Prayer Book Christians, Part II

Prayer Book Christians, Part II

Fr. Will continues his walk-thru of the Prayer Book, looking at the 1928 book. –Fr. Chris, Ed.

The 1928 revision of the Book of Common Prayer has slightly over 600 pages.  Two sections take up over half of those pages – The Collects, Epistles, and Gospels assigned for each Sunday of the Church year plus regularly occurring Feasts and Holy Days, and the entire Psalter.  Over 300 pages containing various portions of Holy Scripture, plus the first hymnal of God’s people – the Psalms of David.  What a rich treasure we have in those two resources alone.  In addition to the set prayers for Sunday worship the Prayer Book contains two separate sections devoted to prayers for various occasions within the life of the parish or for one’s personal prayer life.

So how do we use the Prayerbook in our own lives, and how can we be Prayer Book Christians? Before I answer that question and examine each of the components in detail, I wish to leave this installment with a look at the Table of Contents of the Prayer Book and a brief synopsis of each part.  In the next post, I will look at one or perhaps more than one section in more detail looking at its history, modifications, and most importantly its usage in our Christian faith and journey.

All editions of the Book of Common Prayer begin with and contain a ratification page, and certificate of conformity to the Standard Book with the seal of the custodian of the BCP for the Church.  The Ratification confirmation and Preface of the first American edition of the Book of Common Prayer from 1789 follows along with a section relating to the services of the Church.  Depending upon the printing at least one and perhaps two versions of the Daily Office Lectionary are to be found. The Calendar and a series of rules and tables for determining the date of Easter, precedence, etc. concludes the introductory materials.

The offices of Daily Morning Prayer and Daily Evening Prayer begin the Prayer Book proper.  Next can be found a section of Prayers and Thanksgivings, followed by The Litany and The Penitential Office.  The service of Holy Communion follows with the corresponding Collects, Epistles, and Gospels for each Sunday and fixed Holy Day.

There is an entire section of what are known as Pastoral Offices and these include the services of:

  • Holy Baptism
  • Offices of Instruction
  • Solemnization of Holy Matrimony
  • Thanksgiving after Child-birth
  • Visitation of the Sick
  • Burial of the Dead
    • One rite of adults and another rite for a child

The Psalter is the next large section followed by the The Ordinal (with its appropriate Litany) which comprises five services:

  • The Form and Manner of Making Deacons
  • The Form and Manner of Ordering Priests
  • The Form of Ordaining or Consecrating a Bishop
  • The Form of Consecration of a Church or Chapel
  • An Office of Institution of Ministers into Parishes or Churches

The Prayer Book concludes with a short Catechism and a section of Family Prayer with additional prayers and petitions.  The last section in the Book is a printing of the 39 Articles of Religion as approved by the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America in 1801.

To be continued…

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