Should the character of prayers at the Breaking of Bread be like the content of a ministry message?
Prayers at the Breaking of Bread should not be like the content of a ministry message. Ministry is the spiritual service of preaching the Word to God’s people and preaching the Gospel to the lost. Prayer at the Breaking of Bread meeting involves worship.
When the Lord Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper He said, “This do in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19). Our prayers should express to God our appreciation of the glorious Person and work of the Lord Jesus as our Creator and Redeemer. Therefore our worship should consist of such subjects as: His creation of the universe by the power of His spoken word, His mighty stoop from the throne of Heaven to the womb of the Virgin, His perfect life and service to God and man which brought such delight to God’s heart, the rejection and shame men heaped upon Him, His infinite suffering and death upon the cross as the Bearer of our sin, and His glorious resurrection and ascension to God’s right hand.
Ministry is a message from God directed manward, whereas public worship is directed God-ward on behalf of the assembly. Both should involve orderly thought, but a consciousness of speaking to God in worship will keep a man from appearing to “teach God knowledge” (Job 21:22).
During prayers in the assembly, is it inappropriate for others to read their Bible, etc.
Collective gatherings are to collective edification. Corinthians 14:12-16 clearly shows that the whole gathered company should be edified by the assembly prayers. This passage indicates that even the unlearned person, who was not part of “the whole church” (v. 23) should benefit from public prayer and be able to “say Amen at thy giving of thanks” (v. 16).
The brother who prays audibly is leading the whole company. Thus the apostle exhorts that all should be able to understand the one who is taking public part. Failure to understand this will allow a believer to be distracted from following the prayer of others. We should scrupulously avoid anything that turns out thoughts from a spiritual under standing of another believer’ prayers. All spiritual activity in our gatherings should have on undivided attention.
The tendency of human nature is to grow accustomed to our privileges as time passes. Hence it is easy to lose the wonder of divine grace that ever brought us into the company of the redeemed. A heart felt appreciation of our blessed Lord and the cost of our redemption will help us give our full attention to spiritual activity in assembly gatherings.
Does giving thanks for the bread and cup differ from other prayers at the Lord’s Supper?
When believers gather to break bread on the first day of the week, it is an opportunity to call to remembrance the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 11:24, 25), His deity, incarnation, holy life and testimony, the efficacy of His death and glorious resurrection, His ascension to heaven, and His present position seated at the right hand of God. The words of the Lord Jesus were, “This do in remembrance of Me,” not, “This do in remembrance of My death.” In the Lord’s Supper, we remember the Lord and proclaim His death. The consequence of this causes worship and thanksgiving. Although the Breaking of Bread is never called a “worship meeting,” worship is the normal attitude of the individual believer toward God.
In 1 Corinthians 10:16, the apostle writes, “The cup of blessing which we bless” and “the bread which we break.” This is the act of each individual believer. On behalf of the assembly, a brother gives thanks for the bread and the cup, thanking God that He gave His Son in a human body and His Son’s blood was shed to make propitiation for sin. These prayers of thanksgiving have a more specific focus than do the other expressions of worship.
Does the Bible address the speech and dress of those speaking in the assembly?
Two principles guide us: those who speak are speaking for God (1 Peter 4: 11); men like Elijah and John the Baptist, who spoke for God, dressed accordingly. Their clothing (2 Kings 1:8; Matthew 3:4) was not luxurious (Matthew 11:8) but rough (Zechariah 13:4), not reflecting the current trends but the character of their message. They were neither fashion plates or non-conformists. John preached repentance; his locale, locust diet, and leather girdle underlined this.
Clerical garb enhances position; flamboyant style flaunts personality; luxurious clothing exalts wealth; informal dress disparages reverence. Each of these in its own way dishonors Christ.
Nowadays, stiff formality may be distasteful to some and off-handedness or slang may appeal to others. However, such informality in our language and in our appearance conforms to the current spirit that belittles authority; it is therefore unsuitable for ministry and gospel preaching. Both the messenger and his message must underscore God’s presence and the weight of speaking for God.