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Posts Tagged ‘faith’

Spiritual toolbox part 2: Book of Common Prayer

In Spiritual Toolbox on March 14, 2010 at 10:58 am

wikipedia.org

What is it?

The Book of Common Prayer is the common title of a number of prayer books of the Church of England and of other Anglican churches.

A major revision was published in 1662 (Church of England 1662). That edition has remained the official prayer book of the Church of England, although in the 21st century, an alternative book called Common Worship has largely displaced the Book of Common Prayer at the main Sunday worship service of most English parish churches.

Where to find it?

Thanks to the era of internet and electronics it is no longer necessary to feverishly browse through and old dusty book to get to the right pages — although dusty can have its charm too — but you can easily find it on the web neatly arranged per day, divided between morning, evening and night-prayer. Just click on the link and you’re ready to go!

http://cofe.anglican.org/worship/dailyprayer/morning/

http://cofe.anglican.org/worship/dailyprayer/evening/

http://cofe.anglican.org/worship/dailyprayer/night/

On the site mentioned above you can choose between the old The Book of Common Prayer (1662)-text that has a literary beauty of its own and the Common Worship: Daily Prayer-version that is more accessible to our postmodern race.

What are its contents?

For example today is the fourth Sunday of Lent. The prayers for today consist of:

Preparation:

  1. introduction
  2. prayer of thanksgiving
  3. a suitable hymn
  4. opening prayer
  5. silence

Word of God:

  1. Psalmody (psalms)
  2. Canticle
  3. Scripture reading of the day
  4. Responsory
  5. Gospel Canticle e.g. the Benedictus

Prayers:

  1. intercession: for the day and its tasks; the world and its needs; the Church and her life.
  2. silence
  3. the Collect of the day
  4. the Lord’s prayer

Conclusion

The evening prayer rite is quite similar in length and composition but consists of some different elements.

The night rite is quite short in comparison. It is also called the ancient office of the Compline. It is above all a service of quietness before rest at the end of the day.

Here are a few beautiful excerpts from today’s Night prayer as an example:

An Order for Night Prayer (Compline)
Sunday, 14 March 2010
The Fourth Sunday of Lent

The Lord almighty grant us a quiet night and a perfect end.
Amen.

A period of silence for reflection on the past day may follow.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.
Alleluia.

The following or other suitable hymn may be sung.

Before the ending of the day,
Creator of the world, we pray
That you, with steadfast love, would keep
Your watch around us while we sleep.

From evil dreams defend our sight,
From fears and terrors of the night;
Tread underfoot our deadly foe
That we no sinful thought may know.

O Father, that we ask be done
Through Jesus Christ, your only Son;
And Holy Spirit, by whose breath
Our souls are raised to life from death.

Intercessions and thanksgivings may be offered here.

The Collect

Silence may be kept.

The Conclusion

In peace we will lie down and sleep;
for you alone, Lord, make us dwell in safety.

Abide with us, Lord Jesus,
for the night is at hand and the day is now past.

As the night watch looks for the morning,
so do we look for you, O Christ.

[Come with the dawning of the day
and make yourself known in the breaking of the bread.]

May God bless us,
that in us may be found love and humility,
obedience and thanksgiving,
discipline, gentleness and peace.

© The Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England, 2000-2005
All of the official Common Worship publications are being published by Church House Publishing.

How do I use the Daily Prayers in my devotional time?

Since I already listen to the Bible every day for 20 minutes @ Daily Audio Bible, I skip most of the Scripture readings and Psalms and stick to the beautiful prayers as mentioned above.

I don’t pray from the Book of Common Prayer every day but I alternate with the prayers I described in Spiritual Toolbox part 1: the Daily prayer. In addition I also pray ‘freestyle’ to God as well 😉

But if you haven’t yet established a daily Bible reading routine then the Book of Common prayer can be just perfect for you to immerse yourself in Scripture and pray the prayers of the ages daily.

I encourage you all to give it a go!

Feel free to ask me any questions or comment on this post below, or follow me on Twitter.

Sources:

Wikipedia

Church of England

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The Little Way

In Therese de Lisieux - the little way, Uncategorized on February 26, 2010 at 3:07 pm

Therese de Lisieux (2 January 1873 – 30 September 1897) is one of the greatest Saints from the 19th century. She received a very early call from God to be a Carmelite nun, which she was from her 15th till her 24th year, when she died a tuberculosis-death.

She was also called by the modest name of The Little Flower of Jesus, emblematic of her humility, her purity and her simplicity.

“Our Lord has deigned to make me understand that by simple obedience I shall please Him best”

I am very intrigued by her short but Jesus-seeking and –loving life of simple spirituality and servanthood.

Therese felt all along that she was destined to become a Saint and this is what she said about it:

“Instead of being discouraged, I concluded that God would not inspire desires which could not be realised, and that I may aspire to sanctity in spite of my littleness. For me to become great is impossible. I must bear with myself and my many imperfections; but I will seek out a means of getting to Heaven by a little way – very short and very straight, a little way that is wholly new.”

The depth and novelty of her spirituality, called the theology of the little way has inspired many believers around the world.

In Wikipedia we read about the Little Way:

Thérèse is known for her “way of confidence and love”[44], commonly known as “The Little Way”. In her quest for sanctity, she believed that it was not necessary to accomplish heroic acts, or “great deeds”, in order to attain holiness and to express her love of God. She wrote,

“Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love.”

So the little way for Therese didn’t consist of being martyred for Christ’s sake, but instead of  dying to her flesh, making sacrifices daily, leading a holy everyday life to please her beloved Lord of Lords: Jesus Christ of Nazareth and to love others as herself.

“Now I have no desire left, unless it be to love Jesus even unto folly! It is Love alone that draws me.”

She performed hidden acts of kindness for her Sisters, for which only Jesus could praise her.

She led a very simple life among her Sisters, she prayed, she worked; she struggled everyday struggles of dry spells in her spirituality, doubt, fear, irritation with her Sisters. But she always came back to Jesus to walk with Him.

At last I want to mention the Little Way approach to prayer. This is what she said about it:

“For me, prayer is a movement of the heart; it is a simple glance toward Heaven; it is a cry of gratitude and love in times of trial as well as in times of joy; finally, it is something great, supernatural, which expands my soul and unites me to Jesus. . . . I have not the courage to look through books for beautiful prayers…. I do like a child who does not know how to read; I say very simply to God what I want to say, and He always understands me.”

In this blog I want to encourage you as well as myself to look for that little way to lead a holier life.

I am inspired by Therese to live a holier life, by:

  • praying from my heart directly to Jesus
  • performing simple acts of kindness to people
  • living a more sober and simple life with less posessions and desire for materialistic things
  • letting go daily of pride and striving to be humble
  • being pure and be myself
  • not gossiping

The pursuit of a holy life is such an adventure and I want to take you along.


I want to thank Father Roderick @  http://fatherroderick.sqpn.com/ and Gretchen Rubin @ http://www.happiness-project.com/ for telling me about Therese’s book: The Story of A Soul through them.

You can buy The Story of A Soul by St. Therese de Lisieux on Amazon or Bol.com (for Dutch readers)