Brooks on a Life Without Prayer

He was born in Boston in 1835 and educated at Harvard and at Virginia Theological Seminary. Most remembered today as the author of "O Little Town of Bethlehem," he was actually one of the most famous American preachers of the nineteenth century. Today's Worship Quote comes from the pen of Phillips Brooks.

If man is man and God is God, to live without prayer is not merely an awful thing: it is an infinitely foolish thing.

-Phillips Brooks (1835-1893)


"…take it to the Lord in prayer."

Have a great week!

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Madeleine L'Engle on Words and Prayer

Today's Worship Quote is a poem about prayer-specifically, about the inadequacy of words when it comes to communion with God.

I, who live by words, am wordless when
I try my words in prayer. All language turns
To silence. Prayer will take my words and then
Reveal their emptiness. The stilled voice learns
To hold its peace, to listen with the heart
To silence that is joy, is adoration.
The self is shattered, all words torn apart
In this strange patterned time of contemplation
That, in time, breaks time, breaks words, breaks me,
And then, in silence, leaves me healed and mended.
I leave, returned to language, for I see
Through words, even when all words are ended.
   I, who live by words, am wordless when
   I turn me to the Word to pray. Amen.

-Madeleine L'Engle, The Weather of the Heart, Harold Shaw Publishers, 1978, 60.


Sometimes words fall short. My response to God in worship and prayer is not necessarily limited by the power of my vocabulary or the eloquence of my "prayer logic." Sometimes being moved to silence, awe and wonder is an appropriate response to God's mystery and majesty.

Have a great week!

To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.

Benedict of Nursia on the Community at Worship

He started out as a hermit and later became the leader of a flourishing religious community in the hill country near Rome. His followers lived a simple and austere life, gathering for prayer seven times each day, and spending the rest of their time in manual work, private prayer and study. Today's Worship Quote of the Week comes from Benedict of Nursia (480?-547?), founder of the Benedictines.

We believe that God is present everywhere, and the eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the good and the bad . . . We must therefore consider how we should behave in the sight of Divine Majesty, and as we sing our psalms let us see to it that our mind is in harmony with our voice.

- Benedict of Nursia, Eerdmans' Book of Christian Classics: A Treasury of Christian Writings through the Centuries, ed. Veronica Zundel (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1985), 26.


Almighty and loving Lord, may the praises on our lips be accompanied by the sincere devotion of our hearts. Amen!

To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.

Peterson on the Shape of Creation

Today's Worship Quote is another from Eugene Peterson's book Answering God, a wonderful study of how to use the Psalms as tools for prayer.  Peterson was Professor of Spiritual Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Prayer recovers the shape of our creation. We are created in "the image of God." We are declared, on the authority of Genesis, "good." We, and everyone and everything around us have this basic beauty, this wondrous goodness. But we very often don't feel at all good. We do not perceive ourselves "in the image of God." We are conscious of failure and inadequacy; we experience criticism and rejection; we feel lousy. The memory of our good creation is obscured in a thick fog of failure and inadequacy.

Prayer is a reentry into the reality of our good creation. The Psalms, all spoken out of this ordered and purposed beauty, activate our memories of creation. Always the Genesis milieu is implicit; sometimes it is explicit. When we pray the Psalms we consciously enter the reality of our good creation.

Our lives are bracketed by God: "O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is thy name in all the earth!" is the first last line of both Psalm 8 and of our lives. Within the brackets-and there is nothing that is not within the brackets-our creation takes place.

- Eugene H. Peterson, Answering God: The Psalms as Tools for Prayer, (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1989).

To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.

Buechner on Prayer

Today's Worship Quote comes from Frederick Buechner and deals with an aspect of prayer that is sometimes difficult to understand - for me, at least.

According to Jesus, by far the most important thing about praying is to keep at it. The images he uses to explain this are all rather comic, as though he thought it was rather comic to have to explain it at all. He says God is like a friend you go to borrow bread from at midnight. The friend tells you in effect to drop dead, but you go on knocking anyway until finally he gives you what you want so he can go back to bed again (Luke 11:5-8). Or God is like a crooked judge who refuses to hear the case of a certain poor widow, presumably because he knows there's nothing much in it or him. But she keeps on hounding him until finally he hears her case just to get her out of his hair (Luke 18:1-8). Even a stinker, Jesus says, won't give his own child a black eye when he asks for peanut butter and jelly, so how all the more will God when HIS children... (Matthew 7:9-11).

Be importunate, Jesus says-not, one assumes, because you have to beat a path to God's door before he'll open it, but because until you beat the path maybe there'll be no way of getting to YOUR door. 'Ravish my heart,' John Donne wrote. But God will not usually ravish. He will only court.

-Frederick Buechner, Listening to Your Life: Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechner, ed. George Connor (New York City: Harper Collins, 1992).


I had to look up "importunate." The Random House Dictionary had some help for me. "adj.  1. urgent or persistent in solicitation.  2. pertinacious, as solicitations or demands.  3. troublesome, annoying." It sounds a bit like nagging, doesn't it? Keep praying!

Have a great week!

To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.

