.

The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 52 : Public Prayer

Paragraph 2 :

52-2. Then, after singing a psalm, or hymn, it is proper that, before the sermon, there should be a full and comprehensive prayer:
a. Adoring the glory and perfections of God, as they are made known to us in the works of creation, in the conduct of Providence, and in the clear and full revelation He has made of Himself in His written
words;
b. Giving thanks to Him for all His mercies of every kind, general and particular, spiritual and temporal, common and special; above all, for Christ Jesus, His unspeakable gift, the hope of eternal life through
Him, and for the mission and work of the Holy Spirit;
c. Making humble confession of sin, both original and actual, acknowledging, and endeavoring to lead the heart of every worshipper with a deep sense of the evil of all sin, as such, as being a departure from the living God; and also taking a particular and affecting view of the various fruits which proceed from this root of bitterness; as sins against God, our neighbor and ourselves; sins in thought, in word, and in deed; sins secret and presumptuous; sins accidental and habitual. Also, the aggravations of sin, arising from
knowledge, or the means of it; from distinguishing mercies; from valuable privileges; from breach of vows, etc.;
d. Making earnest supplication for the pardon of sin, and peace with God, through the blood of the atonement, with all its important and happy fruits; for the Spirit of sanctification, the grace that is necessary to the discharge of our duty; for support and comfort, under all the trials to which we are liable, as we are sinful and mortal; and for all temporal mercies that may be necessary in our passage through this valley of tears; always remembering to view them as flowing in the channel of covenant love, and intended to be subservient to the preservation and progress of the spiritual life;
e. Pleading from every principle warranted in Scripture; from our own necessity; the all-sufficiency of God; the merit and intercession of our Saviour; and the glory of God in the comfort and happiness of His people;
f. Intercession and petition for others, including the whole world for mankind; for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon all flesh; for the peace, purity, and extension of the Church of God; for ministers and
missionaries in all lands; for all who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake; for the particular church then assembled, and all other churches associated in one body with it; for the sick, dying, and bereaved; for the poor and destitute; for strangers, for prisoners, the aged and the young; for those who travel; for the community in which the church is situated; for civil rulers; and for whatever else may seem to be necessary or suitable to the occasion. The prominence given each of these topics must be left to the
discretion of the minister.


[DIGEST: The current text dates to 1975 [M3GA, 3-69, p. 81] and remains unchanged from that time. The editorial convention of lettering the six divisions of the paragraph was instituted in _____]. In the history of this paragraph, of particular note is the rejection of the 1973 text by the Third General Assembly (1975), in favor of the earlier PCUS text of 1894.
One significant difference between 1975 and 1894 appears in the Third point, where 1975 has "endeavoring to lead the heart of every worshipper" while 1894 has "endeavoring to impress the mind of every worshipper". Whether the earlier text reflect a more rationalistic approach to worship remains a subject for later study.

ANTECEDENT TEXTS:
PCA 1975, 53-2, M3GA, 3-69, pp. 81-82
Then, after singing a psalm, or hymn, it is proper that, before the sermon, there should be a full and comprehensive prayer: First, Adoring the glory and perfections of God, as they are made known to us in the works of creation, in the conduct of Providence, and in the clear and full revelation He has made of Himself in His written word; Second, Giving thanks to Him for all His mercies of every kind, general and particular, spiritual and temporal, common and special; above all, for Christ Jesus, His unspeakable gift, the hope of eternal life through
Him, and for the mission and work of the Holy Spirit; Third, Making humble confession of sin, both original and actual, acknowledging, and endeavoring to lead the heart of every worshipper with a deep sense of the evil of all sin, as such, as being a departure from the living God; and also taking a particular and affecting view of the various fruits which proceed from this root of bitterness; as sins against God, our neighbor and ourselves; sins in thought, in word, and in deed; sins secret and presumptuous; sins accidental and habitual. Also, the aggravations of sin, arising from knowledge, or the means of it; from distinguishing mercies; from valuable privileges; from breach of vows, etc.; Fourth, Making earnest supplication for the pardon of sin, and peace with God, through the blood of the atonement, with all its important and happy fruits; for the Spirit of sanctification, the grace that is necessary to the discharge of our duty; for support and comfort, under all the trials to which we are liable, as we are sinful and mortal; and for all temporal mercies that may be necessary in our passage through this valley of tears; always remembering to view them as flowing in the channel of covenant love, and intended to be subservient to the preservation and progress of the spiritual life; Fifth, Pleading from every principle warranted in Scripture; from our own necessity; the all-sufficiency of God; the merit and intercession of our Saviour; and the glory of God in the comfort and happiness of His people; Sixth, Intercession and petition for others, including the whole world for mankind; for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon all flesh; for the peace, purity, and extension of the Church of God; for ministers and missionaries in all lands; for all who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake; for the particular church then assembled, and all other churches associated in one body with it; for the sick, dying, and bereaved; for the poor and destitute; for strangers, for prisoners, the aged and the young; for those who travel; for the community in which the church is situated; for civil rulers; and for whatever else may seem to be necessary or suitable to the occasion. The prominence given each of these topics must be left to the discretion of the minister.

