Commentary On The Rule:
by Monk Preston
See also: The Rule of Monk Preston
The monastic Rule of our Order begins "We" because we are a worlwide Community of like-minded Christian Lay Monks. We stand daily in prayer and practice with all of the many hundreds of brother and sisters of The Prayer Foundation ™ Knights of Prayer ™ Monks around the world. ________________________________________________
Our Mission: "To Promote Prayer among all Christians and Proclaim Christ to the World!" ________________________________________________
The Celtic Cross Rule of Seven
One Desire, Four Goals, Two Devotions.
Draw near to God.
Right Belief, Right Life, Right Witness, Right Ministry.
Prayer and the Word of God.
Prayer and God's Word
Our One Desire is to draw nearer to God, to have more of Christ. We attain this desire through the Two Devotions; Prayer and the Word of God.
The ministry of the Word is both to us; as our necessary daily nourishment ("Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God." Matthew 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3) and through us; as we share with others, including being a part of fulfilling Christ's Great Commission (Mark 16:15).
We pray in common with each other, and many other Christians, The Three-fold Daily Prayers. It is the particular practice of our Order to pray together The Lord's Prayer, The 23rd Psalm, and Psalm 117 at these times.
Born Again, Celtic, Franciscan
Upon arising, we pray St. Patrick's Breastplate prayer, for we are Celtic Monks, a Celtic Monastic Order, looking to the lives of St. Patrick and the ancient Celtic monastics (5th-11th centuries) for inspiration. They were early Christians, immersed in prayer and monastic lifestyle while being evangelically missionary minded. There was at one time, before the Great Schism and the Protestant Reformation, an undivided Church. This early time is the heritage of all believers. Both the early Church Fathers and the ancient Celtic monks belong to all Christians.
Ancient Celtic Christians were pre-Protestant, yet neither Roman Catholic nor Eastern Orthodox. They were orthodox (small "o"), catholic (small "c") Nicene Faith, Mere Christianity Christians, and we stand with them in this, for we are also.
Before retiring, we pray Lord, Make Me an Instrument of Thy Peace, for we are Franciscan in spirit (see: Born Again, Celtic, Franciscan), greatly inspired by the life of St. Francis as he followed our Lord in his own life.
One of the easiest ways to explain to others what we are doing is to say that we are a Franciscan Lay Order. For Protestants: "a Protestant Franciscan Lay Order."
Regular Times of Prayer
One daily hour of private, personal prayer anchors our day, even as Christ anchors our lives. It is the joy of our lives, and a beautiful daily Sabbath hour during which all outside problems, demands, and distractions on our time cease, and we need only sit at Christ's feet and rest in his presence.
The Celtic Cross
The Ring of the Celtic Cross, without beginning or end, can symbolize Eternity, the Eternal, and therefore the Triune God, the Creator. It can also represent the Circle of Life, all of God's creation, which many of the ancient pagans, and many contemporary non-believers, have often mistaken for God Himself, confusing that which is created with the Creator.
Therefore, the Ring of the Celtic Cross is a reminder of our conversion experience of repenting, believing in, and receiving Christ as our personal Lord and Savior. For Christianity begins, and continues for Eternity, with Christ, the only eternally begotten Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity. It is a reminder to all in our Order of the great truth, and our One Desire:
"Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you." -James 4:8
This One Desire is attained through the Two Devotions of Prayer and the Word of God:
"But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word." -Acts 6:4
We use the four arms of the Cross to symbolize and remind us of our Four Goals in the Christian life. Four areas that all together comprise the totality of our life in Christ. These are:
Right Belief, Right Life, Right Witness, Right Ministry.
The Scripture Verse the Four Goals are based on is:
"For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding ( Right Ministry); That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing ( Right Life), being fruitful in every good work (Right Witness), and increasing in the knowledge of God (Right Belief);" -Colossians 1:9-10
New Testament Greek Terms for the Four Goals
The four New Testament Greek terms for the Four Goals of Right Belief, Right Life, Right Witness, and Right Ministry are: orthodoxy (or orthodoxia), orthozoe, orthomartus, and orthodiakonia. The word ortho in Greek means right; doxy (or doxia) means belief; zoe means life; martus means witness; and diakonia means ministry.
