John Wesley, Prayer, and Holiness—Part 2


I ended my last post with a question: what kind of worship model would you expect John Wesley to have prescribed for his itinerant preachers in North America?  I guess I assumed that a revivalist format would be his choice.  All prayers extemporaneous, offering, special music, sermon and altar call. But only offering and sermon made the list.  I was sort of given the image that Wesley couldn’t wait to get out from under the Church of England and it’s stifling formal worship.  It seems that he did feel constrained by the decision-making hierarchy of said church (and it could fairly be said that his passion was hard for them to enfold into church order).  But of the forms of worship Wesley says, “I love the old wine…” meaning that he valued the traditions.  That said, he did update the language at several points and trim the service down considerably.  But for the most part, what he insisted would guide worship was the Book of Common Prayer Morning and Evening Prayer services. That’s right. That Sunday night service your church used to have (and maybe still has…)? Did you know it was originally, Evening Prayer?  It takes about 30 min to pray through the list of litanies and collects, scripture lections, and thanksgivings.  Sunday morning was Morning Prayer with Order for the Administration of the Lord’s Supper every week!  Even though the Church of England only served the lay people communion a few times a year, Wesley advised a weekly Lord’s Supper! It even included the Great Thanksgiving with call and response. Kind of a mid-church Anglicanism on the wide frontier!
So now, what do you think his recommendation for daily devotion was?  Again, you might be surprised and that will have to wait for my next post!

Grace and Peace


Posted on May 18, 2011, in CotN, Spiritual Formation and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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