Anglican Moment: Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi

Anglican Moment: Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi

man praying at sundownIf you want to know what a Presbyterian believes you will need to read the Westminster Confession of Faith, a lengthy treatise on Presbyterian doctrine. For Lutherans, you will turn to the Augsburg Confession. Dutch Reformed have the Heidelberg Confession. Baptists have the London Confession and “The Baptist Faith and Message.” But what about Anglicans?

Someone once said, “If you want to know what we believe as Anglicans, listen to what we pray.” At the center of Anglican faith and practice is the Prayer Book because her heart is prayer.

Long before there were dueling protestant confessions, a man by the name of Prosper of Aquitaine, said “legem credenda lex statuat supplicandi,” which is to say, “The Law of prayer determines the law of belief.” Today, we have shortened that statement to its abbreviated form Lex Orandi Lex Crendendi. Prayer determines belief. In other words, what you pray will soon become what you believe and what you believe is most clearly demonstrated by what you pray.

This is another reason that prayer is so important. If prayer shapes our faith then we must learn to pray rightly so that we may believe the truth. This is exactly why the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. They knew that right faith, strong faith is determined by right and strong prayer. Jesus answered their request by giving them the Liturgical prayer, “Our Father…”

The principle of faith flowing from prayer was at the heart of the early Church. Long before the New Testament had been written, the Church was a thriving faith-filled community. Faith was increasing and spreading like a wildfire – even without the Bible. How? Through the prayer of the Church.

The Liturgical prayer of the early Eucharist service imparted the faith to those who joined in the prayers. Through the act of prayerful thanksgiving, those who prayed were shaped by the knowledge of all the basics of Christian belief – the mighty acts of God, the atoning work of Christ and the exaltation of man to the throne of God. All this came to us first through prayer. This principle has proven true across the centuries. Nothing has shaped the Church so much as her prayer.

And nothing has the power to shape individual lives so much as when they join in the prayer of the Church. I encourage everyone to consider this principle of Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi – the law of prayer determines the law of faith. If you want to know what an Anglican believes, listen to what we pray. If you want to be an Anglican, then let us pray! (Written by The Rev. Bradley Cunningham)

Comments are closed.
%d bloggers like this: