|| 2000년세계선교대회(21세기선교전략회의)-The form and content of Jesus Abbey intercessions
|■ 21세기 선교전략회의(NCOWE III) 분야별 전략회의 (1-①) 발제
The form and content of Jesus Abbey intercessions
Jesus Abbey was started as a house of prayer, Jane and Archer Torrey, after 7 years of teaching theology, were aware of the fact that most theological students expect to do everything in their own strength, without prayer. They are aware of prayer as a set of forms in the Prayer Book and as a custom that is maintained in church life, but they do not believe that it is of any efficacy.
Only energetic efforts to do research, to teach, to propagandize, to organize and to evangelize can be effective. In other words, we have to depend upon our own efforts to get anything done. Prayer cannot accomplish anything other than a mild subjective, psychological, effect on people's emotions.
Since the two Torreys were convinced that prayer is work, that it is effective work, and that it is the most important and most effective work there is, as far as God's purposes are concerned, they decided, when they left the theological college, to engage in the work of prayer as their primary occupation. This involved finding a suitable location, building a house, and working toward self-support. They knew that no one was prepared to pay them a salary just to pray. It was not just the theological students who did not believe that prayer was important. it was the church as a whole. We were aware that it would be futile to ask the church to pay us or to suppport us.
Not only would it be futile, it would not be a demonstration of our conviction about the importance of prayer. On the other hand, if we could buy a small tract of land and begin farming to support ourselves, it would be clear to all that we took prayer seriously.
As it tumed out, a group of farmers from the village next to the theological college and a group of construction workers who had been working on various buildings at the theological project heard about our plans and offered to join us. Thus the prayer project was never limited just to our family.
Besides us there were 12 men, right at the beginning. We lived in a big army tent and prayed and worked. As the first volunteers began to return home, other people kept turning up and the number slowly increased. As soon as the first two rooms in the house were completed, young women began joining us.
From then on the Abbey has continued to grow into a community of single men, single women, and families.
We have taken St. Benedict's famous words "Work is Prayer, Prayer is Work," for our motto. We believe that the work in which we engage in order to support ourselves is holy because it is done for God's glory. It is not done just to feed us, just to keep us alive, but to maintain the life of prayer. Therefore, we believe. God recognizes that work as a form of prayer. Apart from his help, we do not expect the work to succeed. It is done in an attitude of prayer, asking for God to use it and make it effective.
At the same time, we do not just work. There have been people who joined us and who worked very hard, but who thought the goal of the work was self-support and, in order to achieve self-support, we should not waste time in prayer meetings. The debate over the relative importance of prayer and work ended with these people leaving the Abbey. We do hope to achieve self-support, but we will not sacrifice the work of prayer for that goal. At the present time we are about 60% self-supporting. The balance is "manna from heaven," donations that come in answer to prayer. We do not pray for money publicly, as there are nearly always visitors and we do not want anyone to think that we are hinting that they should give us money. But we do pray daily, in our private prayers, for God to meet all our needs, and we do make lists of our needs.
Different persons have different awarenesses of what our needs are. Although they are all covered by the phrase, "Give us this day our daily bread," we believe it is good to be specific so that when God sends it, we will be aware that it has come in answer to prayer and that it is, therefore, a miracle. We have been living on miracles, as a community, for 35 years. It is a good way to keep us in the habit of praying and in the habit of expecting answers to prayer.
The pattern of prayer life is one of stopping to pray 7 times a day. This is an old Benedictine tradition, but ours differs considerably from the way it is done in the Benedictine monasteries. 3 of the times of prayer are when the "Angelus"bell is rung, and only last 5 minutes. The "Angelus" is a bell that is rung 18 times, slowly-3 and 3 and 3 and 9 times. During this time we stop, wherever we are, and pray. Traditionally, the Angelus is a reminder of the Incarnation, the fact that God became man.
The traditional Scripture verses are Luke 1:26-28, 42: The angel ... said to Mary ... "Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you." ... "Blessed among women are you, and blessed is the fruit of your womb [Jesus]!" (Three bells)
 And Mary said, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word." (Three bells)
[John 1:14] " And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." (Three bells)
There follow, traditionally, other prayers, while the nine bells are being rung, but we encourage people to pray freely, asking God to fulfill the Incarnation through us by the Holy Spirit.
These three brief moments of prayer, at 6 AM, 12 Noon, and 6 PM, frame our day. The longer times of prayer are Morning Prayer, Noonday Intercessions, and the evening programs. The seventh time of prayer is private prayer by each individual. We encourage this to be a time of intercession, too, but leave each one free to lift up to the Lord whatever burden may be on his heart. If he has no special burden, then he would follow the pattern of the corporate intercessions at noon.
The evening times of worship have a different form and content each evening. Sunday evenings are not, strictly speaking, times of prayer. They may be times of seeing a worth while film or tape or they may be times of socializing over cups of tea. Visiting with one another is a manifestation or symbol of the koinonia which is the primary work of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 13:13). It is neither work nor prayer in the strict sense, yet it expresses what 1 John 1 tells us : that our koinonia with one another is also a koinonia with God the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
Monday evenings are devoted to a full two hours of intercession.
