Justin Martyr (2nd century) on Christian Sabbath Worship
"On the day that is called Sunday all who live in the cities or in rural areas gather together in one place, and the memoirs of the apostles and the writings of the prophets are read for as long as time allows. Then after the lector concludes, the president verbally instructs and exhorts us to imitate all these excellent things. Then all stand up together and offer prayers….
When we have concluded our prayer, bread is brought forward together with the wine and water. And the presider in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings according to his ability. The people give their consent, saying “Amen”; there is a distribution, and all share in the Eucharist. To those who are absent a portion is brought by the deacons. And those who are well-to-do and willing give as they choose, as each one so desires. The collection is then deposited with the presider who uses it on behalf of orphans, widows, those who are needy due to sickness or any other cause, prisoners, strangers who are traveling; in short, he assists all who are in need."
Martyr is describing the Sunday version of Christian worship, and one assumes it is an extension of the pattern established by daily worship in places other than where they are now gathered. In reading Martyr's description, it is hard to imagine that Thomas Cranmer was not very familiar with it.
The service is bifurcated, and the second part can NOT happen without the first.
The first part is roughly equivalent to our regular Morning or Evening Prayer which also has a definite ending ("Here endeth the Order of Morning Prayer throughout the year").
A "lector" under authority of a "president" is leading worship, but content of the service is provided by readings and remembrances of the congregation's members (even as it would be in daily prayer at home). The lector's principal job is to orchestrate "according to his ability". Meanwhile the "president" provides "instruction and exhortation" which may or may not be so elaborate as to be called a "sermon." Following this part of the service, all members of the gathering participate in general prayers which we would call "common prayer." Consistent with the pattern of Morning and Evening Prayer, there is no collection in this part of the service.
The second part is similar to our Order of Holy Communion, including the collection of alms but otherwise beginning with the "Comfortable Words."
Once the readings, instruction, exhortation and prayers are done, there is a specific Eucharistic sharing of both Bread and Wine and of the "collection." The leader of this second part is the "president". Lectors cannot preside over the Eucharist. Again "according to his ability" (authority) the president assumes personal responsibility over specific prayers and thanksgivings. One may assume that a "president" is carefully chosen, and if there is no such qualified person then this second part of the service does not take place.
In today's Morning Prayer we read from Acts 13, taking particular note of verses 2-4; what they teach us about prayer and how we are to understand the Holy Ghost in the context of the Trinity. The New Testament is full of examples of how we are to think of the Trinity. This is but one.
"Now as they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul, for the work whereunto I have called them. [skip] And they after they were sent forth of the holy Ghost, came down unto Seleucia, and from thence they sailed to Cyprus."
In other words, we are to think of the Holy Ghost as the one who answers our prayers in both word and action. This is consistent with other Biblical texts. The Biblical pattern of Christian prayer is very precise concerning how we are to form our prayers.
Pray to the one eternal God like this, "Our Father which art in heaven..." He is the king in whose court our prayer is heard. He is the only one to whom we may address our prayer.
Pray in the name of the Jesus Christ, the Son of God who pleads our case before the Father. We approach the Father in Jesus' name because by no other name do we have standing before the throne of God.
Pray by the power of the Holy Ghost and by His power alone, expecting in faith that God's answer will be delivered by the same Holy Ghost who proceeds from both the Father and the Son.
To be Christian is to be precisely Trinitarian
There is a singular pattern of prayer in the New Testament and we do not do well to follow that pattern loosely and carelessly. For example we don't pray "to" Jesus but rather we pray in His name and because of what He has done to give us standing in God's kingly court. Neither do we pray "to" the Holy Spirit but rather we pray by His help that God will answer according to the comfort which He affords us.
While we grant the title "Lord" and "Almighty" and "Eternal" to every member of the Trinity, we propose to understand the distinctions and to pray to our heavenly Father in the name of our savior Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Ghost our Comforter. Our three creeds are clear on the matter of unity and diversity. Here is how the Athanasian Creed puts it, "neither confounding the Persons nor dividing the Substance."
And the Catholick Faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity;
Neither confounding the Persons : nor dividing the Substance.
For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son : and another of the Holy Ghost.
But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one : the Glory equal, the Majesty co-eternal.
Such as the Father is, such is the Son : and such is the Holy Ghost.
