Our Common Prayer: A Field Guide to the Book of Common Prayer

Our Common Prayer: A Field Guide to the Book of Common PrayerSummary: A guide to the parts and functions of the book of common prayer service (not really to using the book itself).

Over the past several years I have been paying much more attention to the resources of higher church, especially in the areas of the liturgy.  However, temperamentally and experientially I am still a clearly low church Christian.

Part of what I have been talking about with Spiritual Director has been exactly that.  I have been trying to get back into the practice of fixed hour prayer.  Several years ago, I was able to do that fairly regularly when my oldest niece was an infant (and I was the nanny.)  But then a second niece was born and the naps were no longer overlapping and fixed hour prayer went out the window.

Even before reading Alan Jacob’s Book of Common Prayer: a Biography or reading Susan Howatch’s Church of England series, I was interested in the Book of Common Prayer as a spiritual practice.

When I saw Our Common Prayer: A Field Guide to the Book of Common Prayer in the Kindle Lending Library I picked it up.  It took me a long time to read, not because it was badly written or difficult, but because it was not really what I was looking for.   What I wanted was a very explicit explanation of how to actually use the Book of Common Prayer as an individual.

This was not really that book.  Instead Our Common Prayer was trying to explain the liturgy.  I understand the parts, the theology, the prayers and the structure.  But frankly actually using the book and all the flipping back and forth was my issue.

When I got serious and started looking, I found Daily Office II Morning and Evening Prayer.  It is pretty much everything that I asked for when I was asking for a well formated fixed prayer book on kindle. All of the scripture and prayers and fully in line and written out.  There is no flipping.  The table of contents is by month and day, so you can skip directly to where you want.  The price is reasonable ($4.99) and it is for a whole year.

I also found a streaming audio version of the morning office from the Book of Common prayer so I can follow along if I want.  I do not know if I will keep up doing the Book of Common Prayer.  But I do like that it is scripturally heavy, is about 10-15 minutes with space for extended prayer if I want.  And it includes confession, the Apostles Creed and other historical parts of the liturgy.  It is not the same as actually participating in a real service (as far as I can tell there is no regular morning prayer at an Episcopal church within 15-20 minutes of my house), but it is better than nothing.

Our Common Prayer is a decent book about what the book of common prayer is attempting to do through its liturgy.  But if you are interested in the history, the you should read Alan Jacob’s book.  If you are interested in participating, then I would just get the Daily Office and do it, or follow along with the service online.

Our Common Prayer: A Field Guide to the Book of Common Prayer Purchase Links: Paperback, Kindle Edition

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