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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Thinking about "a Word of Prayer"


Every now and again it’s good to stop and to think about the words that are coming out of our mouth. 


The expression “a word of prayer” - as in “Let’s have a word of prayer,” has always struck me as just a bit odd. It’s an idiom and won’t adhere to the normal meanings of words.   We’re obviously going to say more than one single word.  We use the same idiomatic expression in other ways – “May I have a word with you?” or “I want to give you a word of advice.” 

This is an example of Synecdoche – wherein a part of something is used to represent the whole – in this case “a word” is used to indicate a string of words in a prayer.

If we were, however, to limit ourselves to a single word of prayer, what would it be?  Perhaps the most gut wrenching, earnest prayer is the desperate shout: “God!”  Perhaps “Amen” – “let it be so” would be a full and complete prayer in and of itself. 

I also think it’s weird to “have” a prayer. This expression makes prayer seem like a consumable:  “I’ll have a piece of cake.”  “I’ll have a cup of tea.”  “I’ll have a word of prayer.”  This is just weird.  Prayer isn’t something to be consumed; prayer is to be offered up. Prayer is to be made.

I realize that I may be over thinking it.  It’s just an idiom.  It’s just something we say.   But, as I said, every now and again it’s good to think about those words that are coming out of our mouth.


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