The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate : and the Holy Ghost uncreate.
The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible : and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible.
The Father eternal, the Son eternal : and the Holy Ghost eternal.
And yet they are not three eternals : but one eternal.
As also there are not three incomprehensibles, nor three uncreated : but one uncreated, and one incomprehensible.
So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty : and the Holy Ghost Almighty.
And yet they are not three Almighties : but one Almighty.
So the Father is God, the Son is God : and the Holy Ghost is God.
And yet they are not three Gods : but one God.
So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord : and the Holy Ghost Lord.
And yet not three Lords : but one Lord.
For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by himself to be both God and Lord;
So are we forbidden by the Catholick Religion : to say, There be three Gods, or three Lords.
The Father is made of none : neither created, nor begotten.
The Son is of the Father alone : not made, nor created, but begotten.
The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son : neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.
So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons : one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts.
And in this Trinity none is afore, or after other : none is greater, or less than another;
But the whole three Persons are co-eternal together : and co-equal.
So that in all things, as is aforesaid : the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.
He therefore that will be saved : must think thus of the Trinity.
The Book of Common Prayer's central theme is articulated by the Reformed liturgy of Morning and Evening Prayer. "Established" Anglicanism must necessarily focus on the original intent and historical context of Thomas Cranmer.
What's the point of the Anglican rite of Confirmation?
The Christian life is marked by two notable events that ought not be bypassed; Baptism which is the sacramental beginning of the Christian life, and Confirmation by which the Church confirms (attests to) what God has already done (or alternatively confirms what God has not done).
It is all explained in Acts 8:4-25
4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad, went to and fro preaching the word.5 Then came Philip into the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.6 And the people gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, with one accord, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.7 For unclean spirits crying with a loud voice, came out of many that were possessed of them: and many taken with palsies, and that halted, were healed.8 And there was great joy in that city.
The Church at Jerusalem, under severe persecution, especially from Saul had fled to the regions of Judea and Samaria. There they continued in the fellowship of God's Word with the help of the evangelist Philip who also saw to it that they were cleansed from unclean Spirits. We may reasonably assume that they had already been recognized as members of the Church by means of Baptism. This is the apparent reason the Apostles sent Philip to them.
9 And there was before in the city, a certain man called Simon, which used witchcraft, and bewitched the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was some great man,10 To whom they gave heed from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is that great power of God.11 And they gave heed unto him, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.12 But as soon as they believed Philip, which preached the things that concerned the kingdom of God, and the Name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized both men and women.13 Then Simon himself believed also, and was baptized, and continued with Philip, and wondered, when he saw the signs and great miracles which were done.
These Samaritans heard not only Philip but also various human philosophies and even teachers of witchcraft. Some of them "gave heed" to the sorceries, and if they had already been baptized they apparently fell away from the Christian gospel. The Elect among them thankfully were persuaded by the Christian Gospel and did not follow after other gods. The Church meanwhile had determined that it should baptize even those that held to confused and immature doctrines. Baptism did NOT attest to salvation.
14 Now when the Apostles, which were at Jerusalem, heard say, that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John.15 Which when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the holy Ghost.16 (For as yet he was fallen down on none of them, but they were baptized only in the Name of the Lord Jesus.)17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the holy Ghost.
The Church was anxious to give to the faithful members of the church in Samaria (whom Philip apparently had tested) a form of official recognition which would distinguish them from those that had turned away from the Gospel, and to confirm in them what they needed for the work of the Church, namely the Holy Ghost. To these two ends they sent the two most prominent apostles, Peter and John to lay hands on them.
18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the Apostles’ hands the holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay the hands, he may receive the holy Ghost.20 Then said Peter unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou thinkest that the gift of God may be obtained with money.21 Thou hast neither part nor fellowship in this business: for thine heart is not right in the sight of God. 22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, that if it be possible, the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.23 For I see that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.24 Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken, come upon me.25 So they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the Gospel in many towns of the Samaritans.
The apostles were careful to maintain a clear distinction between those that were CONFIRMED in the faith and those that had been merely baptized. Indeed, the line was so clearly marked that those whom they would not confirm by the laying on of hands became jealous and even offered bribes. Their behavior was itself a confirmation of their apostasy from the Gospel of Christ. Cry as they might to the apostles, they would not be confirmed until they had repented.
