Why pray if I’m not Anglican, or if I’m against ACNA?June 22, 2009
We have lately devoted a number of posts to praying for the formation of the ACNA, and will be praying for the ACNA inside of Second Life.
Some – especially those who are skeptical of this new church formation, or even opposed to it – for various reasons (more than we can begin to sum up here) – have already expressed grief at our emphasis of the importance of prayer for the ACNA. So why are we doing this? And why this big emphasis right now?
One can in good conscience pray for the ACNA even if one believes that this church should never have come together – or that that all of its constituent parishes which left the Episcopal Church, should not have done so.
You can pray for unity in the Body of Christ. Pray that the way that this new church is formed, is done in such a manner, that church unity within the Body of Christ is compromised as little as possible.
You can pray for God’s wisdom, and that His will be done in this situation. God knows what is best here. It may be along the lines of your own insights into the situation here. It might not. But we can all be confident that praying for God’s will here is indeed a very good thing – no matter what your beliefs regarding the ACNA.
We believe in the unity of truth, and in one God. Were it not for the unity of truth, for example, the scientific method would be impossible. Our approach to truth is indeed multi-faceted; in the realm of human cognition, we acknowledge a certain amount of perspectivalism. But God’s will is One, as is truth. Praying for God’s wisdom for those present will not cause them to become any “smarter,” “more clever,” or “cunning.” God does not answer prayers these ways. Praying for God’s wisdom is asking that God direct those present according to His will.
Praying that God bless this assembly is not the same as praying that the assembly is supported by others, or that the church be financially provided for. These are separate, more specific prayers; obviously, if one does not support the ACNA, one would not pray such things, and one needn’t.
What happens this week in Bedford will have a great impact upon the Anglican Communion, and not only upon things Anglican within the United States. The ACNA is one of the fastest-growing churches, not only due to departures from TEC; there are many talented church planters amongst the ACNA, and some churches which have only been around for a few years have already planted other churches. If God’s will is NOT done in this situation, there will be further bitterness, division, and strife amongst Anglicans in the United States (including TEC), and in the Communion at large.
Why should I pray if I am not Anglican? The Anglican Communion is the second-largest world church. It has gone through enormous difficulties and pain in the last twenty years, and is being observed by all sizeable churches in the world. Its witness in the body of Christ will have an enormous impact on other churches. In short, it is a very important member of the body of Christ with its own gifts, but also its own weaknesses and sins. Praying for the Communion – and this very important event going on in Bedford – is to pray for the whole body of Christ.
It may seem to some that “the ACNA is getting a lot of attention here, and you are not encouraging us to pray for the General Convention of the Episcopal Church.”
We do wish for prayers for the Episcopalian General Convention as well. However, this is something quite different – not simply a regular church convention, but rather the creation of an entire new church. It is much more important in the life of a church, than a single church convention.