Lewis on the Efficacy of Prayer

Here we have another Worship Quote of the Week on the topic of "prayer" from C. S. Lewis.

EFFICACY OF PRAYER
"Prayer is either a sheer illusion or a personal contact between embryonic, incomplete persons (ourselves) and the utterly concrete Person. Prayer in the sense of petition, asking for things, is a small part of it; confession and penitence are its threshold, adoration its sanctuary, the presence and vision and enjoyment of God its bread and wine. In it God shows Himself to us. That He answers prayer is a corollary - not necessarily the most important one - from that revelation. What He does is learned from what He is."

- C. S. Lewis, "The Efficacy of Prayer," in The World's Last Night and Other Essays, 1959.


(Open Book) Quiz on the above Lewis quote:
1. Threshold of prayer = __________
2. Sanctuary of prayer = __________
3. Bread and wine of prayer = __________
4. Where can I spend some valuable time? __________

Have a great week!


To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.

Chesterton on Desiring Less

Today's Worship Quote of the Week is a single verse and a short quote. Remember that one of the meanings of our word "worship" centers on the value or "worth" that we show for people or things or God.

DESIRING LESS
From Jesus' teaching (the Sermon on the Mount): "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." Matthew 6:24 (NIV)

And from the pen of G. K. Chesterton: "There are two ways to get enough; one is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less."


CHIP'S THOUGHTS

How does this translate into our worship life as Christians? If thoughts of material things command the greater part of our attention and energy, can we really be serving and worshiping the Master as we should? I find that as I ascribe worth and honor to our loving and sovereign God, he allows me to desire less of the distractions, less of the other gods. But the struggle for the throne continues.

Have a great week!


To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.

St. Richard of Chichester's Thirteenth Century Prayer

Today's Worship Quote of the Week is the prayer of St. Richard of Chichester. One can easily see that "Day by Day," the familiar song from the musical Godspell, is based on this ancient prayer.

A THIRTEENTH-CENTURY PRAYER
Thanks be to Thee my Lord Jesus Christ
For all the benefits which Thou hast given me;
For all the pains and insults Thou hast borne for me. 
O most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother,
May I know Thee more clearly;
Love Thee more dearly;
And follow Thee more nearly. Amen.

- St. Richard of Chichester (1197-1253), who was Bishop of Chichester from 1245 to 1253.


To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.

Dudley-Smith on the Lord of the Church

Today's Worship Quote of the Week is the middle stanza of another wonderful hymn text by Timothy Dudley-Smith. Perhaps these lines can help us focus our thoughts as we pray for God's blessing on our country and cities, communities and schools, churches and families. This hymn can be sung to the tune LONDONDERRY AIR (Danny Boy), but you have to put three notes on the word "serve" in the last line.

LORD OF THE CHURCH
Lord of the church, we seek a Father's blessing,
A true repentance and a faith restored,
A swift obedience and a new possessing,
Filled with the Holy Spirit of the Lord!
We turn to Christ from all our restless striving,
Unnumbered voices with a single prayer-
The living water for our soul's reviving,
In Christ to live, and love and serve and care.

-Timothy Dudley-Smith, from "Lord of the Church, We Pray for Our Renewing" (verse 2), 1976, as found in The Worshiping Church, Hope Publishing Company, 1991.

© 1991 Hope Publishing Company, Carol Stream, IL 60188.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.
For permission to copy or use this hymn, please contact:
Hope Publishing Company, 380 S. Main Place, Carol Stream, IL 60188
Phone:1-800-323-1049 Fax: (630) 665-3200
Email: permission@hopepublishing.com www.hopepublishing.com


To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.

Luther on A Simple Way to Pray

This Worship Quote of the Week is from a treatise that Martin Luther wrote for his barber.

