Friday, November 11, 2011

Trinity Prayer: A Missional Form of Praying

I just read a one of the early books  by N. T. Wright, Bringing the Church to the World. In the epilogue, he writes about praying the thesis of the book into reality. He introduces the Jesus prayer that has become popular over the last decade which goes like this: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me."

The goal of this prayer is to make it such a regular part of one's thoughts and expression that it naturally flows out like breathing. Therefore it is often referred to as breath praying.

Wright expands upon this in a way that expands our imagination about God. Most people people in the church are shaped by a Christological imagination, but it is a truncated view of Christology. A New Testament view of Christ requires a trinitarian imagination. It is so easy for people today to have a high Chistology, but only apply it to their private spirituality in such a way that it has nothing to do with daily life. We need a way to pray that expands this so that train imagination to see what God is doing in our world. N. T. Wright suggests that we expland the Jesus prayer to be a Trinity prayer to something like this:

Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth:
   Set up your kingdom in our midst
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God:
   Have mercy on me a sinner.
Holy Spirit, breath of God:
   Renew me and all the world.

Over the last four years, I've put the Jesus prayer into motion in my life from time to time. Honestly, it has not yet become a breath prayer, but I'm going in the right direction. I know that having three stanzas to pray complicates things, but I think it worth the effort to pray into the life of the Trinity and not just Jesus. I need to train my imagination to see what God is doing through Jesus by the power of the Spirit to redeem all the world and establish the kingdom of God.


di said...

I heard these words spoken by a worship leader recently "Make us a people who stand ready for Jesus!" and this prayer arose in my spirit: "Father, make us a people who STAND READY for Jesus, in Christ and in the power of your Holy Spirit, Amen."

Todd said...

Scott, thanks for the illuminating reflection. I honestly believe an even greater need for most of us than broadening out of what part of the Godhead we pray FROM is broadening what part of life we imagine God wants us to pray TO or FOR.
If we get stuck in the Christological, our purview of what God cares about in our life and world tends to exalt evangelism and serving the poor over the marketplace and family-raising, all realms of service equally God-ordained and holy. Here's where I feel most undervalue their lives and fail to see God's in-breaking kingdom.
I'd love to partner with others in creating this fuller, true-to-life paradigm and communities that learn to sanctify every work done in His name. Feel free to email at or call me at 612-578-2292