Why Anglicanism: A Praying Faith

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This is the final post in the three-part series “Why Anglicanism”. The first post “Why Anglicanism: A Still Vibrant, Ancient Faith” can be found here and the second post “Why Anglicanism: A Global Faith” can be found here.

Anglicanism is a rich prayer tradition that is unique among other Christian traditions. While other Reformation traditions developed confessional statements of faith, the Anglican Church developed a Prayer Book, which is fundamentally pastoral and spiritual rather than simply abstract and theoretical. The Book of Common Prayer has been read by millions around the world and still influences Christians today; it is one of the most beautiful prayer books ever composed. It is an old devotional book meant to be used in private and public prayer. The Book of Common Prayer is the second most widely read English religious book next to the King James Bible. It contains orders of services, ancient creeds, communal prayers, and a lectionary, which is a suggested reading plan for use throughout the year.

Before the Book of Common Prayer, the prayers and worship of the Church of England were in Latin. The Book of Common Prayer changed all of that by giving English-speaking people everywhere prayers in their own language for the first time in history! Its influence on English-speaking people cannot be overestimated. Cranmer’s influential Prayer Book is still felt around the world today. The words of the Prayer Book have become a familiar part of the English language and after the Bible, it is the most frequently cited book in the “Oxford Dictionary of Quotations.” Like the King James Bible and the works of Shakespeare, many words and phrases from the Book of Common Prayer have entered popular culture.

Central to Anglican prayer is the daily office. The Daily Office is one of the ways that Christians have prayed for centuries. The Daily Office or Divine Office, which is based on the ancient practice of prescribed daily times of prayer. The name comes from the Latin officium divinum meaning “divine office” or “divine duty.” These services are accompanied by daily Scripture readings which include a reading from the Psalms, Old Testament, the New Testament, and a Gospel reading. Thomas Cranmer condensed the Daily Office into Morning and Evening Prayer, which many Christians still observe today. Many people find that praying the Daily Office helps add a sense of regularity and balance to their prayer life. The Daily Office can help center you in the morning before you begin your busy day, and it can help calm you as you prepare for the hours of the night. Praying through the Daily Office is an enriching way that millions of Christians around the world practice daily devotions.

If you would like more information on the Daily Office check out A Field Guide to Daily Prayer. It contains an abbreviated Daily Office with Morning and Evening Prayer. There is also a simple step-by-step outline to guide you. Remember, as you begin, don’t rush. Reflect on the words and take your time. Mediate on what you’re praying and saying to the Lord. Whenever you pray plural pronouns like “we” or “our,” remember that you are joining your voice with other Christians who are also praying the Daily Office.

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Winfield Bevins has a passion for equipping others to spread the gospel in their own context. He serves as the Director of Asbury Seminary’s Church Planting Initiative. As a seasoned practitioner, he has used his experience to train leaders from diverse backgrounds on three different continents. He frequently speaks at conferences, churches, seminaries and retreats on a variety of topics. He is the author of several books, including Plant: A Sower’s Guide to Church Planting. He and his wife Kay, have three beautiful girls Elizabeth, Anna Belle, and Caroline.

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