During the next several weeks our class at church will be reading and thinking about prayer (and praying too), so I will be sharing some of what comes from that reading/thinking/praying here.
Let me start by mentioning something that is missing from the material we will be using. I did not see anything mentioned about the Latin phrase, lex orandi, lex credendi.
I have seen the phrase translated “the law of prayer [is] the law of belief.” I prefer the translation, “as we pray, so we believe.” What seems even better to me is, lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi, which I take as, “as we pray, so we believe, so we live.”
Should we take this to mean that for everyone prayer/worship must precede belief, which must precede how we live? I don’t think so. I think it reminds us about balance. It is so easy for me to let things get out of balance and overemphasize one thing to the neglect of others. Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi reminds me that these three flow one into another. Each must find its place in my life. At times I see this phrase as if written on the rim of a wheel. As different parts of the wheel touch the ground at different times, so orandi/credendi/vivendi touch the ground at different times as I go through life, but all touch the ground at some point.
Some enter the life of faith by prayer, some by belief some by living, but once the life of faith is entered that life will eventually touch and be touched by all three. The danger is that we sometimes emphasize one (or two) to the neglect of the other(s). From where I stand now and look back over my journey of faith, I see that for many years I put so much energy and emphasis into belief, I had little energy (or interest) left over for the other aspects of the journey. During that time, I might have thought about prayer and read about prayer, but let “thinking” become a substitute for prayer. At another time, I was in a community that was “into action” and “doing what we as Christians must do.” Don’t misunderstand me, there is much we need to do, but at that time in my journey I was so into doing things that I not only minimized prayer and belief, I thought them of secondary importance and at times as unimportant.
How hard is it in life to find balance? At times, it has been very hard for me.
Maybe a little Latin, lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi, can remind us of the importance of the right kind of balance.