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date: 28 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Christian prayer has always been fundamentally ineffable, but in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries it was also thoroughly re-imagined in ways that fostered creative anxiety as well as creative opportunity. The early English reformers had to invent new systems of prayer to replace the Mass and the liturgy of the hours, and had to supplement and adapt the many forms of late medieval personal piety. Basic questions about the words, gestures, place and time of prayer, and the status of prophecy were the subject of intense and fruitful debate, the inspiration for inventive responses in literature, and the source of national and international conflict. This chapter first discusses Protestant definitions of prayer, and then outlines, in brief, the changing modes of public worship, personal prayer and prophecy, focusing on how these dramatic changes spurred poets, prophets, and ordinary people at prayer to invent new forms of religious writing.

Keywords: prayer, prophecy, devotional literature, Psalms, Book of Common Prayer, liturgy, worship, prayerbooks, self-writing

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