Thursday, October 1, 2009

Disciples need a Book of Common Prayer

This past May I relished the time I spent with my Presbyterian friends in my Doctor of Ministry Cohort. I can't tell you how formative of an experience this was for me. One of the experiences that gave such a distinctive faith-shaping edge to the cohort is that we worshipped together frequently. We had worship at the start and close of our days, as well as during the lunch hour. And for our morning and evening worship times we used liturgy out of the Presbyterian Book of Common Prayer.

Being with a group of people daily can really cause some bonding to happen. But when that group worships together, sings together, and prays together and for each other those bonds are strengthened even moreso. And the bonds of Christian fellowship are essential to a healthy Christian life.

So I am disappointed that we Disciples have no book of common prayer. We have the Chalice Worship book, but that's a liturgy resource for pastors to use in special occasions. We have the Chalice Hymnal which includes a daily worship plan. And though I have been using this resource to improve my daily prayer life and recommend it to others just beginning a daily prayer routine, it is quite lacking in spectrum and substance.

There are many benefits I can see to having a Book of Common Prayer. It can strengthen the individual worship and prayer life of Christians if used faithfully. It can help strengthen the bonds of Christian community when groups of people, or married couples, or families choose to begin and end each day together in commonly shared worship. And it can more closely orient our lives to the cycle of holy time we know in the liturgical calendar.

But we Disciples have no such thing.
I think it's time to send Chalice Press a proposal.


Danny Bradfield said...

Interesting proposal. Do you want a big fat book with worship & prayer resources, like the Presbyterian Book of Common Worship? Or, more simply, a book focused almost exclusively on daily prayer?

Robert Benson's book "In Constant Prayer" has been a helpful resources for me. He includes many suggestions for finding a book of daily prayer, or even developing one yourself for personal use.

Dan Mayes said...

Good question, Danny.

I like both options. I, personally would prefer the fat book of Common Worship.

For those who want a simpler version a daily prayer book would be a good companion piece.

Thanks for the recommendation.