then follow other Rites, (23) the Order for the Burial of the Dead, (24) the Churching, or Thanksgiving of Women after Child-birth, and (25) the Ash Wednesday service called A Commination.

I wrote about the significance of the Churching of Women a few years ago. The ceremony disappeared in the 20th century because modern women disliked the idea of supplication and spiritual purification. A new ceremony replaced it: Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child.

Sadly, people complaining about the Churching of Women overlooked the general tenor of the rite which is largely a joyful one, giving thanks for the mother’s health and her return to the congregation.

Back now to Dearmer. After the other rites comes the Psalter:

Book 4. THE PSALTER. The complete Book of the Psalms (26) which form the most essential part of Mattins and Evensong; they are arranged to be “read through once every month,” by grouping them under Morning and Evening Prayer for thirty days.

Two more rites follow. They are for special circumstances:

At the last Revision (1661) two sets of services were added— the Order of Baptism for those of Riper Years (18), and the Forms of Prayer to be used at Sea (27). The latter were inserted after the Psalter: it was doubtless felt that these sea services could not in the main be classed under “Other Rites,” and would be too prominent if printed after Mattins and Evensong. None the less their present position is a strange one, since they cannot be classed under Book 4 or Book 5. It would be better, perhaps, if they were printed among the Appendixes at the end.

Regarding the Order of Baptism for those of Riper Years, it now comes after the Order of Baptism both Publick and Private. Three amendments were made to the BCP: in 1964, 1965 and 1968, one of which no doubt accounts for the move.

The fifth book concerns ordination services:

Book5. THE ORDINAL (28) consists of three services, which were originally printed as a separate book, and published after the First Prayer Book was issued. These still have a Title-page (or half-page) of their own, in which they are described with definiteness and solemnity as ” The Form and Manner of Making, Ordaining, and Consecrating of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons according to the Order of the Church of England.”

I’m learning a lot from reading Dearmer’s book and hope that my fellow Anglicans are, too.

Next time — after Easter — we’ll look at Chapter 4, concerning the wider Church history of liturgy and prayer books for public worship.

The other day, I ran across an old link to Percy Dearmer‘s Everyman’s History of the Prayer Book, first published by Mowbray in 1912.

Percy Dearmer was an Anglican priest who lived between 1867 and 1936. He was a High Church Anglican, although one who championed the English Use rite used before the Reformation over Roman Catholic rubrics.

Dearmer was an avowed Socialist (unfortunately). That said, he served in various London parish churches and wrote several books about the Book of Common Prayer, liturgy as well as a history of King Alfred and a travel book about Normandy. In later years, he was a canon at Westminster Abbey, where his ashes are interred.

Dearmer was also a lecturer in ecclesiastical art at King’s College, London from 1919 until his death at the age of 69.

He was also interested in composing and compiling hymns. He and Ralph Vaughan Williams published The English Hymnal in 1906. Two more hymnals followed: Songs of Praise in 1926 and the Oxford Book of Carols in 1928.

Incidentally, when Songs of Praise was expanded in 1931, Dearmer wanted a hymn of daily thanksgiving, which is how Morning Has Broken (made famous 40 years later by Cat Stevens) first became known:

In Songs of Praise Discussed, the editor, Percy Dearmer, explains that as there was need for a hymn to give thanks for each day, English poet and children’s author Eleanor Farjeon had been “asked to make a poem to fit the lovely Scottish tune”. A slight variation on the original hymn, also written by Eleanor Farjeon, can be found in the form of a poem contributed to the anthology Children’s Bells, under Farjeon’s new title, “A Morning Song (For the First Day of Spring)”, published by Oxford University Press in 1957. The song is noted in 9/4 time but with a 3/4 feel.

“Bunessan” had been found in L. McBean’s Songs and Hymns of the Gael, published in 1900.[3] Before Farjeon’s words, the tune was used as a Christmas carol, which began “Child in the manger, Infant of Mary”, translated from the Scottish Gaelic lyrics written by Mary MacDonald. The English-language Roman Catholic hymnal also uses the tune for the James Quinn hymns “Christ Be Beside Me” and “This Day God Gives Me”, both of which were adapted from the traditional Irish hymn St. Patrick’s Breastplate. Another Christian hymn “Baptized In Water” borrows the tune.

