Nope, not writing in tongues there, but I will give an interpretation of that title: “the law of praying, the law of believing.” It’s a Latin shorthand to back up the conviction among many streams of Christianity that how we worship instructs and reinforces what we believe. If you want to change the way a congregation believes, don’t go after the statement of faith, change the content and order of worship. It’s pretty practical, and on some level, just plain common sense. But on another level…
…We just like to say that our churches and our beliefs are established by Scripture. And if we are doing that, they are. But it’s an incredible part of the way we’ve been created to acknowledge that how we worship intimately affects how we believe. And for those of us who identify as Pentecostals, it is how we know. Consider this quote from Cheryl Bridges Johns in Pentecostal Formation (35-36):
Scripture itself is clear that there is a unity in the nature of ultimate reality (God) and the way in which that reality is to be known…a knowing that arises not by standing back to look at, but by active and intentional engagement in lived experience….
Within the understanding of [the Hebrew word meaning “to know”] yada, if a person knows God, she or he is encountered by the one who lives in the midst of history and who initiates covenant relationships. Knowledge of God, therefore, is measured not by the information one possesses but by hw one is living in response to God. A person is ignorant or foolish not because of the lack of awareness of facts about God but rather because of a failure to do the will of God…
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: In worship, the Spirit is exalting the Son to the glory of the Father. And we get to be there. We’re invited to participate. We’re invited to join in this divine rehearsal and know God the Spirit, know God the Son, and know God the Father — to know God, in part, anticipating the day we will be immersed in the knowledge of Who God is. And our worship is critical to this aim. As Cheryl goes on to write:
Covenant community forms the context for an encounter with God and for an interpretation of the resulting transformation. The covenant God offers to people is a covenant to be the people of God. He dwells in the midst of his people so that the church, being grounded in covenant relations, operates within an epistemology not of detachment and manipulation (which is a result of operating only with facts and principles) but rather of participation and accountability. There is, therefore, the avoidance of privatized subjectivism on the one hand and totalitarian objectivism on the other.
The Christian life is one where we are transformed by our encounter with the grace of a Triune God, who unites us to Himself in an awesome display of love: that Jesus has died, risen and ascended for us and has poured out the Holy Spirit into our hearts, so that our cry is now “Abba, Father!” to this loving God who reconciled us to Himself. So, friends, lex orandi, lex credendi.
How do we worship in a way that will better shape our beliefs? I’d welcome any and all discussion on this and how we can move forward in teaching ourselves better in our corporate worship.