An Acclamation Prayer is very simply a statement: something that you “acclaim” or say to be true.
Unlike a prayer in which there’s some asking going to happen at the end, and unlike a meditative prayer which is sitting in silence and acceptance, this is one that we just get to say something good. And by this, we are also confirming our feelings and beliefs.
If you’re a student of American History, you will remember the most famous (to-date) Acclamation:
We hold these truths to be self-evident…
The most common variant in the Western Christian tradition is found in the Catholic and Anglican (Episcopal) Churches during the communion prayers (the Eucharistic prayers, if you use the big words.) The English translation currently in use from the original Latin texts, is:
(minister) “Therefore we proclaim the Mystery of Faith.”
(all) Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again.”
It is a brief statement of what “we” (all the participants in the prayer) believe. By joining in with the whole body, You are adding your own vote with the crowd that this is what We believe. If you don’t believe it: best not to join in. Better to not speak an acclamation at all than to lie.
The Book of Psalms is full of a bounty of great acclamations, my favorite being the beginning of Psalm 100:
Make a joyful noise unto the Lord,
All ye lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing!
Know ye that the Lord, HE is God;
It is HE who hath made us, and not we ourselves.
WE are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
(paraphrased from the King James Version)
David could crank out some doozies when he was in a good mood!
This is part of the three major types of prayer in the Christian tradition:
- The Acclamation (“God is Good!”) Some regions also refer to this as an Adoration
- Petition and Intercession (“Help me, God!”)
- Thanksgiving (“Thanks, God!”)
The Acclamation is just as useful in one’s daily prayer life as the other two, and can be very helpful in a contemplative practice. On the days when “it” just isn’t going right. In the times that you feel as if you’re leaving a lot of messages on The Maker’s voice mail and your calls aren’t getting returned. And especially on the days when you feel as if you’re the only one, and you wonder if you’re speaking with a singular voice out into a great vast silence.
Some days, it’s good to keep an Acclamation prayer handy as you move out from from your prayer time, to bring your focus back to WHY you are doing this, even when it feels as if you’re not doing something right. It’s a reminder to Make a joyful noise! (anyway.) The healing comes from the repetition of the practice, even on the days you just want to walk away, or scream, or make out your grocery list.
I will add some Acclamation prayers here to help you on those days, and for the times it just feels fun to say, “Thanks God!”
Keep the faith!