Beautified by Celestial Prayer

From Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, V:25 (1597).

Concerning the place of assembly, although it serves other purposes, our Lord himself has made it and sanctified it above all a “House of Prayer.” The chief dignity, then, comes from this common prayer. The most serious and ancient church fathers teach that the house of prayer is a court, beautified by celestial prayer. There we stand, we pray, we sound forth hymns to God, having his angels among us… It is true that worship of God is acceptable not because of the place but because of our hearts – consider Moses in the Red Sea, Job on the dunghill, Hezekiah in bed, Jeremiah in the mire, Jonah in the whale, Daniel in the den, the children in the furnace, the thief on the cross, and Peter and Paul in prison… Notwithstanding, the pace of worship can stir up within us devotion and provoke our holiness and best actions in worship… Therefore there is no better place as churches for the worship of God.

Richard Hooker (1554-1600) was an English priest and scholar. He served in several London churches, including as master of the Temple Church, and as a parish priest in Kent. His Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, a defense of the Elizabethan Settlement against Puritan objections, is a foundational text for Anglican theology, especially in its treatment of liturgy, ecclesiology, and revelation. He is commemorated on November 3 on the calendars of several Anglican churches. 


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