Prayer in Elizabethan English

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Rev. Joshua, Aug 13, 2002.

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When I lead in worship I ...

  1. always pray using Elizabethan English.

    16.7%
  2. sometimes pray using Elizabethan English.

    64.6%
  3. pray in the same manner that I normally speak.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. do not speak English at all.

    18.8%
  5. [skip] I do not lead in worship.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Rev. Joshua

    Rev. Joshua
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    I attended a funeral recently during which I heard something that struck me as rather odd. The celebrant (a seminary-trained, ordained baptist minister) prayed in a kind of Elizabethan English similar to that found in the King James Bible. I've heard this a couple of times from lay people in rural churches, but not in a long time.

    How many of you do this when you pray?

    Joshua

    P.S. For those of you looking for an example, here you go:

    I might pray: "Most holy God, help us to hear your voice..."

    whereas the gentleman I heard the other day might pray: "Father, let us hear Thy voice..."
     
  2. Serving Him

    Serving Him
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    I am a pastor and I don't pray in Elizabethan English. However, I have two people in the congregation who always pray in Elizabethan (King James) english.
     
  3. Jim1999

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    Frankly, I don't try to pray in 1611 English, and when I do, it doesn't seem strange because I am English. In fact, I must force myself to pray in street English and then find myself slipping between the two.
    Part of it is my age, and part, perhaps, has to do with my use of the KJV.
    More, it has to do with my views of an awesome God. I can't use a buddy-buddy language in addressing the most High Father.
    Now Cockney English would sound very strange to you, but quite normal in East London. The same is true of 1611 language, it sounds more normal with an English accent.
    The most important thing is to pray, not how we pray. I started seminary training in 1946. Perhaps if I graduated to-day, I would use street English. At any rate, street English is more common in America: USA and Canada. It troubles me more when someone preaches in prayer rather than praying; it becomes more like preying.

    Cheers in the Lord,

    Jim
     
  4. Son of Consolation

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    What's wrong with praying in the EE (Elizabethan English)? The English is second language to me, and when I came to the US back in 1962 the first Bible a friend gave me was the KJV and I happened to grow up on it. And since our pastor was also praying in the EE, that is how I learned to pray. As a result, I couldn't change now even if I wanted to because it would sound so strange to me praying the street English..

    One another thing I found strange. I always am amazed when I hear pastors preach KJVO-ism, yet when they pray they pray NIV! :D
     
  5. Kiffin

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    Did anyone see the movie The Apostle where the apostle E.F. (Robert Duvall's character)would constantly pray the scriptures from the KJV? When he came upon the car wreck at the beginning of the movie, he prayed Eziekiel 16:6 from the KJV and before he preached his first sermon he prayed John 3:34 from the KJV. Just a few examples.
     
  6. jmbertrand

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    When I was growing up (in Louisiana), I heard quite a few people pray this way, particularly older ones. They did not really use Elizabethan English, but they substituted 'thee,' 'thou,' and 'thy' for their modern equivalents. What made it interesting is that only some of them had unconsciously absorbed the archaic tenses from reading the KJV, and the others were prone to say things like, "We praise thou," and "Thee art so good to us."

    In a church that uses the KJV in worship, these prayers do not seem as incongruous as they otherwise would. If they flow from an immersion in Scripture, the archaic expressions are understandable. More often than not, though, it's traditional -- you're accustomed to addressing men as 'you' and God as 'Thee.'

    Mark
     
  7. Speedpass

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    doesn't the doctrine of the Priesthood of the Believer enable us to pray to God in our own Tongue, whether or not we use "Elizabethan English"?!?
     
  8. Rev. Joshua

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    Jimmy, of course it does. It just sounds bizarre to me since I'm unfamiliar with it.

    I'm not criticizing the practice, simply wondering how widespread it is.

    Joshua
     
  9. Kiffin

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    Josh,

    I have friends in the Reformed Episcopal Church who use the 1928 Book of Common Prayer though they are soon replacing it with the 1662 Prayer Book. Both of these Prayer books use Elizabethan English. So I quess the practice is pretty widespread in both liturgical and non liturgical churches. [​IMG]
     
  10. Rev. Joshua

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    We use the 1979 for that reason.

    I can understand the Elizabethan English for liturgy somewhat better (although I think it's a bit pretentious). It makes no sense to me at all for extemporaneous prayer.

    Joshua
     
  11. TomVols

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    A lot of people do this in what iAlistair Begg calls the "Language of Zion." I don't do it.

    Doesn't this shine light on the fact that we do have a lot of jargon which we assume everyone knows or must use in order to be truly Godly? Almost Gnostic isn't it? :D For instance, we assume people know what we mean when we say the "WMU will be having a pounding" or praying for "traveling mercies." People should not have to crawl over an unnecessary subculture of our own traditional comfort, constructed by the generations, in order to hear and believe the Word of God. However, some go to the extreme and cut out "propitiation" and "atonement" and "inerrancy" which they should not do because these are Biblically necessary terms.
     
  12. TomVols

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    At seminary I had a Russian and a Korean student with whom I met with for prayer. They often prayed in their native tongue. It was a remarkable experience for this country boy from the mountains of East Tennessee! :cool:
     
  13. just-want-peace

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    Years ago I always prayed publicly in EE ; normal conversation privately!
    I remember one time in SS I was listening to another pray (EE), and for some reason it just smacked me upside my head that, for me, this was not realistic.
    I realized that God knew my heart, so whether I was formal (EE) or normal, He knew what I meant. This was like some kind of release for me that I no longer had to use a tongue so alien to my being!
    I've always had a hard time verbalizing my thoughts anyway, so this change helped me greatly!
     
  14. Bible-belted

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    Lord, I prayest that thou mightest openest the ears of these thy children, for none seemeth to understandeth whateth is being saideth...

    :D
     
  15. DocCas

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    Well, it seems to me that you don't understand the purpose of the "est" and "eth" endings! [​IMG]

    No ending = first person
    est ending = second person
    eth ending = third person

    [​IMG]
     
  16. ChristianCynic

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    Hast thou no senseth of humoreth?
     
  17. Bible-belted

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    Well, it seems to me that you don't understand the purpose of the "est" and "eth" endings! [​IMG]

    No ending = first person
    est ending = second person
    eth ending = third person

    [​IMG]
    </font>[/QUOTE]Ya, my Elizabethan grammar stinks.

    But I'll tell ya, this calls to mind a question I asked a miister once. i was studying Greek, and was thinking about Hebrew, and the minister suggested I learn Latin, and now there's this Elizabethan language...

    Well what I asked him was this: "how many dead languages does a guy gotta know to minister to God's people anyway??"
     
  18. Jim1999

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    Latreia:

    Well what I asked him was this: "how many dead languages does a guy gotta know to minister to God's people anyway??"

    Considering we have enough dead ministers in pulpits now.....I suppose one more dead language won't hurt

    Jim
     
  19. SaggyWoman

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    I grew up occasionally hearing the El. Eng. prayer. But, the other day, I heard someone praying like that, and I had to open my eyes and look because it had been 20 years, it seems that I had heard someone pray like that.

    Actually, now that I think about it, my retired pastor here sometimes prays like that.
     
  20. church mouse guy

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    Elizabethan English is very beautiful to me.
     

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