A SIMPLE WAY TO PRAY, FOR MASTER PETER, THE BARBER
"Finally, mark this, that you must always make the Amen strong, never doubting that God is surely listening to you with all grace and saying yes to your prayer. Remember that you are not kneeling or standing there alone, but that all Christendom, all devout Christians are standing there with you and you with them in one unanimous, united prayer which God cannot ignore. And never leave off praying without having said or thought: There now, this prayer has been heard by God; this I know of a certainty. That is what 'Amen' means."

 - Martin Luther, from Minister’s Prayer Book, edited by John W. Doberstein, Muehlenberg Press, no date, p.443.


To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.

Augustine "Late Have I Loved You"

Today's Worship Quote Of The Week comes from the quill of St. Augustine.

LATE HAVE I LOVED YOU
"Late have I loved you, O Beauty so ancient and so new; late have I loved you! You were within me, and I was outside; and I sought you outside and in my loneliness fell upon those lovely things that you have made. You were with me, but I was not with you ... You called me and cried to me and broke open my deafness; you sent forth your beams and shone upon me and chased away my blindness; you breathed your fragrance upon me, and I drew in my breath and now I pant for you; I tasted you, and now I hunger and thirst for you; you touched me, and I burn for your peace."

- Augustine of Hippo (354-430) from Confessions, as found in Eerdman’s Book of Christian Classics: A Treasury of Christian Writings Through the Centuries, compiled by Veronica Zundel, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1985, p. 23.


CHIP'S THOUGHTS

There is something there that reminds me of the Psalm 42. Take a look! "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God..."

Pant on!
Have a great day!


To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.

Pascal on the God of the Christians

Today's WORSHIP QUOTE is from the pen of Blaise Pascal, a seventeenth century Frenchman and one of the foremost mathematicians of his time. While still in his teens he made discoveries in geometry and calculus. He worked out the theory of probability and designed the first mechanical computer. Today there is even a computer language named after him. The list of his scientific accomplishments goes on and on. Here's what this brilliant man, also a noted religious philosopher, said about the Christian's relationship to God.

THE GOD OF THE CHRISTIANS
The God of Christians is not a God who is simply the author of geometrical truths, or the order of the elements; that is the view of the pagans and the Epicureans. He is not merely a God who exercises his providence over the lives and fortunes of men, to bestow on those who worship him a long and happy life.

The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, the God of Christians is a God of love and comfort, a God who fills the soul and heart of those whom he possesses, a God who makes them conscious of their inward wretchedness, and his infinite mercy; who unites himself to their inmost soul, who fills it with humility and joy, with confidence and love, who renders them incapable of any other end than himself.

- Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), as found in Eerdman’s Book of Christian Classics: A Treasury of Christian Writings Through the Centuries, compiled by Veronica Zundel, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1985, p. 61.


CHIP'S THOUGHTS

Lord, make me aware of my wretchedness. Remind me of your infinite mercy. Fill me with humility and joy, confidence and love. Draw me to my ultimate end - yourself. Amen!

Have a great day!


To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.

Aslan as Christ the Lion

Aslan, the wonderful and terrible lion, is the "Christ" figure in C. S. Lewis' powerful allegory, The Chronicles of Narnia.

CHRIST THE LION
"Are you thirsty?" said the Lion.
"I'm DYING of thirst," said Jill.
"Then drink," said the Lion.
"May I – could I – would you mind going away while I do?" said Jill.
The Lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl. And as Jill gazed at its motionless bulk, she realized that she might as well have asked the whole mountain to move aside for her convenience.
The delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her nearly frantic.
"Will you promise not to-do anything to me, if I come?" said Jill.
"I make no promise," said the Lion.
Jill was so thirsty now that, without noticing it, she had come a step nearer.
"Do you eat girls?" she said.
"I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms," said the Lion. It didn't say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it.
"I daren't come and drink," said Jill.
"Then you will die of thirst," said the Lion.
"O dear!" said Jill, coming another step nearer. "I suppose I must go and look for another stream then."
"There is no other stream," said the Lion.

-C. S. Lewis, The Silver Chair, Macmillan Company, 1953.


CHIP'S THOUGHTS

For some reason, that dialogue reminds a bit of the conversation between Jesus and the woman at the well (John 4). I'll let you decide what the Narnia excerpt has to do with Christian worship. For hints, start with Psalm 42:1-2, John 4, and John 14:6.

Have a great week!


To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.

Dead Sea Scrolls "Angelic Litrugy"

Here's a WORSHIP QUOTE that's a little off the beaten path. These are some liturgical phrases, not a consecutive paragraph, from the manuscripts discovered at Qumran (Dead Sea Scrolls).

"Praise Him ... for in the magnificence of the praise is the glory of his kingdom ... For he is God of all who sing with knowledge forever ...

Chant:
to the powerful God with the chosen spiritual portion, so that it is a melody with the joy of God, and celebration with all the holy ones, for a wonderful song in eternal happiness ... Sing to the God who is awesome in power."

-from what scholars call "the Angelic Liturgy," mostly from Cave IV, as translated in The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated, Florentino Garcia Martinez, pp. 422-423.


CHIP'S THOUGHTS

The initial Dead Sea Scrolls discovery was in 1946-7, but in 1952 researchers found the most important discovery of all in Cave IV, a library containing some 400,000 fragments from 400 different manuscripts, one-fourth of which were biblical. I wonder what church historians will find to document the worship life of the Christian Church at the end of 2nd millennium after Christ. Will it be clear from "our" documents what was important to us - unity, diversity, instruments, voices, corporate worship, personal worship, music, text, accompaniment, harmony, celebration, contemplation, confession, knowledge of God's word, experiencing God's presence and power, etc.? 

Have a great week!


To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.

Dudley-Smith's "As Water to the Thirsty"

The scriptures are full of literary images that attempt to describe the vastness of God's love. Today's WORSHIP QUOTE OF THE WEEK is a hymn text by Timothy Dudley-Smith, a retired Bishop in the Church of England. Here we encounter some "fresh" descriptions of God's relationship with his people.

AS WATER TO THE THIRSTY

As water to the thirsty,
as beauty to the eyes,
as strength that follows weakness,
as truth instead of lies;
as songtime and springtime
and summertime to be,
   so is my Lord,
   my living Lord,
so is my Lord to me.

Like calm in place of clamour,
like peace that follows pain,
like meeting after parting,
like sunshine after rain;
like moonlight and starlight
and sunlight on the sea,
   so is my Lord,
   my living Lord,
so is my Lord to me.

As sleep that follows fever,
as gold instead of gray,
as freedom after bondage,
as sunrise to the day;
as home to the traveler
and all we long to see,
  so is my Lord,
  my living Lord,
so is my Lord to me.

-Timothy Dudley-Smith, from Lift Every Heart: Collected Hymns 1961-1983 and Some Early Poems, Hope Publishing Co., 1984.

© 1984 Hope Publishing Company, Carol Stream, IL 60188.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.
For permission to copy or use this hymn, please contact:
Hope Publishing Company, 380 S. Main Place, Carol Stream, IL 60188
Phone: 1-800-323-1049 Fax: (630) 665-3200
Email: permission@hopepublishing.com
www.hopepublishing.com


CHIP'S THOUGHTS

Timothy Dudley-Smith admits that this hymn owes something of its origin to the power of Simon and Garfunkel's classic phrase "Like a Bridge Over Troubled Water." In the life of faith, what are the similes that best depict the many facets of Christ's love and care for his people? Here's a little Wednesday morning Bible study for you. The poet provides the following scripture passages to support the images of the Lord that are used in "As Water to the Thirsty."

STANZA ONE
Psalm 63:1, Psalm 27:4, Psalm 28:7, 1 Thessalonias 1:9, Exodus. 15:2, Song of Solomon 2.

STANZA TWO
1 Kings 19:11-12, Hebrews 13:20, John 20:11-18, Revelation 1:16, Psalm 104:2.

STANZA THREE
Psalm 4:8, Matthew 17:2, Psalm 146:7, Malachi 4:2, Luke 16:11-24.

Have a great week!


To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.