Monday, August 13, 2007

Prayer and Fasting for the Archbishop of Canterbury - UPDATED

Northern Plains Anglicans encourages you to pray and fast for Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, especially on the following Wednesdays: August 15, 22, 29; September 5, 12, 19. He will travel to New Orleans to meet with the Episcopal Church (TEC) House of Bishops (HOB), beginning September 21.

Archbishop Williams, along with other representatives of the Anglican Communion, will make a special visit in one last effort to maintain unity in the worldwide Anglican Communion. The meeting places terrible weight on his shoulders, and he will need God's help.

If there is no serious HOB response to previous Anglican statements, there is likely to be serious fracture, involving not only TEC but various provinces around the world. Those who define the church by the Good News of Christ crucified, and who accept the authority of the Holy Bible, will likely be divided from those who define the church as a kind of club membership and who take their highest authority from bylaws and bureaucracy. The Archbishop has tried to encourage movement toward a Covenant of core beliefes, but progress is slow and patience is wearing out around the Communion. Many are looking to him for more decisive leadership and discipline. The pressure of his Office is tremendous.

Fasting can be any degree of abstention from food, drink or anything pleasurable for all or part of a day. Offer the loss or discomfort to God with special intention for the Archbishop.

Prayer can be during your own devotions, at services with others, from reminders attached to your 'fridge or mirror - anything that places you in God's presence as an intercessor for the Archbishop. Some great prayer resources are being posted at Lent & Beyond.

This week's Collect from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer is good preparation for a season of prayer:

LET thy merciful ears, O Lord, be open to the prayers of thy humble servants; and, that they may obtain their petitions, make them to ask such things as shall please thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Laocoon said...

Thanks, NPA. This is helpful and will inform our prayers.

Alice C. Linsley said...

This is a Spirit-inspired suggestion.

My priest (Orthodox) says that fasting without prayer is just a diet. The real fast is to spend so much time in focused prayer that one doesn't eat much.

Anonymous said...

Northern Plains Anglican:

Please be assured that some of us who remain committed to continued membership in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion at this time nevertheless share your conviction that we must "define the church by the Good News of Christ crucified, and . . . accept the authority of the Holy Bible."

Although I cannot begin a fast on a major holy day devoted to the Mother of God, I do accept your godly counsel to fast and pray on subsequent Wednesdays for His Grace, the Archbishop of Canterbury. May all faithful Anglicans follow your good example by keeping him in their prayers and meditations in the difficult days ahead.

Blessings to you and to all on this feast day of St. Mary the Virgin.

"O God, you have taken to yourself the blessed Virgin Mary, mother of your incarnate Son: Grant that we, who have been redeemed by his blood, may share with her the glory of your eternal kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen."



Let me second what episcopalienated wrote - you need not (in fact, should not!) fast on a Feast day. Wed., Aug. 15 was such a day of thanksgiving and joyful celebration.

So, watch your church calendar as you pray for the Archbishop! Keep up the prayers, but enjoy the Feasts as they come up.