St. John's Episcopal Church
Sunday, January 16, 2022

Being Christian has not been easy in any generation. In our present society, many of us feel pulled in different directions. So many parties claim religious truth while so few speak to God's abiding presence and unity. For most religious traditions, prayer is the means by which people grow with God.

In the Episcopal tradition, a prayerbook guides our public and private worship. As we pray, so do we learn to believe. In this day when parts of the Church seek less formality in worship, using a prayerbook can feel strange. You may be surprised to learn that when The Book of Common Prayer was first composed (1549 in England), its purpose was to offer the means to worship God to everyone, especially to those who had been excluded from the Church in the Middle Ages. We live out the same tradition. The authorized prayer book of the Episcopal Church is used by every local church throughout our country. It contains the regular services of public worship, including the Holy Eucharist, services of daily prayer, pastoral worship for baptism, marriage and burial, the entire Book of Psalms and a group of prayers called collects that draw on 17 centuries of the Church's praying tradition. Collects 'collect' the petitions of all people into one prayer lifted to God.

Newcomers to the Episcopal Church are sometimes surprised to learn just how much the Bible forms and shapes our worship. In each service, four Bible readings are read ~~ and indeed our prayerbook is a rare collection of selections from the Bible. To Episcopalians, the Bible is not so much a literal book of instruction; nor is it simply God's word to us. It is a rich history telling of God's faithfulness to people. It provides a language we learn with which to hear God.


To view the Book of Common Prayer online, please click on the link