Confirmation is a double-edged sword wielded by the Church to make a visible separation between "the quick and the dead" (the Elect and the Reprobate), which is to say those that have been quickened by the Holy Ghost and those that remain dead in their sins. This does not mean that those who are not "Confirmed" are not "Elect", which is ultimately an invisible state to men, but it does mean that apart from repentance the Church will not recognize the Election of any man. We are "baptized for the remission of our sins" but if sin remains unrepented then it remains unforgiven.
The Anglican rite of Confirmation (1662 Book of Common Prayer) is a fairly simple liturgy containing no superstition about what is conferred by the laying on of hands. It is an official recognition of what the Church has witnessed concerning the Christian faith of a member. It also recognizes his or her spiritual gifts and welcomes the mature member to the table of Holy Communion.
The Order of Confirmation
Or Laying on of Hands upon Those That Are Baptized and Come to Years of Discretion.
Upon the day appointed, all that are to be then confirmed, being placed, and standing in order, before the Bishop; he (or some other Minister appointed by him) shall read this Preface following.
O the end that Confirmation may be ministered to the more edifying of such as shall receive it, the Church hath thought good to order, That none hereafter shall be Confirmed, but such as can say the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments; and can also answer to such other Questions, as in the short Catechism are contained; which order is very convenient to be observed; to the end, that children, being now come to the years of discretion, and having learned what their Godfathers and Godmothers promised for them in Baptism, they may themselves, with their own mouth and consent, openly before the Church, ratify and confirm the same; and also promise, that by the grace of God they will evermore endeavour themselves faithfully to observe such things, as they, by their own confession, have assented unto.
Then shall the Bishop say,
O ye here, in the presence of God, and of this congregation, renew the solemn promise and vow that was made in your name at your Baptism; ratifying and confirming the same in your own persons, and acknowledging yourselves bound to believe, and to do, all those things, which your Godfathers and Godmothers then undertook for you?
And every one shall audibly answer, I do.
Bishop. OUR help is in the Name of the Lord; Answer. Who hath made heaven and earth. Bishop. Blessed be the Name of the Lord; Answer. Henceforth, world without end. Bishop. Lord, hear our prayers. Answer. And let our cry come unto thee.
The Bishop. Let us pray.
ALMIGHTY and everliving God, who hast vouchsafed to regenerate these thy servants by Water and the Holy Ghost, and hast given unto them forgiveness of all their sins: Strengthen them, we beseech thee, 0 Lord, with the Holy Ghost the Comforter, and daily increase in them thy manifold gifts of grace; the spirit of wisdom and understanding; the spirit of counsel and ghostly strength; the spirit of knowledge and true godliness; and fill them, 0 Lord, with the spirit of thy holy fear, now and for ever. Amen.
Then all of them in order kneeling before the Bishop, he shall lay his hand upon the head of every one severally, saying,
DEFEND, 0 Lord, this thy Child [or this thy Servant] with thy heavenly grace, that he may continue thine for ever; and daily increase in thy Holy Spirit more and more, until he come unto thy everlasting kingdom. Amen.
Then shall the Bishop say,The Lord be with you. Answer. And with thy spirit.
And (all kneeling down) the Bishop shall add,Let us pray.
OUR Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, As it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; But deliver us from evil. Amen.
And this Collect.
ALMIGHTY and everliving God, who makest us both to will and to do those things that be good and acceptable unto thy divine Majesty; We make our humble supplications unto thee for these thy servants, upon whom (after the example of thy holy Apostles) we have now laid our hands, to certify them (by this sign) of thy favour and gracious goodness towards them. Let thy fatherly hand, we beseech thee, ever be over them, let thy Holy Spirit ever be with them; and so lead them in the knowledge and obedience of thy Word, that in the end they may obtain everlasting life; through our Lord Jesus Christ, who with thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
ALMIGHTY Lord, and everlasting God, vouchsafe, we 0 beseech thee, to direct, sanctify, and govern, both our hearts and bodies, in the ways of thy laws, and in the works of thy commandments; that, through thy most mighty protection both here and ever, we may be preserved in body and soul; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
Then the Bishop shall bless them, saying thus, The Blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, be upon you, and remain with you for ever. Amen.