Dearmer, his wife Mabel and their two sons all served in the Great War. Dearmer and his wife were stationed in Serbia where he was a chaplain to a British Red Cross Ambulance unit. Mabel served as a nurse with that unit and died of enteric fever in 1915. Their younger son Christopher died in battle that year. However, their elder son, Geoffrey, survived and died at the age of 103, and, at that age, was one of the oldest surviving war poets.

Dearmer remarried in 1916. He and his wife Nancy had three children: two daughters and a son. Sadly, their son died in active service with the RAF in 1943.

The reason Dearmer’s book Everyman’s History of the Prayer Book caught my eye is that the second chapter is called ‘The Question of Set Forms of Prayer’.

One of my personal bugbears is going to a traditional liturgical service and hear a priest substitute his own improvised prayers for the special intentions which precede the prayer of consecration. If he (or she) simply prayed them out of the Prayer Book, he would find that all his prayer needs were satisfied outside of names of national leaders or the sick and dying.

Their waffling — ‘uhh, mmm’ — and their poor prose has me praying for patience and calm just as we are about to reach the apex of the service with Holy Communion.

This is what Dearmer had to say about that and also dispensing with set prayers altogether. Remember, he wrote this in 1912, so this is somewhat surprising (emphases mine):

It is worth while, therefore, asking ourselves at the outset, Is liturgical worship a good thing, or ought the minister to make up his own prayers?

Now, there is very much to be said for extemporaneous worship in church; it is often a most useful instrument in mission work, it is an indispensable way of bringing the idea of worship to the ignorant, it secures the necessary element of freedom; furthermore, it may bring spontaneity and vitality into a service, and be a good corrective to formalism …

Nor is there anything alien to Church ways or wrong in principle about extempore services. Indeed in the earliest days of the Church the celebrant at the Eucharist used to pray thus. The service went on certain general lines, but the “president” filled it in according to his own ideas, and offered up “prayers and thanksgivings with all his strength,” the people saying “Amen” (as is told on p. 185). it was only by degrees that the prayers thus offered became fixed. Those, therefore, who argue that everything which was not done in the first two or three centuries must therefore be wrong, should logically include liturgical worship among the things they condemn. But perhaps sensible people in the 20th century no longer argue thus.

Well, often, that was because the celebrant could not read very well. Also, parchment was highly expensive and there were no printing presses until much later, in 1439.

Dearmer then mentions John Milton, an irregular churchgoer. Milton was all for extemporaneous prayer. Dearmer points out:

Milton’s mistake, was, in fact, a very simple one. He thought that every minister, would be a Milton. He did not realize what a deadly thing average custom can be, what a deadly bore an average man can make of himself when compelled to do continually a thing for which he has no natural gift. He did not foresee the insidious danger of unreality and cant. We should all, of course, flock to hear Milton praying extempore, if he were to come to life again ; but there are many mute, inglorious ministers whom we would rather not hear.

To put the prayers as well as the sermon in the hands of the officiating minister is indeed a form of sacerdotalism which the Church most wisely rejected many centuries ago. We know what a joy and help it would be to hear an inspired saint, with a genius for rapid prose composition, make up prayers as he went along; and opportunities for extemporization do exist outside the appointed services. But the Church has to provide for the average man, and has to guard against that form of clerical absolutism which would put a congregation at the mercy of the idiosyncrasies and shortcomings of one person. For extempore services, which should be a safeguard for freedom, can easily degenerate into a tyranny.

Indeed!

Before defending a set liturgy, Dearmer points out the importance of a sensory church service, one which will escape people who worship in plainly:

history and a wide knowledge of Christendom show us that good ceremonies are a great preservative against Pharisaism. The reason for this is that action, music, colour, form, sight, scent, and sound appeal more freely to the individual worshipper, and more subtly, relieving the pressure of a rigid phraseology, and allowing the spirit many ways of rising up to God, unhampered by the accent of the workaday voice of man. It is only thus that the wonderful intensity of devotion among the Russian people, for instance, can be accounted for: we have no popular religious affection in the West which can compare with the evangelical spirit of this hundred million of Christians, who yet have used nothing but their very ancient forms of prayer during the thousand years since their race was first converted.

Precisely. This is what old school churchgoers refer to as the mysterium tremendum, which is very rare in our time.

