Adapted from brochures written by the Episcopal Diocese of Texas
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(Note: Photo is not part of the Texas Brochure)
The Book of Common Prayer
Our current Book of Common Prayer, revised in 1979, was originally compiled by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cramner, in 1549. There are more than 70 million Anglicans (Episcopalians) in 163 countries throughout the world using a Book of Common Prayer in their own language, reflecting our diversity and ethnic backgrounds.
The Book of Common Prayer is a collection of ancient and modern prayers and worship services for occasions when the community gathers and for individual use as well. It allows everyone to participate, reminding us that each person is an important part of the worship experience, whether the service is a celebration or a solemn occasion. It is a guidebook for daily Christian living.
Common does not mean ordinary. These are the prayers we say together or “in common” when we worship as a community.
Scripture is the foundation of our worship. Two-thirds of the Book of Common Prayer comes directly from the Old and New Testaments.
The primary service is the presentation of the Lord’s Last Supper with his disciples, a service we call the Holy Eucharist. However, the first experience many visitors have with the Book of Common Prayer is at weddings, baptisms or at funerals in the Episcopal Church.
The Book of Common Prayer can be used in private daily prayers or with family, prayers in the morning and evening, special prayers of praise or thanksgiving, requests for others and for special occasions. All 150 Psalms, or poems from the Old Testament, are contained in the Book of Common Prayer and can be read at any time.
A calendar for reading through the entire Bible every two years, as well as an outline of the Episcopal faith and Church history, is also included.
The Book of Common Prayer is meant to complement daily individual prayers, not to replace them. Every service in the book includes time for personal prayer requests, either silent or aloud.
The Book of Common Prayer has been a source of comfort, joy and inspiration, a unique treasure in Christian worship for more than 400 years.