Language has always been at the center of discussions about worship. In highly liturgical churches, concerns about language are focused on a fixed text. In free churches, choice of language is primarily the domain of a pastor or worship leader, whose selection of words for prayers and introduction of the various parts of the service may be either extemporaneous or written beforehand. In almost every tradition, texts set to music are scrutinized. Most often, when the language of worship is...
The nature of language is a topic of significant recent interest to liturgical scholars. The following article outlines some of the most difficult questions these scholars address. These questions can also be helpful to worship planners and leaders as they reflect on the language they use in worship.
The language of worship is responsive both to the scriptural tradition in which Christians worship and to the cultural context in which the worship event takes place. The interplay between these forces is dynamic and formative, challenging the church to examine the language it uses in worship. This article was written in the early 1980s in response to many of the changes in language in worship in the 1960s and 1970s.
Language used in black preaching has a musical ring and rhythm. The spirit and delivery of this language has much to do with the emotional vitality of worship in black churches, a fine example of how the aesthetic qualities of language shape the meaning and experience of worship.
The text of a prayer is only one element important in the act of public prayer. For the way in which a prayer is spoken, the attitudes that accompany it, and the nonverbal gestures which complement it often communicate as much of the meaning of the prayer as the text itself. This article looks at the whole act of public prayer, offering worship planners pastoral, liturgical, and aesthetic guidelines regarding prayer.
Writing prayers for worship calls for the creativity of a poet, the sensitivity of a pastor, the insight of a theologian, and the foundation of a living relationship with God. Weaving together these concerns, this article gives advice to the worshiper who is given the task of writing prayers for public worship. It suggests an approach that will be accessible for beginners and challenging for experienced worship leaders.