Praying and believing

Lex orandi, lex credendi

Lex orandi, lex credendi (Latin loosely translatable as “the law of prayer is the law of belief”) refers to the relationship between worship and belief, and is an ancient Christian principle which provided a measure for developing the ancient Christian creeds, the canon of scripture and other doctrinal matters based on the prayer texts of the Church, that is, the Church’s liturgy. In the Early Church there were about 69 years of liturgical tradition before there was a creed and about 350 years before there was a biblical canon. These liturgical traditions provided the theological framework for establishing the creeds and canon. Source: Wikipedia

If you want to know what a community believes, listen to how it prays; if you want to know what an individual believes, listen to that person pray. This is my version of the meaning of lex orandi, lex credendi. If we assume a community or an individual is going to be honest when speaking to God, then we listen to the prayers and gain insight into belief. Likewise, the more a community or an individual prays in a certain way, the stronger becomes the belief, belief becomes more mature, better articulated; there is a dynamic interchange between mind and heart and faith in the act of praying.

In Anglicanism, the worship of the people of God plays a very distinctive role, being the principal arena not only of supplication and praise but also of theological experimentation and formulation. This relationship of worship and belief is often discussed under the Latin tag, lex orandi, lex credendi—’the law of praying is the law of belief’.  Source: W. Taylor Stevenson in The study of Anglicanism, John E. Booty, Stephen Sykes, Jonathan Knight, p. 187

Lex orandi, lex credendi: A Latin phrase often used in the study of liturgy, it means “the rule of prayer [is] the rule of belief.” The phrase describes the pervasive pastoral reality that habits of prayer shape Christian belief. Official provisions for worship can thus have a determinative role in shaping Christian doctrine. Source: Glossary of Terms maintained by the Episcopal Church

1124 The Church’s faith precedes the faith of the believer who is invited to adhere to it. When the Church celebrates the sacraments, she confesses the faith received from the apostles – whence the ancient saying: lex orandi, lex credendi (or: legem credendi lex statuat supplicandi, according to Prosper of Aquitaine [5th cent.]) The law of prayer is the law of faith: the Church believes as she prays. Liturgy is a constitutive element of the holy and living Tradition. Source: The Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church

Throughout our study the group will share the prayers that shape our faith and thereby reveal the faith that shapes our prayers. We invite you to share your prayers with others in this (online) Forum.

Author: Daniel Rondeau

I am a husband and father and an Episcopal Priest (from the Diocese of San Diego; "Retired" due to illness).

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