“In Thy Light Shall We See Light:” the Prayer for Illumination in the Reformed Liturgical Tradition
This dissertation examines the liturgical history and practice of the Reformed tradition in offering prayers for illumination. As a theological category, illumination with regard to Scripture has long been understood as an aspect of the economic activity of the third Person of the Trinity: “God hath revealed [the things of God] unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (1 Cor. 2:10). Further, while the instinct to pray for the Spirit’s illumining prior to reading Scripture predates the Reformed tradition (Serapion of Thumis, Augustine, et al.), it become liturgically formalized in the sixteenth century by the Reformed churches, cannibalizing the rubrical location of the Latin collects, and becoming inexorably bound to its liturgical life. Yet, as the Reformed tradition expanded and spread, the distinctiveness of the Spirit’s illumining activity in contemporary prayers for illumination became underemphasized. By reconnecting the Reformed practice of offering prayers for illumination to the theological understanding of illumination, vis-à-vis the constructive dogmatic work of John B. Webster, this study argues for a new set of criteria for assessing and composing prayers for illumination. These criteria are necessary so that this prayer form might effectively catechize the Reformed assembly in the richness of its pneumatology as it gathers to hear the Word.
PHD in Theology
Johnson, Todd E.
Prayer, Reformed Church, History, Liturgy
Missions and World Christianity
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