"...and increasing in the knowledge of God;" -Colossians 1:10
"That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing," -Colossians 1:10
"...being fruitful in every good work," -Colossians 1:10
"For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;" -Colossians 1:9
Christ and Christianity
Christianity, as has been said, is a relationship. With God through a Person, Christ, and you either have received Him as your Lord and Savior or you haven't.
Our only access to return to the Eternal God is through the Cross, by Christ's Death, Resurrection, and the offering of His shed blood on Heaven's Altar, before the very Throne of God. For,
"Without the shedding of blood there is no remission." -Hebrews 9:22
Remission means forgiveness, and refers here specifically to God's forgiveness of sin; of our sins.
The Two Devotions
The two devotions of Prayer and the Word of God (Acts 6:4) are the primary means The Holy Spirit anoints and uses in our accessing of Christ, the one and only mediator between God and both a lost world, and all of us who are believing Christians (I Timothy 2:5; John 14:6).
We speak to God through prayer; God speaks to us through His Word. We are a ministry of prayer, both of practicing prayer in our daily lives, and of teaching ourselves and others about prayer. We look to the entirety of God's Revelation of the Holy Scriptures for His teaching on prayer, but find the Book of Psalms, as God's own practical handbook on specifically how to pray, to be particularly precious to us.
When we pray the Psalms, we are taught about prayer informatively, practically, and experientially. As we pray the Psalms, we are speaking to God, and He is speaking to us at exactly the same time. For the Psalms are prayers; they are also songs; and they are absolutely and completely God's Word.
Praying 5 Psalms per day, whether divided among The Threefold Daily Prayers or during our One Daily Hour Prayer, or at any other time, results in praying through all 150 Psalms each month. Praying the Book of Psalms is the way to experience God's practical handbook on how to pray; learning through the "hands on" experience of actually praying; seeing how the great believers of the Old Testament like David actually prayed, using the very words that they used.
The greatest emphasis of our primarily Lay Monastic Order is on the "main and plain" teachings of Holy Scripture, what the Puritan Richard Baxter and C. S. Lewis have referred to as "mere Christianity." As a ministry, we stress sound basic doctrinal teaching, godly and holy living and lifestyle, and Christ's Great Commission of reaching the entire world with the good news of His Gospel. We also emphasize maintaining a constant, moment by moment communion with the Father through the Son and the Holy Spirit, in following God's Will for our lives right now, today.
How Can God be Made to Seem Boring?
Those who will go off into error, having "itching ears," find the main and plain teachings of Scripture to be "boring." Those who would cleave to Christ find these same main and plain teachings to be the very essence of God's Revelation to mankind, an infinite treasure house whose depth can never be fully disclosed or reached.
Many non-Christians today claim that what they don't like about "the Church" (or Christians) is shallowness, superficiality, and hypocrisy. The great failing of much of the organizational Church is that it has made God seem boring and irrelevant to their lives.
An infinite Godhead, the Creator of all that exists, His infinite Revelation given to us in the Word of God; how could any of these great truths possibly be made to seem boring?
Yet this is what has been done. Take away daily immersion in the Word of God, in the living Christ, in the living Holy Spirit, in communion with the Father, and what is left? Only a poor, pathetic, deluded man-made religion. It is indeed boring, for there is nothing left in it of real Christianity, that is, of Christ Himself.
Let Us Repent
A great failing of much of the organized Church, and also of all of us who are Christians, is that we are too much of the world.
Let us repent: daily, hourly, by the moment; and pray for His grace.
"Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." -I Thessalonians 5:16-18
"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." -Romans 12:2
-Monk Preston, January 21, 2010; The Season of Epiphany
Copyright © 2010 S.G.P. All rights reserved.