PCA 1973, Adopted text, DfW, 5-2, M1GA, Appendix, p. 156.
and
Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, Proposed text, DfW 5-2, pp. 64-65
At some place in the service, before the sermon, there should be a comprehensive prayer, which should embrace some or all of the following elements: adoration; thanksgiving; confession of sin; supplication for pardon and peace with God through the blood of the atonement, with all the happy fruits thereof; pleading intercession; and petition for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all flesh, for all classes and conditions of men, for private citizens and public officials and for whatever else may seem to be necessary or suitable to the occasion.

PCUS 1894, DfW, V-2 [§ 297]
Then, after singing a psalm, or hymn, it is proper that, before the sermon, there should be a full and comprehensive prayer: First, Adoring the glory and perfections of God, as they are made known to us in the works of creation, in the conduct of Providence, and in the clear and full revelation He has made of Himself in His written word; Second, Giving thanks to Him for all His mercies of every kind, general and particular, spiritual and temporal, common and special; above all, for Christ Jesus, His unspeakable gift, the hope of eternal life through Him, and for the mission and work of the Holy Spirit; Third, Making humble confession of sin, both original and actual, acknowledging, and endeavoring to impress the mind of every worshipper with a deep sense of the evil of all sin, as such, as being a departure from the living God; and also taking a particular and affecting view of the various fruits which proceed from this root of bitterness; as sins against God, our neighbor and ourselves ; sins in thought, in word, and in deed ; sins secret and presumptuous ; sins accidental and habitual. Also, the aggravations of sin, arising from knowledge, or the means of it ; from distinguishing mercies ; from valuable privileges ; from breach of vows, etc.; Fourth, Making earnest supplication for the pardon of sin, and peace with God, through the blood of the atonement, with all its important and happy fruits ; for the Spirit of sanctification, and abundant supplies of the grace that is necessary to the discharge of our duty ; for support and comfort under all the trials to which we are liable, as we are sinful and mortal ; and for all temporal mercies that may be necessary in our passage through this valley of tears ; always remembering to view them as flowing in the channel of covenant love, and intended to be subservient to the preservation and progress of the spiritual life ;
Fifth, Pleading from every principle warranted in Scripture; from our own necessity; the all-sufficiency of God; the merit and intercession of our Saviour; and the glory of God in the comfort and happiness of His people; Sixth, Intercession and petition for others, including the whole world for mankind ; for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon all flesh; for the peace, purity, and extension of the church of God ; for ministers and missionaries in all lands ; for all who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake ; for the particular church then assembled, and all other churches associated in one body with it ; for the sick, dying, and bereaved ; for the poor and destitute ; for strangers, for prisoners, the aged and the young ; for those who travel by land and sea ; for the community in which the church is situated ; for civil rulers; and for whatever else may seem to be necessary or suitable to the occasion. The prominence given each of these topics must be left to the discretion of the minister.

OTHER COMPARISONS:
OPC 2005, DfW, III-5
It is altogether fitting that, before the service, each person in the congregation engage in silent prayer. In public prayer the minister is the voice of the congregation. He should pray in such a way that the whole assembly of God's people may pray with him, and the members of the congregation not only are bound to listen as he prays but should themselves pray in their hearts. To these ends it is desirable that the minister prepare himself for public prayers by previous meditation. Early in the service he shall offer a brief invocation, humbly imploring for the congregation and himself the guidance of the Holy Spirit in worship. At some point before the sermon there shall be a comprehensive prayer comprising adoration of God's perfections, thanksgiving for his mercies, confession of sins, supplication for the pardon of sins through the blood of the atonement and for renewal by the Holy Spirit, intercession for the poor, the sick, the dying, the mourning, the persecuted, the erring, the rising generation, the aged, the churches of the denomination, Christian missions at home and abroad, Christian education and other Christian activities, the church universal, the civil rulers, the community, human society in general, or whatever causes may be particularly worthy. The prayer after the sermon ought usually to have a relation to the subject that has been treated in the discourse. Public prayer must be offered with deep humility and holy reverence and be free from vain repetition or display of words.



©PCA Historical Center, 12330 Conway Road, St. Louis, MO, 2007. All Rights Reserved.

Chapter Index [links to Par. 1 of each chapter]:
FoG..
1
2
3.
4
5.
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
I. King & Head of Church
.§1.
§4
§5
RoD
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
II. Preliminary Principles
§1
§2
§3
§4
§5
§6
§7
§8
DfW
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
[FoG = Form of Government ; RoD = Rules of Discipline ; DfW = Directory for Worship]