The Friends' (Quaker) Practice of Open Worship
During Open Worship Time, each worshiper is encouraged to wait patiently and quietly before the Lord. In doing this, we become a corporate Body listening to its Head. (Eph 4:15-16; Col 1:17-20)
Beginning with Silence:
- Center Down in reverential silence by letting God cleanse our minds and hearts from worries and cares and asking Him to clear our minds of anything that would prevent us from hearing His Voice.
- Wait Upon the Lord by listening for God’s voice within your heart. Seek to be quiet, surrendered, and attentive to God. Then permit your heart to be led in whatever way the Spirit directs you.
- Communicate the Desires of Your Heart to God. If you are joyful, praise and thank Him. If you are guilty, confess your sin and estrangement to Him. If you are anxious, ask for His guidance, strength, and peace. Partake of the spiritual substance of Christ presence.
Vocal Ministry that is Helpful:
- Spontaneous words of joy, praise, thanksgiving, and adoration to the Lord.
- Simple words of witness or testimony, sharing the workings of the Spirit in your own life or the congregation’s life.
- Honest confession of sin can have a humbling and healing effect on the whole congregation.
- Words of encouragement, speaking perhaps from some Scripture passage or personal concern, prophetically declaring God’s specific message for His people.
- Prayer that arises out of the needs and wants of the worshipping community. This is a prayer for the Body.
- A passage of Scripture, selected on an inner impression from the Spirit, and read clearly and effectively.
- A hymn or song appropriate for the moment. It can be sung either by an individual or by the whole congregation.
When Someone Breaks the Silence:
When another person speaks or shares, listen to the Spirit speaking through her/him. At first someone else’s voice may appear to be a disturbing interruption to your own train of thought, but listen hard to what God might want to say to you and the congregation through that which is spoken. Be sensitive to how God wants you to respond. Perhaps it will be vocally or it may simply be in silent prayer and thought.
- Stand up when you speak or pray.
- Face the congregation.
- Speak audibly and distinctly.
- Let God’s Spirit discipline your mind.
- Let your words be few and full.
- Speak directly to the point of the Spirit’s leading.