Tuesday evenings are devoted to an hour of musical praise. Wednesday evening may be a lecture or "Sung Evensong," according to the Anglican tradition, followed by a half-hour sermon. Thursday evenings are "free Meetings." There is no set form and no set time limit. We ask the Holy Spirit to guide us, according to his plans for that particular day. Anyone may speak up, as the Spirit leads, with a word from the Lord, a suggestion for a hymn, a request for prayer, or whatever. These meetings often go on until 2 AM or later. Friday evenings are usually for family or dormitory small group prayers. Saturdays are for thanksgivings, reviewing the works of the Lord during the week, with songs of praise after each word of thanks.
Sunday mornings the thanksgivings continue in the celebration of the "Eucharist"(Greek for "Thanksgiving), a rich and inclusive form for the Lord's Supper, following the Korean Anglican tradition. This includes various short prayers, scripture readings, a sermon, confessions of sin, the "passing of the peace." At this time everyone stands up and walks around the room greeting one another with "Shalom" or with "The Peace of the Lord be with you." After everyone has returned to his or her place, there is a hymn and time for free praise and a time of silence to wait on the Lord for a message. There are usually from one to four messages. We expect to discern, as the Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 14:29: "And let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment." If we recognize the word as from the Lord, we say "Amen!" If someone believes the message to be a serious mistake, he is free to speak up and say so. After the time of free worship and prophecy we then offer the bread and wine, and ourselves, and proceed with the Lord's supper. The service sometimes runs over two hours, but normally less. It is the hinge for our week.
"Morning Prayer" follows an ancient tradition, going back to Benedictine times, as does the "Evening Prayer," when it is held on Wednesday nights. This form includes hymns and short prayers(called "collects," in English, because they collect together a series of requests in a very condensed form), Psalms, Old Testament Readings, and New Testament readings. After the Scripture readings time is allowed for comments or questions but the service is timed to end promptly after one hour. Anyone is free to ask questions or to make comments and we are often blessed by the contributions made by our guests.
Noonday Intercession we refer to in Korean as "tae do," meaning that we are praying on behalf of someone else. We have many requests for prayer from all over the world. There are so many that we cannot go into detail. Our form is to start with certain basic prayers that should be dome regularly, such as prayers for the nation and for the church. These are different on different days of the week, as we pray for various government and church leaders by name.
The leader states the intention of the prayer and the congregation responds, "O Lord, hear our prayer." Some prayers are offered daily and some weekly. The list is divided into two sections. The first section consists of prayers that we offer continuously through the year. The second section consists of prayers which we offer for one month only. The office staff collect the requests for prayers which come in the mail as well as those from quests or from our own people. They are made into a list which can be completed in half an hour and passed on to the people who lead the services during the week. Usually, a few minutes remain at the end for prayers from the congregation. In this way we cover a lot of ground-the whole world, in fact! Obviously, we cannot think deeply about the people and situations involved.
Because of the limitations of the "tae do"method, we also set aside two hours on Monday night, each week, for an intensive kind of intercession which we call "choongbo kido." On Monday nights we take only 2 or 3 needs and pray for them more thoroughly.
The Monday night meeting begins with a few minutes of preparation, following an outline we received from Joy Dawson. We then ask the Holy Spirit to bring to mind what he wants us pray for. There is a time of silent prayer until someone makes a suggestion. The person making the suggestion usually gives a scripture reference and then enters into a detailed explanation of what it is he or she understands that the Spirit is saying. Others add to the explanation and one person is assigned to summarize it on the whiteboard. After a time of free prayer several people, in turn, pray specifically for the matter which we have discussed.
When the leader is awate that we have spent enough time on this subject an opprotunity is given for another subject to be brought up after another period of waiting on the Lord for guidance. Usually we only deal with three subjects in the two hours, but there is a sense of deep satisfaction in knowing that we have worked hard at something very worthwhile.
Usually, at the very beginning, the leader reviews what we prayed about the week before and asks if anyone knows of any specific answer to our prayers. At the end, he reminds those present that we should not discuss the details of what we prayed for on the outside, reminding us of what the Scripture says of the transfiguration of Jesus. "Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead." Joy Dawson wams us of the danger of pride if we talk about such experiences. There is a time, of course, when the Holy Spirit may guide us to give a testimony to answered prayer, but most of the time we assume that th wants the details kept confidential.
Jesus Abbey is a house of prayer. Our work is our prayer and our prayer is our work. It can be tiring and we find that it is a struggle to keep the right balance between corporate prayer, corporate work, private prayer and private work. We trust the Holy Spirit not only to give power and effectiveness to our prayers but also to give us wisdom to know how to manage our lives.
We are always short-handed at Jesus Abbey. It anyone feels guided to live this kind of life we invite them to come and test their vocation with us for a few days or months or years. Even if they find they have not been called to make this their life work, during the time they are with us they can be a valuable help. We are deeply grateful for the many people who have been led of God to join with us in this life of prayer and work.