Open Letter:

Our Oblate Lay Monks


Image: The Prayer Foundation logo (with white Celtic cross on a green shield).
 

Photo: Celtic cross.

Image: portion of illuminated manuscript page from "The Book of Kells."Photo: of Monk Preston and puppy Monk-Dog Wolfgang.  Copyright 2003 S.G.P.  All Rights Reserved. Monk Preston and friend enjoy God's beautiful Creation, out-of-doors in Oregon.

The Letter We Received:

I am interested in joining your monastic order as an oblate monk.  However, I have a few questions that I would like to ask first.

1.) Do you have any process that you go through in deciding to admit monks into your order, or to advance them from Postulant to Full Lay status?

2.) What do you require or ask of your monks?

3.) Is there anything that you do to personally support the growth of individual monks?

I have always admired the concept of monasticism, but aspects of most orders, such as isolationism and penance, have made that path an impossible one to travel.  Your order is exactly what I have been looking for.  I just want to know what I am getting into before I join.

Thank you for your time, and may God richly bless you.

--Brian B. (New Hampshire)

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Our Reply:

I have always admired the concept of monasticism, but aspects of most orders, such as isolationism and penance, have made that path an impossible one to travel.  Your order is exactly what I have been looking for.  I just want to know what I am getting into before I join.

Re: Penance and Isolationism:

We reject the concept of "penance" as denying the full, complete and final Atonement of Jesus Christ for our sins on the Cross. In Christ's own words: "It is finished." (John 19:30).

We look to the example of Jesus Christ and the Apostles in the New Testament, that we are to be salt and light in the world; preaching the Gospel to a lost world.  We admire those monastics in history, particularly the Irish Celtic Missionary Monks, and Francis of Assisi, who tried to follow these examples and the New Testament teaching in this area.

To Answer Your Three Questions:

1.) Do you have any process that you go through in deciding to admit monks into your order, or to advance them from Postulant to Full Lay status?

 
1.)  We are unique in that we grant Monk Status to our "Oblates."  These are supporters of The Prayer Foundation   who also feel that they are already "monks in their heart", and are interested in an official, formal recognition of this (Re: Monk Wall Certificate & Wallet Card).  You will want to see our Statement of Faith, including Plan of Salvation pages posted on our web site to know where we stand doctrinally.  Oblate advancement is automatic, based only on length of time.  Our Growing In Christ Monastic Training Series is posted on this web site, and includes instruction in many of the Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Faith found in Holy Scripture.  Monastic Status can be revoked at any time if it is brought to our attention that the Oblate is not a practicing Christian in his (or her) daily lifestyle. 
 
Explanatory Note: We are an Interdenominational Christian para-church organization, whose purpose is to promote and encourage growth in prayer life among the Body of Christ, and while so doing to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost world.  We are made up of Evangelical Born-again Christians from various Denominations.  We are not a Church.  Whatever your current Church affiliation (Nazarene, Baptist, Presbyterian, etc.), you remain that.  As stated on our web page, Why Monks?: "All we mean by being a 'monk' is to be a consecrated Christian, especially dedicated to the Word of God and prayer."  To become involved in our ministry is to become more deeply involved in the Word of God and Prayer.

2.) What do you require or ask of your monks?

 
2). The requirements are: A.) that one pray a minimum of 15 minutes per week for the prayer requests received by our 24-Hr. Prayerchain (see our page: Monk Certificate & Card for further details) and lift up this ministry daily in your personal daily prayers.  B.) Also, we ask that new Knights of Prayer Postulant Monks go through our Growing In Christ Monastic Training Series (see following paragraph below for details of what is involved in this).  C.) Support this ministry by making a regular monthly contribution in support of our global outreach ministry of Prayer Teaching and Evangelism.  Unlike most ministries, we do not send out mailings asking for donations or do fund-raising, but only go to the Lord in prayer for the needs of this ministry.  There is a suggested donation to receive the Monk Certificate & Card (thereby making one a supporter of this ministry; in fact, helping make its very existence possible; we limit registration in our Knights of Prayer Monastic Order to those who are supporters of this ministry, both prayerfully and financially).  D.) That those Monks who reside outside of our monastery observe a minimum of "The Basics" of the three Daily Prayer (Hours) per day (of Bible Readings and praying of Psalms from the Bible): The Lord's Prayer, The 23rd Psalm, Psalm 117.  

3.) Is there anything that you do to personally support the growth of individual monks?

 
3.)  The intent and purpose of our entire web site is to promote Christian Growth (in all ways, but especially in personal prayer life) for all Christians.  We invite Postulant, Novice, and Full Lay Monk (Oblates) to observe with us Praying the three Hours of Prayer of our Daily Prayer (Hours).  We require those who live outside of our monastery to observe a minimum of one of the three times of prayer per day (it takes a minimum of about fifteen minutes).  We ask that Postulant Oblates go through the Growing In Christ  Series (including also our Memory Verses pages) which is posted on this web site.  This is part of our official monastic training, and we feel going through it would be beneficial to any Christian.  It includes recommended reading (books like Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis), scripture memorization, and recommended listening to Christian Radio Programs (J. Vernon McGee (Thru The Bible) and The Bible Answer Man (Hank Hanegraaff).  We do not require absolute agreement with everything they teach: for example, Dr. McGee teaches Dispensationalism and Hank Hanegraaff does not believe in this teaching.  As an Interdenominational ministry, we do not take stands on non-essential (to Salvation) doctrine.  We leave decisions regarding non-essentials of the faith up to each individual Christian.  Regarding essential Christian doctrine, we stand in total agreement with both men, and their respective ministries.  

Our web page: Virtual Monastery: Our Web Site, details how we live, and how you may use the Prayer Teaching & Resources on our web site to join us in our daily Christian practice as much or as little as you choose.

The Response to Our Reply:

Knights of Prayer,                                                                                Your Order is exactly the kind of group that I want to be a part of, because you have a passion for living a consecrated life of prayer and ministry.  I am likewise trying to dedicate my life to the same things, focused on God with all other things falling under my service to Him.  I have read your guidelines for growth (Growing In Christ Monastic Training Course) and will strive to follow them and pray that God may make them into lifetime habits that help me grow closer to Him.  

Please Register me as a Lay Monk of your monastic Order.  I look forward to serving our King with you.

In Christ,                                                                                                    Brian B. (New Hampshire)

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Copyright 2003 S.G.P. All rights reserved.