Book of Common Worship, Daily Prayer
Westminster John Knox Press, Jan 1, 1993 - Religion - 518 pages
This easy-to-carry and very practical devotional resource will help all individuals, congregations, families, and small groups looking for assistance in prayer and in leading groups in prayer. It includes all the material from the Daily Prayer section of the full-sized edition of theBook of Common Worship. It features rubrics and blue and maroon ribbons. The cover is also a brilliant maroon. Orders for morning and evening prayer are provided, as well as the psalms and the daily lectionary. Prayers are also included for family and personal life, the church, national life, world issues, and environmental concerns.
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Over the years, I've tried many books that reflect the historic discipline of the "daily office" or "liturgy of the hours." For about 20 years that was the 1979 Book of Common Prayer (BCP); actually, I started with the trial-use "Blue Book" a few years earlier. I experimented with all four volumes of the Roman Catholic "Liturgy of the Hours," but found it much too complicated for practical use. And I've used "The New Century Psalter" published by the Pilgrim Press.
All of these resources are derived from the historic pattern of Christian daily prayer. I've been testing the "Book of Common Worship Daily Prayer" for several months now and I love it. It's portable and the design is both user-friendly and elegant. The book's editors were committed to inclusive language, but that has been a rock on which other office books have foundered, and if not done with sensitivity can make the psalms -- the heart of Christian daily prayer -- almost unreadable. This is not the case with BCW Daily Prayer. The editors wisely chose an adaptation based on the psalter from the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: the result is perhaps one of the most "singable" (and therefore readable as prayer-poetry) of any inclusive-language version of the psalms in English.
The approach to inclusive language in BCW Daily Prayer is somewhat more conservative than alternatives like The New Century Psalter: the word "Lord" is used frequently not only in reference to Christ but also as the translation of "Adonai" or "YHWH" in the psalter. Otherwise, "king" is replaced by "sovereign" and male pronouns are seldom used in reference to God.
One oddity is that the historic "Gloria Patri..."--which gives the office a Trinitarian shape and is traditionally used to conclude psalms and canticles--appears nowhere. If the word "Father" was an obstacle for the editors, there are inclusive-language alternatives based on the liturgy of the eastern churches. One especially misses the doxology at the beginning of the office after the opening versicle and response.
One might also wish that instead of long, discursive intercessory prayers the book had provided a selection of short litanies. Apart from its ancient origin, the litany-form also permits greater congregational participation. And a more generous selection of propers for holy days would have given the book greater ecumenical reach.
Still, the reader can supply a Trinitarian doxology whenever s/he wants, and this is just one flaw in a book that otherwise makes the ancient pattern of Christian daily prayer accessible to the contemporary church. I'm delighted it's still in print.
One final note: the two-year lectionary is an adaptation from the Book of Common Prayer. BCW Daily Prayer was published before the ecumenical "Daily Readings"--based on the Revised Common Lectionary's three-year cycle--was released. Users of this book who want their daily lectionary to flow seamlessly towards the RCL Sunday readings can download "Daily Readings" from a number of sites, including http://www.scribd.com/langohio.
I am really enjoying reading the psalms and prayers in this book. I gave it 5 stars. Read full review
PRAYERS FOR VARIOUS OCCASIONS
Prayer at the Close of Day
Vigil of the Resurrection
Prayers at Mealtime
Psalms in Corporate Worship
SECTION HEADING CROSSES 519