A Bidding Prayer. (composed after my recent meeting with him in Oxford)
Let us in all sincerity of spirit fervently pray for the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, the Body of Christ, dispersed throughout the world, that it may please God to confirm and strengthen it in pure faith, holy life and perfect love and to restore to it visible unity at the local and international level.
Lord in thy/your mercy…….hear our prayer (repeated after each bidding)
Let us also in sincerity of spirit and fervently pray this day for the Anglican Communion of Churches, together with other Anglicans bodies joined in fellowship and service, that all may be true to their calling and seek to know and do God’s will, and to serve and worship him acceptably.
Let us especially pray for Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in his vocation as “first among equals” amongst the bishops of the Anglican family, and in his work as the Primate of all England and bishop of the diocese of Canterbury, that he may be given all the necessary virtues and gifts of the Holy Spirit to perform and fulfill his tasks.
Let us pray for Rowan in his relation to the Queen and the British Government and for his own position and work in the House of Lords, that God will give him the wisdom and discernment to speak and act as a Christian statesman.
Let us pray for Rowan in his relation to the General Synod and House of Bishops of the Church of England, that he may provide godly, learned and appropriate guidance and leadership in the many issues and problems faced by the National Church of England today.
Let us pray for Rowan in his work as a Christian apologist via the media and as a theologian in church and academia, that he may be faithful to the faith once delivered to the saints and make this faith meaningful and attractive to people today.
Let us pray for Rowan as he acts as the “primary instrument of unity” in the Anglican Communion, that he may receive wise counsel and godly help as he seeks to relate to, and serve with, all the Primates and leaders, and as he attempts to bring all the Provinces into faithful commitment to biblical Faith and Morality and to Anglican witness as Reformed Catholics.
Let us pray for Rowan as he seeks to understand and provide guidance and help to the Provinces of Canada and the U.S.A. in this period of crisis and controversy, that he will truly represent the mind of Christ Jesus, the Head of the Church, and the heart of love of the same Lord Jesus in his ministry to them.
Let us pray for Rowan as he represents the Anglican Churches in relations to other Churches – e.g., Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Methodist, & Presbyterian – and to other religions -- Judaism and Islam -- that he will speak and act with wisdom, grace and courage.
Let us pray for Rowan as a family man that he may make and find the time to spend quality time with his wife and children, and that his family will grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord.
Let us pray for Rowan as the individual Christian believer before God the Father, that he may be sustained in union with Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit, through meditation on sacred Scripture, and the use of the daily offices, the holy Sacrament and other means of grace.
Let us pray for Rowan that he may be given sound physical, mental and social health so as to have the energy to fulfill his many roles and tasks.
Let us pray for all who work closely with Rowan at Lambeth Palace and other places, that they may provide for him excellent service, guidance and assistance, that he may be enabled the more fruitfully to serve the Lord of the Church.
Finally, let us praise God the Holy Trinity for his creation, salvation and redemption of the world, and let us give thanks for the long and sustained witness of the See of Canterbury to the Faith, Worship and Order of the holy Catholic Church over many centuries.
These prayers and praises let us humbly offer up to the throne of heaven as we pray:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon MA., D.Phil (Oxford)