Ways of Praying Prayers of confession are either personal or corporate in nature. Prayers of personal confession involve presenting our issues to God and seeking forgiveness for the harm we have done on others…
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Prayers of corporate confession focus on the wrong that is committed jointly, rather than the sins of each person. Paul Bradshaw, in his book Two Ways of Praying, describes these prayers as cathedral prayer and monastic prayer. Cathedral prayer is mainly led by ordained, formally appointed ministers, while in monastic prayer each person in the community takes obligation to take turn at the reading, speaking or singing that is part of the prayer (Bradshaw, 1995). Cathedral prayer is the obligation of the whole congregation while monastic prayer is more of individual activity. In addition, cathedral prayer is mainly outward, involving occasional gatherings for prayer that is reinforced by praise and intercession. Monastic prayer is mainly inward-looking, that is communicated through a person’s mind and heart, and thus it assists in forming the person who prays. Moreover, cathedral prayer is supported by externals of worship actions and materials such as candles and vestments, while monastic prayer does not necessary require material support, since it mainly involves silent meditation. Generally, prayer enable us to communicate with God by allowing us to be aware of the encounters with God we experience at various times of our lives. Prayers therefore help us to learn to arrive with fullness of our heart, mind, body, feelings, and experience into the living presence of God and to receive the revealed fullness of God’s own heart, word, body, love, and reality for us in ever-deepening mutual intimacy (Dahill, 2005, p.10). The next part of this paper will be based mainly on corporate prayers of confession in the church. One’s spiritual wellbeing is much related to the spiritual wellbeing of others, thus, goodness of the community is very essential for the goodness of individuals. God uses confession as a means for helping people to move past their sins to better and deeper self lived existence within the communal interdependence. Through corporate prayers of confession, community is able to turn away from sin and begin the process of healing from the suffering. This type of confession enables community to receive God’s will towards wellbeing, as the sins are washed away because they normally block the community from receiving the goodness. Sins therefore lead to isolation and fragmentation of our society, as we concentrate on seeing the problems as originating outside ourselves, rather than concentrating on ways of resolving these problems as a community. Fragmentation in turn leads to powerlessness, as fragmentation makes us focus on perpetuating the problem rather than participating in forms of it resolution (Suchocki, 1996, p.80). The powerlessness makes people to refuse responsibility for problems that are caused by evils in our society; hence, they distance themselves from efforts to seek forgiveness and addressing the problems. The powerlessness makes people to be more individualistic, thus, the church does not confess its corporate sins. By church shunning confessions of its corporate sins, the God’s merciful power of social renewal is left uninitiated, as church member are more concerned about addressing their individual problems while hiding from the social aspects of all personal sins. Christians therefore become more involved in privately confessing their personal sins, while forgetting that personal confession only is not sufficient to attract God’s forgiveness for social sins of our society. As individuals, we participate in various corporate evils that warrant corporate confession. When the church
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