Tag Archives: prayer

St Francis of Assisi: Redefining discipleship


I am fascinated by Francis.

Francis of Assisi (1181/2 – 1226) was, I think, a man in many ways well ahead of his time. Being human, he was not without his oddities and peccadilloes. But he drank deeply from the sorts of spiritual wells that have more recently animated the charismatic movement.

He took monasticism to its next logical step in living what Weber would later call a “worldly asceticism”: his model of Imitatio Christi understood as a vigorous and peripatetic service to the world transformed medieval religious life. The Franciscans and Dominicans both lived it out for centuries after his death, though often in ways that would have made poor Francis’s hair curl.

He recognized with laser clarity the toxicity of wealth and the heroic measures necessary to save oneself from pride.

What a saint was Francis! Still today I am challenged every time I read of his life.

All of this I was beginning to discover in 1994, at age 31, as I moved on from both my Christian tutelage in the charismatic movement and my secular vocation in corporate communications to the full-time study of church history Continue reading

When God is silent


I am encouraged by this post over at Internet Monk on that perennial spiritual theme: how we work our way through God’s silences in our lives. I am especially encouraged by the reminder that we can expect as part of the “normal Christian life” to hear from God. This has not been part of my experience for some time, though I continue to pray.

Zinzendorf’s lecture #2–”Concerning the Simple Meaning and the Great Idea of the Lord’s Prayer”


Here is a summary and commentary on the second lecture of Nicolaus Ludwig Count von Zinzendorf, Bishop of the Church of the Moravian Brethren, from Nine Public Lectures on Important Subjects in Religion, preached in Fetter Lane Chapel in London in the Year 1746.  Translated and Edited by George W. Forell, Iowa City, University of Iowa Press, 1973.

Again, this was from early in my graduate experience, from 94-95, in Dr. Richard Lovelace’s class on the Pietist Renewal at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

The first lecture may be found here.

Lecture II–Concerning the Simple meaning and the Great Idea of the Lord’s Prayer

‘In the second lecture, I have explained the basic meaning and purpose of this prayer and what a treasure of material these few lines contain.  The English have a special interest in the text of the Lord’s Prayer, for a Pope of their own nation once sent them the finest version of this prayer ever seen.’ (xxxi) Continue reading

Zinzendorf’s lecture #1–“That the Prayer to the Father of Jesus Christ can be Prayed by No One but Children of God”


Here is a summary and commentary on the first lecture of Nicolaus Ludwig Count von Zinzendorf, Bishop of the Church of the Moravian Brethren, from Nine Public Lectures on Important Subjects in Religion, preached in Fetter Lane Chapel in London in the Year 1746.  Translated and Edited by George W. Forell, Iowa City, University of Iowa Press, 1973.

Again, this was from early in my graduate experience, from 94-95, in Dr. Richard Lovelace’s class on the Pietist Renewal at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

The second lecture may be found here.

Lecture I–That the Prayer to the Father of Jesus Christ can be Prayed by No One but Children of God

Summary from preface:  ‘In the first lecture I have told them that…much nonsense troubles religion.  The seemingly trifling matter of battology (Excessive and wearisome repetition of words in speaking or writing) in the holy prayer-form, which is on everybody’s lips (The Lord’s Prayer), is a clear proof that the advantage of the pardoned children of God over the wholly natural and dead people must still not be understood at all (even though all the creeds of the so-called Christians are full  of it).  I have pointed out who those people are who can say, ‘Abba, Father,’ those namely, whom the Holy Spirit Himself led in praying the seven petitions.’ (xxxi) Continue reading

When world leaders pray (part II): Charlemagne through Elizabeth I


To be clear, the events that triggered this pair of posted articles, and the articles themselves, emerged back in 2003. But the shelf-life of the historical material in these posts is, hopefully, still not exceeded:

When World Leaders Pray, Part II
Tony Blair’s spin-doctors worried when he recently “outed” himself as a Christian. But what impact has Christianity really had on our leaders?
Chris Armstrong

Several weeks ago, British Prime Minister Tony Blair stated he would be judged on the Iraq war by “my Maker.” This gave some of his closest advisors fits. But the record shows that some of the West’s greatest leaders have been praying people—and that this has not necessarily been a bad thing.

In the last post, we looked at the Roman emperors Constantine, Theodosius I, and Justinian I. This week, we jump forward in time to three pious European leaders: the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne, the French King Louis IX, and England’s Elizabeth I. Continue reading