A Prayer Life for All Christians
A chief characteristic of traditional Anglicanism is its prayer life. We are community of Christians, centered around the Book of Common Prayer.
The Origin of the Book of Common Prayer
Thomas Cranmer condensed a vast amount of material, taken from various types of liturgical books used in the medieval church. As a result, he formed a single system of daily offices, Scripture readings, prayers, and liturgy. Therefore, no longer was the monastic lifestyle, consisting of 7 Offices a day (Matins/Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, Compline) for the clergy or monks alone.
C.S. Lewis on Fixed Prayers
“The advantage of a fixed form of service is that we know what is coming. Ex tempore public prayer has this difficulty; we don’t know whether we can mentally join in it until we’ve heard it – it might be phony or heretical. We are therefore called upon to carry on a critical and devotional activity at the same moment: two things hardly compatible. In a fixed form we ought to have ‘gone through the motions’ before in our private prayers; the rigid forms really set our devotions free. I also find the more rigid it is, the easier it is to keep one’s thoughts from straying..” (emphasis original – from Letters of CS Lewis, 1952)
How to Pray the Morning Office
At approximately the 10:15 mark of the video above, you’ll see the narrator describing one of the Canticles. The first Canticle described here is called the “Te Deum Laudamus” and it’s a very ancient prayer, dating to 327 A.D. Here is a very interesting chant version of it, so you can see how it could be sung in a group setting.
At the 10:57 mark, you will see another canticle called the Benedictus, or the “Song of Zechariah.” In a group setting, or again if one were to learn this privately, it could be chanted like this (article here).
For more, look through the Morning and Evening Offices found here: Resources