Goal: Become attentive to God and his grace and in continuing as an apprentice of Jesus, express a life of Jesus Way abundance.
How do you do this? Prayer, it seems, is a very central part.
Last winter, Common Prayer (Claiborne, Hartgrove, & Okoro) released. A buddy and I found it by surprise and accident. It was one of those moments where we looked at a Cokesbury catalog together, saw the book in there, and looked at one another with the eyes of, No way! Folding the catalog, we raced to different sections to see if it was on the shelves (we were in the Cokesbury store). I found it. It felt like treasure.
A few years before this, Concordia Publishing House released a great prayer book Treasury of Daily Prayer. I caught wind of it before it released and became pretty excited. I was at a spot where prayer and rhythms of prayer and especially the ancient traditions of the Daily Hours were slowly becoming some of my own patterns. I loved what I was coming across and loved the discovery that within my own Lutheran tradition there was a buried (it seemed) expression of the Divine Hours. I enjoyed the Treasury but also enjoyed hearing and seeing other expressions.
Next came Celtic Daily Prayer and Tickles’ The Divine Hours series. Loved them both, but felt a little pull toward the Treasury, and then back again. The Celtic Prayer book was a Trinitarian wonder – how they immersed everything in threes and in the Father, Son, and Spirit. But, it felt like the book was (perhaps rightly so) immersed only in their Northumbria community sometimes. Tickles’ Divine Hours was a neat transition, but it felt like the same thing every day and the three volumes packing around felt a bit much – that’s when I started porting around a Book of Common Prayer because it was close to the same thing, but even more so the same stuff each day. When I’d go back to the Treasury, I felt like I was reconnecting to my family, my home, my tradition. I loved it and mostly loved the centrality of grace and forgiveness written all over the place. (Those were things I felt I had to often transpose into the other prayer books on my own.)
Finally, out came Common Prayer. It was, they say in the intro, a compilation of sorts of Celtic Daily Prayer, Tickles’ books, and The Book of Common Prayer, and of course some new materials. But, you know what caught me? It was the ordinary life part of it – that the language used wasn’t too “churchy” and was, for me, a bit more conducive for a conversation with God rather than what sometimes felt like reiterating a prayer time ritual. Plus, it’s all online too, which I’m wondering if that can be utilized more by some communities who can pray semblances of the hours together, using the same words, but not having to have each person shell out a bunch of cash to have a fancy prayer book lying around.
Now, Common Prayer also has a bit of a critique from me. I miss that reminder of forgiveness I hear so much in the Treasury. It’s there, just not in the same amount. But, it does provide some really neat ideas on how to express the faith in Jesus toward our neighbors. Great ideas. The songbook is also very cool. I enjoy the simplicity.
I invite you to check the book out online at www.commonprayer.net. It’s all right there. Enjoy!