Book of Common Prayer


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Why call it “Common Prayer”?

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What's wrong with the 2019 Prayer Book?

Yes, please send reminders to. This plan was paused on. Log in to read this reading plan and: Have reminders sent directly to your email Record your reading progress Pause your plan any time to read at your own pace. Unpause and Continue Reading Log In. A collect is a short prayer made up of an invocation, petition, and conclusion. There are collects covering all sorts of occasions and events including Holy days and the celebration of the lives of Saints. Page In the Episcopal Church, it is common to be baptized as a young infant - though adults can be Baptized too. The Prayer Book provides a form of words to be used when someone is not sure if they've already been baptized Conditional Baptism , and even an Emergency Baptism, which can be performed by any baptized person both can be found on page The celebration of Christ's sacrifice for us, by the partaking of bread and wine.

Several variants of the of Holy Communion service are provided. Pages Confirmation is performed by the bishop of the diocese, and represents the adult acceptance and reaffirmation of their Baptismal vows. Pages The complete marriage service. If you wish to be married at Christ Church, the service is set out here. Prayers for the sick, their caregivers, for those in pain, and those recovering from illness.

All sorts of celebrations, including the ordination of the clergy, and dedication and consecration of a church. A complete set of psalms - the 'hymns' or poetry, if you prefer, included in the Old Testament of the Bible.

Bible Reading Plans - Book of Common Prayer - NIV - Today's Reading

If you want a really definitive definition of the Episcopal Faith, this is where to look. Lots of tables and dates to tell us whom should be celebrated when, and what scripture should be read on any given day. How do people use the Prayer Book? Here are some favorites: The Daily Devotions starting on page , and the Prayers and Thanksgivings that can be found starting on page there's a useful list of the prayers on page Contents Here's a quick run through the Prayer Book.

Collects Pages Liturgies for Special Days Pages Baptism Page The Prayer Book provides a form of words to be used when someone is not sure if they've already been baptized Conditional Baptism , and even an Emergency Baptism, which can be performed by any baptized person both can be found on page Holy Communion Pages Confirmation Pages Confirmation is performed by the bishop of the diocese, and represents the adult acceptance and reaffirmation of their Baptismal vows. For people like Milton, the very existence of any kind of prayer book is offensive.

To take up another issue that people have had, you begin the first chapter of your book by writing that the " Book of Common Prayer came into being as an instrument of social and political control," and you show that it stayed that way for a long time. Is that all it was, or was there more to it? Well, certainly Cranmer would have said that there's more to it, and being an Anglican myself I would agree. But it's easy to understand that those people who were compelled against their will and conscience to worship according to the words and rubrics of the BCP wouldn't have been inclined to take so generous a view of the matter.

What would you say are the strengths of the historic prayer book tradition?

Common Prayer? More like complicated prayer!

More specifically, speaking as an evangelical Anglican yourself, what do you think evangelicals can learn from it? In making his prayer book, Thomas Cranmer wanted to make sure that the people of England were constantly exposed to Holy Scripture in a language they understood, working through the whole of the Bible regularly and the Psalms every month, while following a calendar that rehearsed in every church year the whole story of salvation starting with the Fall and culminating in Christ's unique sacrifice of himself on the Cross and his glorious resurrection, the benefits of which we are not worthy to receive on any merits of ours—"we are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs from under Thy table"—but only through the purest grace extended on the basis of Christ's unique status as Lord and Savior.

Shifting gears a bit, part of the story that you tell is that the Book of Common Prayer has often had difficulty serving as a genuinely common book of prayer for a church with significant internal differences. For instance, you tell how in the Victorian era, riots broke out and ministers went to jail over things as apparently insignificant as putting candlesticks on the altar. What led to such passionate struggles?

That's a tough one to put briefly, but basically it was a very deeply rooted contention between those who saw Anglicanism as Reformed Protestantism through-and-through—for whom, often enough, Catholicism was something frighteningly Other—and those who longed for reconnection with ancient Catholic practices, if not with the authorities at Rome.


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The former group tended to see every cloud of incense and every candlestick on what they would call the "table" not the "altar" as a sign that the Reformation had not been victorious after all, and that English Christianity might well sink into a fog of superstition. You end your book on a note of soft lament, in essence saying that the Book of Common Prayer may no longer exist as a living book, save for a few.

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What do you mean by that? What have we lost? Thomas Cranmer wanted one book and one liturgical "use" for one country.

He wanted English folk to be able to go into any church in England on any given day and experience the same worship service in the same words. For a long time this desire of Cranmer's was indeed realized—and more, it was possible to go into what came to be known as "Anglican" churches all over the world and hear the same beautiful cadences, which was something I doubt Cranmer ever expected. He was making a prayer book for his country, and expected that Christian worship in other countries would develop in varying ways according to those places' liturgical requirements.

And indeed this is what happened. Every Anglican province in the world eventually decided that it needed its own prayer book—and as time went by and the English language altered and took various forms in various places, Anglicans felt that they needed to update those books. I don't think that any of this would have surprised or even disappointed Cranmer—but it is a little sad nonetheless, because there is for many of us satisfaction in saying the same words that our predecessors in the Christian faith said.

Any nostalgia I feel for that old prayer book is closely related to the way many Catholics feel about the old Latin Mass, or many Christians throughout the English-speaking world feel about the King James Bible. Cranmer himself would, I'm sure, understand this nostalgia.


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  • But he would probably urge us to get over it. Already a subscriber? Log in to continue reading.

    The Book of Common Prayer

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