Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Virtual Prayer Books

Two of yesterday's commenters said that that they had just read the story of the ten virgins, because they were following along with the Advent readings found at this site. So I checked it out, and sure enough, listed there are the Scripture readings prescribed by the Anglican Book of Common Prayer!

If anyone else is interested in reading a cycle of Scripture throughout the year that pertains to the liturgical season of the church (i.e. Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, etc.), there are several sites (listed in my sidebar under "Links") that are essentially virtual prayer books. All but the first include daily readings from the Old and New Testaments, a Gospel, and the Psalms, along with beautifully worded "Collects" or prayers, which take you through an annual theological cycle. There is a daily rhythm as well--an opening verse, a confession of sin, verses of praise, etc.

The nice thing about these sites is that they include the Scripture readings--no precious minutes wasted searching for where you left your Bible or looking up the passages. (Especially if you're trying to squeeze in a quiet time before the kids wake up!)

One of the simplest versions is The Divine Hours, an abridged and adapted form of the Book of Common Prayer. This page updates every few hours, with Scripture and a few prayers. These are very short services intended for prayer and Scripture reading several times a day. (They do NOT include the full cycle of Scripture readings known as the lectionary or the Daily Office.)

I made this site my home page on my laptop, so whenever I sit down here, I am reminded to pray before I do anything else. (One caveat: I haven't explored the rest of this site.)

The other versions are both more extensive variations from the Book of Common Prayer (or England's version of it, called the Book of Common Worship). If you're just looking for the Scripture readings, use this site (called Morning and Evening Prayer in my sidebar). Click on "Today's Prayer Service," and then scroll down to anything that says "Reading." (There are three--the OT, NT and the Gospel.)

If you'd like to see all the readings and prayers without clicking, try the sites from Common Worship (listed in my sidebar as Morning Prayer, Prayer During the Day, Evening Prayer, and Compline or Bedtime Prayer--the perfect prayers and reading to end the day).

Morning and Evening Prayer, however, will guide you more fully through petitions and intercessions. As a busy mom focused on my own family and its activities, I need the prompts to help pray for other parts of the world, for the Church at large, for the human race--and even to pray for myself better than just asking for help with the tasks of the day.

This wouldn't be the words I would find, but isn't this exactly what one SHOULD pray for oneself?

Almighty and eternal God, so draw our hearts to you, so guide our minds, so fill our imaginations, so control our wills, that we may be wholly yours, utterly dedicated unto you; and then use us, we pray you, as you will, and always to your glory and the welfare of your people; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

And for others?:

God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

I should mention that the Daily Office, in its complete form, will take you through the book of Psalms once a month. It is said that the Psalms contain a complete theology. The Psalter was so important to the early church that in order to become a bishop or overseer, you had to have the entire Psalter memorized!

So go check 'em out, and make one your home page!

Thanks to Tonia at Intent and Ann V. at Holy Experience of Listening for first bringing The Divine Hours site to my attention, to my friend Nancy B. who first showed me the Morning and Evening Prayer site (Mission of St. Clare), and to John H. at Confessing Evangelical, who had the Common Worship links in his sidebar and gave me the idea to do the same and write this post!

Oh, and I have to recommend Confessing Evangelical's Advent post. (He keeps talking about collects in it; a collect is a prayer that collects all the themes of the service or season.) Enjoy!


John H said...

Thanks for the links! And a happy St Nicholas' day! :-)

Anonymous said...

I will have to really take a look at the Divine Hours. I saw it on Ann's blog awhile back...but haven't really put much time into reading and checking it out.