The Prayer Book

The book of Common Prayer is a book of services, prayers and scripture. It is an "anamnesis," that is, a remembering. (The word "amnesia" means to forget.) So long as it is used in services of private and public worship, the Christian message will be faithfully remembered and preserved. Through the years it has been revised in order to be flexible to changing language and culture, but the core messages and structure it contains have remained consistently intact.

But why is so lovely and literary a collection of prayers and scripture called "common"? The word common was once used to mean "regular, or in cycles." "Common" also means that everybody does something together, or in common. The Book of Common Prayer is designed for the regular, week to week services and events of a worshiping community. It may be used for personal devotion, but its chief use is for all the people when they are gathered together for worshiping.

When we close a service with "Let us bless the Lord," followed by the response, "Thanks be to God," we are saying words that have been said by Christians since before the seventh century. When we hear the words of Eucharistic prayer C, "...the vast expanse of interstellar space, galaxies, suns, the planets in their courses..." we know that only a twentieth century person can say such a thing. The Book of Common Prayer continues to speak to us about the changeless; however it does so in the changing local language adapted to our time and place.

The formation of The Book of Common Prayer is the story of our own history as a church. It is also the expression of a type of spirituality which is down-to-earth, inclusive of others, and deeply responsive to the Holy. 

Our Patient Merciful God
The Bible and the Gospel speak of God's great mercy for us ...

(Click title to read more)