Although he allows for some extemporaneous prayer, Dearmer concludes:

we may be confident that liturgical worship is the best of all. There is some loss in the use of printed words; but there is a greater gain. We have in them the accumulated wisdom and beauty of the Christian Church, the garnered excellence of the saints. We are by them released from the accidents of time and place. Above all we are preserved against the worst dangers of selfishness: in the common prayer we join together in a great fellowship that is as wide as the world; and we are guided, not by the limited notions of our own priest, nor by the narrow impulses of our own desires, but by the mighty voice that rises from the general heart of Christendom.

Our Lord had the ancient forms of the Church in which he lived often on his lips, and in the moment of his supreme agony it was a liturgical sentence, a fragment of the familiar service, that was wrung from him— “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” We have a richer heritage, for it is a heritage dowered by his Spirit; and from our treasure-house come things new and old …

… there is a place and a real use for extemporary prayer, and a still greater use for the silent prayer which is above words altogether. These very things will keep fresh and sweet for us those old set forms, in which we can join so well because we know beforehand what they are about, and in which for the same reason all the people can come together in the fellowship of common prayer.

My advice — and my hope — for clergy improvising their own prayers is to sit down and write out the text in full, revising and perfecting it for however long it takes.

I was a member for several years of a large Episcopal church which had perfect prayers. The curates wrote them themselves or read them from books by other ministers. They were beautiful prayers, worthy of God. The congregation also listened and silently prayed intently. You could hear a pin drop.

Here in the UK, things are different. I blame it on the seminaries. However, if they feel it so necessary to express themselves, Anglican priests should take up the challenge to have an outstanding set of prayers of their own that fit with the language being used in the liturgy.

Jesus is our friend, but let us not forget the many Bible verses about our rightful awe we owe to Almighty God. This is the second part of Ecclesiastes 12:13 (ESV):

Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.

Yesterday’s post concerned Melania Trump’s opening her husband’s February 18 rally in Melbourne, Florida with the Lord’s Prayer.

The following day, The_Donald — a welcoming forum for Trump supporters and ex-leftists — featured a long thread about the first lady’s call to prayer.

Most of The_Donald’s readers are Millennials and gamers. They also do not mince words. Sometimes their language is salty. Therefore, it was heartening to read their support of prayer.

Selected comments follow, demonstrating that perhaps the United States is returning to the Lord. And, as others know, where the US goes, the rest of the world often follows. Emphases mine below.

FullMetalSquirrel: Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Ephesians 6:13

KrakNup (replied): It’s hard to believe that we can converse and post passages like this without being totally shut down. It’s been too many years since that was so.

GCMythix (further reply): Exactly, it’s amazing how this community is so open to all types of people. This is the first place on the internet I haven’t been completely disregarded for my faith. I’ve been made fun of and discredited just because of my beliefs and I’m so glad that we can come together as a nation. I’m glad atheists and Christians and those from every belief get along so well here🙂 

An atheist chimed in:

Neo8Aeon (excerpted): I’m an atheist, spent much of 2 years ago explaining why atheism is better online and on forums, watched and read Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris and others and preached the message of rationality and science over all …

I love science and I’m still an atheist to the core, but I’m not of the anti Christian sect any more. I love what the Christian culture and values did in the America of my childhood. But for a few, highly over-publicized cases, the Christianity I’ve known has always been hate the sin, love the sinner, and we are all sinners, all worth loving.

Right now if the USA again moved toward prayer in schools, toward people who quoted the bible reverently, with malice toward none but charity for all I’d be on board for that. So I’ve become a pro-Christian atheist.

God Bless the USA!

Melania’s popularity went up with the act of prayer:

cequiceracera: I thought she seemed a little nervous, but was so glad she took the stage. I hope we hear more from her in the future!

Perhelion (reply): I think she will get used to it as she takes on more speaking roles as FLOTUS. But again, starting with the Lord’s Prayer won massive points with me. She may as well have walked on water today. That’s how highly I think of her now.

Another reader reminded the Left of America’s origins:

GoneGalt13: Reminder for triggering leftists: our official national motto is IN GOD WE TRUST. Also, for what it’s worth E Pluribus Unum refers to STATES. Out of many states, one country.

Some criticised the first lady’s detractors:

StillTraveling: Everyone on twitter talking about how she had to read it off a card

They are retarded. English is not her first language. I’m sure she prays in her first language; therefore, it is to be expected that she would utilize the written English prayer to help her along.

