Most helpful positive review
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A very good resource for Christian prayer for all denominations
on 4 October 2011
I fully agree with the other two reviewers of this book, James and A Grey in their very positive comments on this book.
I am sorry though that, as witnessed by some of the tags that some have added for this book, (which are totally unwarranted, suggesting that this book is heretical and representing a false Christianity), some very strongly disagree. These tags are very mistaken and misleading. On the other hand they may lead some to take more of an interest in this book instead and benefit from what they find !
I understand though, that some are unfortunately objecting to this book and getting very hot under the collar because they see the title, "Common Prayer" and see it as somehow trying to usurp the position of the Anglican "Book of Common Prayer", often shortened to "Common Prayer". I am quite sure that the authors of this book never had the slightest intentions of doing this. In fact, if only those who get upset will note, the full title of this book is, "Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals", their objections ought to be, at least to some extent, resolved.
Just as the original "Book of Common Prayer" formed a more concise version of previous ecumenical liturgies for the people of the time, which its successors still do, I believe that "Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals" does a similar job for our time. I cannot speak for the authors of this book, but it looks to me as if they had the intention of actually honouring the original "Book of Common Prayer" in using its shortened name as part of the title of this book. As such, and as I have already said, I am sure that they did not have any intention of trying to propose this book as a replacement.
Those with experience of the Liturgy of the Hours and similar forms for daily prayer, will recognise this as a very valid and useful resource for prayer and reflection. It includes elements from a number of different Christian traditions and so can be very useful towards helping Christians of all denominations feel at home and to come together in prayer.
A small criticism of this book might be in the way that it separates the material for morning prayer from evening prayer. At the same time, bearing in mind that morning prayer is more or less the same for each day of the week, and evening prayer has material for each day of the Christian year, I can see that, in the end, it makes sense. On the other hand, those wanting to bring more variety into their morning could easily make use of the seasonal material as well. It is worth noting here that some liturgical books can be even more difficult for newcomers to find their way around, so this one is very easy by comparison).
For those wishing that this book included Night Prayer, as I did, on first looking at it, it is worth noting that, as with the "Book of Common Prayer", Evening and Night Prayer have been combined into one service. If anyone wanted to keep to a separate Night Prayer, they could quite easily simply omit the Nunc Dimittis - The Canticle of Simeon from Evening Prayer and adapt the form for Evening Prayer, including the Nunc Dimittis and perhaps some other suitable prayers for Night Prayer. I note though, that the forthcoming shortened Pocket Version Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals will include a separate form of Night Prayer, as well as other material not included in this full edition, as mentioned in an email the publishers have sent to me, as follows:-
"Common Prayer Pocket Edition helps individuals and today's diverse church pray together across traditions and denominations. With an ear to the particulars of various liturgical prayer traditions, and using an advisory team of liturgy experts, the authors have created a tapestry of prayer that celebrates the best of each tradition. This convenient and portable book also includes tools for prayer scattered throughout to aid those unfamiliar with liturgy and deepen the prayer life of those already familiar with liturgical prayer".
"Common Prayer Pocket Edition adds new prayers for Compline (late evening) and for individual use, such as prayers for travel, protection, and various blessings. It includes a table of days and readings for the morning prayers as well as an annotated list of saints and days to remember".
I have the Pocket Edition on pre-order already, because as well as supplementing the big book, it will evidently be very useful for traveling as well.
As one who mainly uses other forms of the Liturgy of the Hours, I find this book provides good additional and alternative material to help me in my prayer life. I also believe that this book will be helpful for those who would find the more formal church books of prayer less attractive. Likewise those who might want to begin with something that is easier to use, even if they may later on want to make use of the formal denominational ones, such as used by Anglicans, Lutherans or Roman Catholics etc.
Oh yes! I nearly forgot to mention, as well as providing the words of hymns and songs, the music and chords are also helpfully provided. As a saying goes, "Those who sing, pray twice". A lot of careful thought and artistry has gone into the production of this book and I recommend it.