You know, Lord, that we sometimes find life to be difficult. There is so much uncertainty; there are so many questions; there are so many setbacks; there is so much pressure to conform. At every turn we are tempted to compromise our morals, to fit in with our society, to question the standards of our faith. Forgive where we have yielded, and help us to build spiritual stamina in our ethically challenged world.The second comes from the United Methodist Hymnal and is from both the Methodist and Evangelical United Brethren churches:
Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, maker of all things, judge of all people: We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, which we from time to time most grievously have committed, by thought, word, and deed, against thy divine majesty. We do earnestly repent, and are heartily sorry for these our misdoings; the remembrance of them is grievous unto us. Have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us, most merciful Father. For thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ's sake, forgive us all that is past; and grant that we may ever hereafter serve and please thee in newness of life, to the honor and glory of thy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The first prayer may have been written by our pastor. I don't know, and it really doesn't matter who wrote it. It's crap.
I think it should be given to the church of Dr. Phil. It seems like a prayer that he would like. It's easily changed too, since we only have to replace the word Lord with Dr. Phil one time. Let's see:
You know, Dr. Phil, that we sometimes find life to be difficult. There is so much uncertainty; there are so many questions; there are so many setbacks; there is so much pressure to conform. At every turn we are tempted to compromise our morals, to fit in with our society, to question the standards of our faith. Forgive where we have yielded, and help us to build spiritual stamina in our ethically challenged world.Yes, that definitely makes more sense.
Today in Sunday school we read the story of the first Christian Pentecost. It says something about how we should speak in the language people understand. But that does not mean we shouldn't use the language of the church.
How do we learn language? What ways seem to work best? Most schools do things backwards, studying verb conjugation and sentence structure before anyone speaks the language. That's not how you learned your native language. You learned before you knew what learning even was. You heard it, day after day after day and you tried to duplicate it even when what you were saying made little sense to anyone listening, and you understood much of it before you were able to speak it clearly. Why should the church be different?
I understand that the prayer of confession from the Methodist/United Evangelical Brethren churches could be a bit daunting to a visitor who had not been raised in the church. I feel uncomfortable when people around me are speaking a language I don't understand. But the church can do things that help people to know the language. We should teach it, but we cannot teach it if instead we just quit speaking it.