ZippyTheChicken (reply): when you are not off the cuff like donald its always best to read off a card.. can you imagine if she missed a word the left would say horrible things.

the fact is … she said it.. and I have never heard anyone else in politics say it

FullMetalSquirrel (further reply): It is easy to get a prayer wrong though. I do this all the time in my head and have to start over. So stupid and mean.

I’ve gotta say, they will answer for mocking her for praying and it will be to the Lord himself.

From someone who was at the rally:

FL_MEGA_MAGA: I was there, it was awesome. DEUS VULT!

And from someone who wasn’t:

speaksdinosaur: I found myself doing the Sign of the Cross. Old habits die hard even if you’re not religious.

Amen!

More positive comments followed:

Sleek_Bones: Finally, a president[ial] couple that worships the one and only.

locploc: It was a fantastic surprise. Very heart-warming.

dparks2010: For anyone who missed it – here’s a video which starts with Melania’s intro:

What a gorgeous and classy woman. I’m proud to have her as my First Lady.

ManOfTheInBetween: When was the last time you heard a Presidential family say something like this in public? Whether you believe or not we call all agree that the values of Christianity are valuable and benefited western culture. God Bless the USA!

Indeed.

In closing, some were inspired to seek a broader application in a time of growing unbelief:

FullMetalSquirrel: I am seriously thinking of starting a list of names of people here who say this or that they’re atheists and praying for them once a week at least.

My hope is always that people will find God and to do so in a way that doesn’t involve something painful or heart breaking.

ZippyTheChicken (reply, excerpted): you know I was thinking about that the other night .. the thing is everyone who says they are an atheist has all ready been told the good word and they intentionally reject the idea that God can exist.

Now I understand that they might not believe the bible and every word of it as hard core science .. that might be understandable.. some believers are exacting in their belief of every single word and there could be people that say that can’t actually be true.. well whatever .. let’s get past that …

But to reject God as a possibility? …

If you look at the atom it has very similar properties to a solar system.. there is the nucleus and orbiting planets which could be considered protons and then moons that represent electrons and then there are comets and asteroids that are similar to quarks …

The atom is infinitely small and the universe is infinitely large

you look into an atom and you find a quark.. well that quark can be divided..

you look at our solar system and you understand it is nothing in comparison to the milky way and then the milky way to the universe.

It’s just astounding .. and we believe that God said Let There Be Light….

I have 4 years of organic chemistry and many more of other sciences… I have been educated in engineering and taught it…. I have lectured at a half dozen Ivy League Schools to professors not students and I have known many people who are held up as the most brilliant in our society only to see that they are fricken idiots in some cases.

If someone uses science as a basis to reject God then they are an uneducated idiot.

If they follow the garbage that comes out of the mouth of someone like Bill Nye who was a failed Boeing Engineer that had a kids show on public access cable that was launched into a career because someone had to fill that spot of being the science guy… and he has no real scientific accomplishments of his own worth noting…

I mean its so exasperating and depressing to see someone reject God intentionally and then use Science or anything else as the basis to say God does not exist

Accepting God is not Going to Church
its how you live your life

and Life is short.. 100 years or so at the most we get…
It is a job interview for Eternity

Eternity that is as vast and larger than the universe..

An eternity where you will find peace

God didn’t screw this world up People did

I deeply wish people would understand that God is real and that maybe God would show himself in their lives ..

But God Exists whether we believe or not
He was there before we were born and will be there for eternity

I say just do your best .. and only you know if you are doing your best.

And if you make a mistake or give into temptation .. ask for forgiveness and then try again to do your best.

It is evident that Melania Trump’s public recitation of the Lord’s Prayer last Saturday has inspired many people who normally would not discuss Christianity so openly. It has provoked useful and inspiring conversation.

It is also apparent that the Lord was working through her in that rally. Contrary to what a substantial minority of Americans think, the Lord is also working through her husband in leading the United States — and possibly other places in the world — to a more righteous and just future for all.

The Left are in disarray. I am not the first person to say that they are akin to a vicious animal that finds itself cornered. It will attack for survival. In the end, it will be subdued.

Right now, the president sees the lashing out.

In the end, he will overcome it.

However, that is a perilous task, one that 99% would not be able to accomplish. It demands physical resilience and mental strength.

Donald Trump needs the prayers of the faithful right now. The high echelon of the intelligence community opposes him. One of them said in an interview last week that Trump ‘better watch his mouth’. Some Democrats want the president to undergo a psychological examination. Another faction wants the government — elected by the people — to be declared illegitimate.

