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Intention And Setting





The same words may serve for Praise and for Prayer. The plainest
meaning of "Hallowed be Thy Name" is Praise to God. But it may be also
a Prayer to Him to cause His Name to be hallowed. If we have no reason
to the contrary, we shall use the Lord's Prayer as an act of Praise and
Prayer--Praise in its first three petitions, Prayer in its last four.
If, however, we want to ask Him to cause His Name to be hallowed and
His Kingdom to come and His Will to be done, we can turn it all into a
prayer.

This direction of our minds into a certain channel is called
'Intention'.

We have already said that Unity of Intention is the essence of
congregational worship. Hence the Intention must be the same in all
the worshippers if they use words suitable for both Praise and Prayer.
If one is saying "Hallowed be Thy Name" and thinking chiefly of God's
holiness, his Intention will be different from that of a neighbour who
is thinking chiefly of the wickedness of sin. We need some agreement,
that our intention may be the same.

This agreement might have been left to the knowledge of those who take
part in the Service. They might have been expected to learn what the
intention is, at each place when the Lord's Prayer is said. Or it
might {16} have been stated in a Rubric, or direction, at the head of
the Prayer. Neither of these methods is adopted in the Book of Common
Prayer. Instead of them, the Prayer itself is so arranged as to
proclaim the Intention.

When it is to be used for Praise, the words "for thine is the kingdom,
the power, and the glory, for ever and ever" are placed at the end:
when it is to be used for Prayer, the Lesser Litany "Lord have mercy
upon us, Christ have mercy upon us, Lord have mercy upon us" is placed
at the beginning.

It is convenient to call this the 'setting'.

When the Lord's Prayer is 'set' for Praise, every petition in it is to
be said with that intention. We shall then unite in praising God for
the glory of His holy Name, the majesty of His Kingdom, the power of
His Will, and also as the Giver, the Forgiver, the Leader and
Deliverer. The thought of our weaknesses will be as much as possible
left out, that we may rejoice in the perfections of God.

In like manner, when the Lord's Prayer is 'set' for Prayer, the thought
of human wants will be present in every petition. We have great need
to pray that God will cause His Name to be hallowed, His Kingdom to
come, and His Will to be done, on earth as in heaven, as well as to ask
Him for the necessaries of life, the forgiveness of sins, guidance, and
deliverance from evil.





Next: The Key-note Of Prayer And Praise

Previous: Praise And Prayer



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