An interview with Eleanor Kreider on praying with an Anabaptist voice

January 19, 2011 | Artbeat | Number 2
Herald Press |

Herald Press: What is the purpose of this book?

Kreider: The impulse behind these two volumes is to help people to pray through Scripture, and to deepen their walk of faith.

Herald Press: Some people might say that prayer, to be truly authentic, should be spontaneous—not read from a book. How do you respond to that?

Kreider: Mennonites are part of what I call a “free worship” tradition. That is, many people resist fixed forms of prayer and are suspicious of repetition. Yet many also desire prayers that are deeper and more reflective than what someone can think up on the spot. That’s where something like Take Our Moments and Our Days comes in. In this book, the lines that bid people to come to prayer and worship are all Scripture phrases. In each service there is one short prayer that is newly written, and its words evoke the themes that are already present in the Scripture readings of the service.

These prayers are not meant to be slavishly followed. We encourage people to shorten or lengthen the format. But it is important to keep the three-fold shape of praise, listening and petition with blessing. The prayer services are guides to help us praise God, hear what God is saying and respond to God’s call in our lives.

Herald Press: Can this book also be used by groups? If so, how?

Kreider: Absolutely. It is already, and we hope more will use it that way. It’s set up so that groups can begin with praise of God through Psalm prayer, personal thanksgiving and song. Songs in the first section address God with our praise and thanksgiving. Songs included in the book can be found in Hymnal: A Worship Book, Sing the Journey and Sing the Story, but people can substitute songs from other hymnals or songbooks.

What follows is a call to listen to the voice of Jesus, through readings from the gospels. It’s a way to express our desire to follow in his way. These readings stimulate reflection, praise and application to life. The service ends with a response to what has been heard, in the form of intercessory prayer for ourselves, our friends and family, our community, for the church, for the world, and for other concerns.

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