Seven times a day I praise you
for your righteous rules.
And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
Jewish praying is rooted in the Hebrew Bible, what Christians call the Old Testament.
Christian praying grows from Jewish praying as embodied and fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the living Word made flesh.
Anglican praying is Christian praying in the tradition of the Book of Common Prayer.
The resources for Daily Prayer offered here are for praying in the Anglican Way. These can be used personally, as a family, and with a small group.
Introduction to Forms of Morning and Evening Prayer
The goal is to establish, in time, a regular habit of daily prayer. The purpose of a regular habit of daily prayer is to cultivate and enjoy a habit of turning the mind and heart to God.
Many of us already have regular habits of mind. Perhaps we habitually turn our minds to our worries and fears. This can lead to anxiety. Perhaps we habitually turn, or set, our minds on our possessions or things we would like to acquire. This can lead to greed and envy. There is a better habit of mind producing a more livable outcome.
Habitually turning our minds to the reality of God and his great love for us in Jesus leads, in time, to joy and peace and the other dimensions of the fruit of the Spirit: love, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). This allows us to live free from domination by things like worry, anxiety, greed, and envy.
Learning and practicing regular daily prayer
is a reliable pathway to a mind
set on and filled with God.
The short forms of Morning and Evening prayer offered here contain the basic, unchanging elements of the longer, standard forms of Morning and Evening Prayer. The unchanging elements in the short forms are passages of Holy Scripture prayed daily by those practicing the Anglican Way.
In the morning we pray the Song Zechariah, also called the Benedictus (the first words of the prayer in Latin). This prayer comes from the Gospel of Luke (Lk 1:68-79).
In the evening we pray the Song of Mary, also called the Magnificat (also from the first words of the prayer in Latin). This prayer also comes from the Gospel of Luke (Lk 1:46-55).
In both Morning and Evening Prayer we say the Lord's Prayer in the version found in Matthew's Gospel (Mt. 6:9-13).
The other important part of Morning and Evening Prayer are the Psalms and readings from the Bible.
There are Psalms appointed for each morning and evening. In the short forms for prayer, they are listed together with a semi-colon separating the Psalms appointed for the morning from the Psalms appointed for the evening. (For example, in the following list--Ps. 146 147; Ps. 148 149--Psalms 146 and 147 would be prayed in the morning. Psalms 148 and 149 would be prayed in the evening.)
You may wonder, "What if I want to pray more Psalms?" We would answer, "Pray as many as you like." What we are offering through our schedule of readings, also called a lectionary, is a suggested minimum.
This is not law. This is training.
That means this isn't a rigid code of external righteousness inflexibly enforced. Prayer book praying is a recommended baseline for practical training in wisdom, a course of training that leads us—through faith in Jesus (faith practically exercised in prayer)—into the fruit of the Spirit, the virtuous living the Holy Spirit produces and sustains.
Here is a helpful clarification from Dallas Willard: "As we seek to know Christ by incorporating appropriate disciplines into our lives, we must keep in mind that they are not ways of earning merit. They also are not paths of suffering or self-torment. They are not heroic. They are not righteousness, but they are wisdom" (from an article, Personal Soul Care).
As with the Psalms, so with the readings. We suggest you read some, not all. But you may certainly read all, if you want to.
If you are praying twice a day, we suggest you read the New Testament lesson in the morning. Read the Gospel lesson in the evening. If you are praying once a day, we suggest you read the Gospel lesson. Again, you are free to read what you want to read, when you want to read it. The purpose of the exercise is setting the mind on God through engagement with the Scriptures.
As you get accustomed to the short forms for Morning and Evening Prayer, then you will be well prepared to learn the standard forms. They are a little longer and include other elements: a confession of sin, a daily litany of prayers, weekly prayers, and weekday prayers.
Whatever form you use, we trust and pray you will find them helpful for the practice of setting your mind and heart on God. As St. Paul taught the Colossians, "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things" (Col. 3:1-2).
Click on a link below to read daily prayer: