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Let us pray...

"Eat... drink... this is my body... this is my blood..." Matthew 26.26f & 1 Corinthians 11.24f

Sacramental, or liturgical, prayer enjoys a mixed reputation. On the one hand are those who insist it is the only approach to God which carries the stamp of ecclesiastical approval, while others condemn it for lifeless formality, insisting instead on more intimate and spontaneous forms of address. A more generous attitude is to recognise the virtue in both: the freshness of spontaneous worship alongside the timeless embrace of the traditional liturgy.

Liturgical prayer carries us along when we do not feel like praying and/ or we cannot think how or what to pray. It invites us to pray with fellow believers and with the saints of old. Because it has been carefully conceived, it is comprehensive in its scope and elegant in its expression. Through liturgical payer we can scale the heights of theological insight, even if we do not have academic bone in our body!

Talking of bodies, liturgical prayer is surprisingly physical; especially those prayers the Bible - and that includes many of the Psalms, which are actually prayers set to music - make reference to posture, either raising hands in praise or falling to the ground in penitence. This reflects God himself who, in essence, is pure spirit yet deigned to "veil himself in flesh" in order to introduce himself in our image (as we were created in his) through Jesus. Liturgical prayer has a knack of expressing these holy mysteries which often eludes our spontaneous efforts, heartfelt and genuine though they may be. So why not avail ourselves of both, in order to magnify God, who is worthy?



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