Homework: Daily Prayer and The Book of Common Prayer
Advent Daily Prayer Guide: Week One
Here is a .pdf of the Advent Prayer Guides for Week One with Confession, Prayers, and Readings for each day this week. I am asking the whole parish to try daily prayer, even if for the first time, and yes, I know, we are all too busy to do it. But there you go.
If you are already doing a daily prayer, please continue, especially if you are doing the Daily Offices from the BCP. You can find them on page 75 the Morning Office, Prayer Two, page 103 Noonday, page 115 Evening Prayer, and Compline on 127. I love the Book, but it can be frustrating to work your way through Daily Prayer for the first two or three hundred times. So try these small guides if you are unfamiliar. If you want to try the fuller Daily Office on-line try www.missionstclare.com. It provides a great way to get into the rhythm of the BCP without remembering what Canticles go where.
I want to note that the Guides are based on the BCP, but I have chosen a Confession from the Book of Common Worship: Daily Prayer Compline service because it is written with an implied Absolution rather than needing a separate prayer. I have also used an opening prayer from the same book's Advent Morning Prayer service, and you can see why. It is wonderful.
The Daily Offices are called offices because they are the daily obligations of common life, which is what the word office originally meant. They are our anchors in the daily stream of life, our school of prayer, and our basic rhythm of interaction with Scripture as Sacred text of the soul. Listen for the Word of God at work in the words' work within you.
The class on the Book of Common Prayer begins this week, and I want to invite you to join us by reading the introduction to the BCP. There is this tendency to see our Anglican tradition as a continuation of the catholic tradition, and it is, but it is also very much a Reformation tradition. You can see that in the sheer democracy of the move to put into the hands of each believer the whole resources of the Church. You can be a part of every line of prayer and not be dependent on the clergy or the hierarchy for your life of prayer. It is a remarkable book still. And the great Anglican ideal was that you would have everything you would need as a Christian with a Bible and the Book of Common Prayer.
So carry your Prayer Book and Bible with you. Be a proud follower of Christ in our Episcopal tradition. It will help you find that true vocation in the Rule of God as a citizen of the nation of priests, a beacon of Grace in a world that needs light desperately.
The Episcopal Bookstore (www.episcopalbookstore.com) is a great place to find a BCP and get it embossed. Look for the Reader's Version if you need larger print. You can get one combined with an NRSV Bible, but they have tiny print I have to warn you, or even with a Hymnal, which I carry in services. You can find them all over the place, locally Horizon usually has them. But look for the ones that have the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) because we use it every week for our readings.
This year, don't just be a consumer, but use Advent to become a more faithful follower of Christ, a deeper well of hope, mystery, and justice.