Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Celebrating Daily Prayer

Church of England. Celebrating Daily Prayer: The New Pocket Version of Celebrating Common Prayer. London: Morehouse, 2005. Amazon link.

In 2000, the Church of England published a new English liturgy meant to supplement and expand upon the theology and liturgy presented in the classical Book of Common Prayer (1662), in contemporary English. This volume is called Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England. I have great appreciation for this book of services, as do some of my pastor friends in other Christian traditions.

The Anglican Franciscans of Great Britain created a version of this liturgy in a little breviary meant for personal and corporate daily prayer, entitled Celebrating Common Prayer (CCP), now called Celebrating Daily Prayer (CDP). The former edition was small and black, and the new edition is larger and red. This is important because the text inside is similarly formatted, but different (the two cannot be used together in group prayers).

The volume at hand, Celebrating Daily Prayer, offers short offices that can prayed in fifteen minutes. It includes materials for ordinary time and all of the seasons of the Church year. Each office begins with an opening prayer themed according to the Christian year, continues with a selection from the Psalter, a canticle (a song from the New or Old Testament that is traditionally chanted), a short selection from the Bible, and another canticle (either the Benedictus or the Magnificat). The office concludes with both free and written intercession, a closing collect, and the Lord's Prayer.

Supplemental devotional material includes additional prayers and collects, the Angelus Domini, Graces for meals, a cycle of intercessions, and special prayer services for thanksgiving, observing a death, departures, Eucharistic devotions, prayers at the foot of the Cross, and several others.

What I Like. This breviary is one of my favorites for several reasons. It's wonderful for beginners, because of its simplicity and variation. It's rare to find one that's both simple to use and allows disciples to observe the breadth of the Christian year. Not just an Office book, this is suited as a full-on devotional manual, with its offerings of supplemental occasional material, traditional prayers, and descriptions of the Calendar.

What I Don't Like. It's a little pricey, retailing for $29.95. Amazon Marketplace can offer some deals, however. Also, it does not contain the entire Psalter.

The Bottom Line. This is perfect for beginners who want a quick prayer time with a lot of Scripture themed around the Christian year.


Scott said...

Thank you for this. Your thoughts on the book are similar to mine. Also, although it provides short offices, they're not so short as some "fixed-hour prayer" books (I'm thinking of The Divine Hours). Prayed at a "prayerful" pace, the CDP offices are surprisingly substantial and not that much shorter than a standard CW:DP office.

Which makes CDP an excellent "travel breviary," and I've often used it that way. Everything needed is in there.

Tim said...

All these prayer books are good options. Thank you for telling us of them.

May I also suggest the "Treasury of Daily Prayer", which is published by Concordia Publishing House?

It has daily Scripture readings, quotes from fathers in the Faith, hymns, daily prayers, etc. Also includes things like Matins and Vespers, the Great Litany, and if I remember correctly, Luther's Small Catechism.