These are very dangerous times. The media aid and abet Democrats and the GOP establishment, both of which have much to hide. The media have their sins, too.

Ultimately, Donald Trump’s enemies fear he and his men will expose their heinous sins and crimes not only to Americans but also to the world.

This is why it is so important to pray that God protects Trump, his administration and their families. The truth must come out — and a thorough cleansing must take place.

President Donald Trump held a rally on Saturday, February 18, 2017, early in the evening at the AeroMod hangar in Melbourne, Florida.

In a welcome move, First Lady Melania Trump introduced the rally with the Lord’s Prayer:

Big Media criticised the first lady for reading the prayer instead of reciting it from memory. What if she is accustomed to praying in Slovenian?

It must be difficult for her right now. She is holed up in Trump Tower most days and doesn’t even take ten-year-old Barron to school anymore because the Secret Service would have to lay on a big motorcade. It is easier on New Yorkers if the Secret Service do the school run every day. The first lady does not wish to be a burden on her fellow citizens.

It must also be heart-wrenching for her to watch or read Big Media every day. Nearly every news item is an attack on her husband. She is no doubt also worried about those in government in Washington DC. Who is supporting him? Who is betraying him?

Therefore, it seems a natural choice that she would begin with the Lord’s Prayer, one that every Christian knows and can be prayed together.

I like the Revd Franklin Graham’s take below (Image credit: The Conservative Treehouse):

https://theconservativetreehouse.files.wordpress.com/2017/02/melania-melbourne-13.jpg?w=476&h=338

After praying, the first lady gave a brief message about her role, which will involve supporting initiatives for women and children:

Those personal attacks come from the Left. Although she is a legal immigrant, they have no time for her.

Now for a few words about the rally. Those who do not understand Trump will wonder what the point is if he is already president. However, Trump enjoys being with the American people and always has done. Last July at the Republican National Convention, Franklin Graham described him as a ‘blue collar billionaire’. That describes him to a T!

Trump’s Deplorables also miss the rallies, so they welcome any occasion to see him speak to them in person.

The queue at the airport in Melbourne began forming early Saturday morning. The Conservative Treehouse (CTH) has a great report with pictures (emphasis in the original):

The crowd began as early as 5am this morning, and the line was building throughout the day.  At approximately 1:00pm the massive line is well over 3 miles long and consists of thousands upon thousands of Trump Supporters.  The event starts at 5:00pm

HOLY CATS !!  The line of people is so long, it is now actually “lapping” around (meaning completely encircling ) the entire airport property boundary.  It’s insane !

Another report from CTH has an RSBN video which features interviews with Trump supporters — and this comment:

There are massive crowds of people in attendance – not quite sure how the airport is going to fit them all in.

Here is a tweet of RSBN’s Margaret Howell (ex-Infowars) interviewing a Deplorable:

Approximately 9,000 people attended, according to Melbourne Police. Of course, this number did not go unnoticed by The Hill:

This rally was set up only a few days ago. Last September’s — before the election — was on Trump’s website for several days in advance. The Hill reports that 15,000 tried to get in to that one, but ‘some’ people were turned away (fire regulations). Remember that Hillary Clinton never attracted more than a few hundred people when she appeared. Her campaign sometimes had to bus people in to attend (e.g. Temple University).

Whatever the case with Trump’s numbers, it does not matter. Nine thousand people is huge. Matt Drudge hit the nail on the head:

The Trumps arrived on Air Force One:

The first lady looked resplendent in red:

CTH has close-up shots of the couple, particularly Melania.

Trump spoke about the media and their fake news. He said that Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln also had problems with press coverage during their time in office. He said that he inherited a ‘real mess’ but that the White House is running ‘so smoothly’. He reassured the audience that a replacement for Obamacare was on its way. He explained how the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the suspension of his Executive Order seeking to stop immigration from seven countries for a 90-day preiod. He also warned about social breakdown that occurred with uncontrolled immigration in Europe. He spoke about his efforts in the past three weeks to create tens of thousands of new jobs for Americans.

The biggest point of the evening came when he introduced top Deplorable Gene Huber, first in line for the rally. He was interviewed by CNN and Fox News afterwards. More about him in another post, as I am waiting to see if Big Media treat him as badly as they did Joe the Plumber in 2008. May God bless Mr Huber and give him strength in the days ahead.

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