Hustad on Response to the Self-Revelation of God

Today's Worship Quote of the Week is another that pictures worship as the full-life response to God. The author, Don Hustad, extends on the words of Jesus, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength" (Mark 12:30).

Christian worship is our affirmative, transforming response to the self-revelation of God ... We are not seeking to find or to know an obscure, frightening being who needs to be placated. God makes and continues to make the first move, showing himself in power and in love, inviting our response. In fact, worship is any and every affirmative response to God. There is no point to a question raised by some, whether it is more important to "express adoration to God" or to witness and to minister in our church life. One act gives corporate voice to our inner commitment; the other is our outward expression of worship in obedience to Christ's second great commandment, " ... You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Mark 12:31).

To worship is to think about God and to converse with him. To worship is to preach God's good news and to minister to a hungry, hurting world in the name of Christ. To worship is to serve God as a banker, a farmer or an engineer and also as a church deacon or elder, a Sunday school teacher, or a member of the choir. To worship is to love God more than anything or anyone else in the world. To worship is to enjoy and use and preserve God's world—including all good art, beneficent science, and healthy entertainment. For the Christian, every act of life should be one of worship, with love that responds to God's love.

- Don Hustad, Jubilate II: Church Music in Worship and Renewal (Carol Stream: Hope Publishing, 1993).


Heart, soul, mind and strength. That's pretty much everything.

Have a great week!

To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.

Chambers on Worship and Intercession

Today's Worship Quote of the Week is another from Oswald Chambers' devotional classic, My Utmost for His Highest.

Worship and intercession must go together, the one is impossible without the other. Intercession means that we rouse ourselves up to get the mind of Christ about the one for whom we pray. Too often instead of worshiping God, we construct statements as to how prayer works. Are we worshiping or are we in dispute with God- 'I don't see how You are going to do it.' This is a sure sign that we are not worshiping. When we lose sight of God we become hard and dogmatic. We hurl our own petitions at God's throne and dictate to Him as to what we wish Him to do. We do not worship God, nor do we seek to form the mind of Christ. If we are hard towards God, we will become hard towards other people.

- Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, Barbour & Company ( Selected mostly from talks given during the years 1911-1915, these devotionals were first published in 1935 by Dodd, Mead & Co., renewed in 1963 by Oswald Chambers Publication Association, Ltd.


Lord, give us the mind of Christ as we pray for each other. May our intercessions be supported by a proper attitude of worship.

Have a great week!

To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.

Lawrence on Worshiping All the Time

Today's Worship Quote of the Week comes from a letter that Brother Lawrence (17th century Carmelite monk) wrote to a woman who was overcome with the cares of life. He instructed her in "the practice of the presence of God."



In the midst of your work console yourself with Him as often as you can. During your meals and your conversations, lift your heart towards Him sometimes; the slightest little remembrance will always be very pleasant to Him. To do this you do not need to shout loudly. He is closer to us than we think.

We do not have to be constantly in church to be with God. We can make of our heart a prayer room into which we can retire from time to time to converse with Him gently, humbly and lovingly. Everyone is capable of these familiar conversations with God - some more, some less. He knows what our capabilities are. Let us begin: perhaps He is only waiting a generous resolve on our part. Take courage: we have little time left to live. You are almost sixty-four years old, and I am approaching eighty. Let us live and die with God! The sufferings will always be sweeter and more pleasant when we are with Him, and the greatest pleasure without Him will be cruel torture. May He be blessed by all. Amen."

-Brother Lawrence (c. 1611-1691) in The Practice of the Presence of God, translated by Robert J. Edmonson, Paraclete Living Library, 1984.


Lord, take my heart for a prayer room. Help me to practice your presence today. Amen!

Have a great week!

To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.

Lewis on the Efficacy of Prayer

Here we have another Worship Quote of the Week on the topic of "prayer" from C. S. Lewis.

"Prayer is either a sheer illusion or a personal contact between embryonic, incomplete persons (ourselves) and the utterly concrete Person. Prayer in the sense of petition, asking for things, is a small part of it; confession and penitence are its threshold, adoration its sanctuary, the presence and vision and enjoyment of God its bread and wine. In it God shows Himself to us. That He answers prayer is a corollary - not necessarily the most important one - from that revelation. What He does is learned from what He is."

- C. S. Lewis, "The Efficacy of Prayer," in The World's Last Night and Other Essays, 1959.

(Open Book) Quiz on the above Lewis quote:
1. Threshold of prayer = __________
2. Sanctuary of prayer = __________
3. Bread and wine of prayer = __________
4. Where can I spend some valuable time? __________

Have a great week!

To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.

St. Richard of Chichester's Thirteenth Century Prayer

Today's Worship Quote of the Week is the prayer of St. Richard of Chichester. One can easily see that "Day by Day," the familiar song from the musical Godspell, is based on this ancient prayer.

Thanks be to Thee my Lord Jesus Christ
For all the benefits which Thou hast given me;
For all the pains and insults Thou hast borne for me. 
O most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother,
May I know Thee more clearly;
Love Thee more dearly;
And follow Thee more nearly. Amen.

- St. Richard of Chichester (1197-1253), who was Bishop of Chichester from 1245 to 1253.

To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.