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Spiritual Disciplines 03 – The Lambeth or “African” Prayer2 min read

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This post is part of a series.


When we talk of prayer and spiritual disciplines, we often think of solitary pursuits, not public and cooperative methods of spirituality. But this prayer, created by and used at the decennial assemblies of bishops of the Anglican Communion, convened by the Archbishop of Canterbury, is a corporate discipline.

This assembly of bishops, called the Lambeth Conference, first took place in 1867, and has occurred 14 times. You can read the documents created by every meeting since the original date online. The last meeting was in 2008, and the next will be held in 2018.1

Essentially, bracketed by opening and closing prayer, there are three rounds of Read/Contemplate/Share, where participants progressively get more insight into the passage, not only from their own point of view, but from that of the group. How fun!

The Lambeth Prayer

  1. Opening Prayer: O Blessed Lord, who caused all Holy Scripture to be written for our learning. Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
    > ROUND 1
  2. Read: One person reads passage slowly.
  3. Contemplate: Each person identifies the word or phrase that catches their attention (1 minute).
  4. Share: Each shares the word or phrase around the group (3-5 minutes, NO DISCUSSION).
    > ROUND 2
  5. Read: Another person reads the passage slowly (from a different translation if possible).
  6. Contemplate: Each person identifies where this passage touches their life today (1 minute).
  7. Share: Each shares (3-5 minutes, NO DISCUSSION).
    > ROUND 3
  8. Read: Passage is read a third time (another reader and translation if possible).
  9. Contemplate: Each person names or writes “From what I’ve heard and shared, what do I believe God wants me to do or be? Is God inviting me to change in any way?” (5 minutes)
  10. Share: Each person shares their answer (5-10 minutes, NO DISCUSSION)
  11. Pray: Each prayers for the person on their right, naming what was shared in the other steps (5 minutes).
  1. The Lambeth Conference (official site)[]