And there shall none be admitted to the holy Communion, until such time as he be confirmed, or be ready and desirous to be confirmed.
by Philip Schaff written and influenced by James Ussher.
The Protestant clergy in Ireland accepted the English Prayer-Book in 1560. Whether the Elizabethan Articles of Religion were also adopted is uncertain. At all events, they did not fully satisfy the rigorous Calvinism which came to prevail there for a period even more extensively than in England, and which found an advocate in an Irish scholar and prelate of commanding character and learning.
The first Convocation of the Irish Protestant clergy, which took place after the model of the English Convocation, adopted a doctrinal formula of its own, under the title 'Articles of Religion, agreed upon by the Archbishops and Bishops, and the rest of the clergy of Ireland, in the Convocation holden at Dublin in the year of our Lord God 1615, for the avoiding of diversities of opinions, and the establishing of consent touching true religion.'
They were drawn up by James Ussher, head of the theological faculty and Vice-Chancellor of Trinity College, Dublin, afterwards Archbishop of Armagh, and Primate of all Ireland. He was born in 1580, died 1656, and was buried in Westminster Abbey by order of Cromwell. He was the greatest theological and antiquarian scholar of the Episcopal Church of his age, and was highly esteemed by Churchmen and Puritans, being a connecting link between the contending parties. He was elected into the Westminster Assembly of Divines, but the King's prohibition and his loyalty to the cause of the crown and episcopacy forbade him to attend. He had an extraordinary familiarity with Biblical and patristic literature, and, together with his friend Vossius of Holland, he laid the foundation for a critical investigation of the ecumenical creeds. Whether formally commissioned by the Convocation or not, he must, from his position, have had the principal share in the preparation of those Articles. They are 'in strict conformity with the opinions he entertained at that period of his life.
By a decree of the Synod appended to the Dublin Articles, they were to be a rule of public doctrine, and any minister who should publicly teach any doctrine contrary to them, and after due admonition should refuse to conform, was to be 'silenced and deprived of all spiritual promotions.' The Viceroy of Ireland, in the name of King James, gave his approval. James, with all his high notions of episcopacy and 664hatred of Puritanism, was a Calvinist in theology, and countenanced the Synod of Dort. It is stated that the adoption of this Confession induced Calvinistic ministers of Scotland to settle in Ireland.
But in the reign of Charles I. and his adviser, Archbishop Laud, a reaction set in against Calvinism. An Irish Convocation in 1635, under the lead of the Earl of Strafford, Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, and his chaplain, John Bramhall (one of the ablest High-Church Episcopalians, who was made Bishop of Londonderry, 1634, and Archbishop of Armagh, 1661 died, 1663), adopted the Thirty-nine Articles 'for the manifestation of agreement with the Church of England in the confession of the same Christian faith and the doctrine of the sacraments.' This act was intended quietly to set aside the Irish Articles; and hence they were ignored in the canons adopted by that convocation. Ussher, however, who continued to adhere to Calvinism, though on terms of friendship with Laud, required subscription to both series, and in a contemporary letter to Dr. Ward he says: 'The Articles of Religion agreed upon in our former Synod, anno 1615, we let stand as we did before. But for the manifestation of our agreement with the Church of England, we have received and approved your Articles also, concluded in the year 1562, as you may see in the first of our Canons. After the Restoration the Dublin Articles seem to have been lost sight of, and no mention was made of them when, in the beginning of the nineteenth century, the English and Irish establishments were consolidated into 'the United Church of England and Ireland.
The Irish Articles are one hundred and four in number, arranged under nineteen heads. They are a clear and succinct system of divinity, in full harmony with Calvinism, excepting the doctrine of the ecclesiastical supremacy of the crown (which is retained from the English Articles). They incorporate the substance of the Thirty-nine Articles and the Lambeth Articles, but are more systematic and complete. They teach absolute predestination and perseverance, denounce the Pope as Antichrist, inculcate the Puritan view of Sabbath observance, and make no mention of three orders in the ministry, nor of the necessity of episcopal ordination. In all these particulars they prepared the way for the doctrinal standards of the Westminster Assembly. They were the chief basis of the Westminster Confession, as is evident from the general order, the headings of chapters and subdivisions, and the almost literal agreement of language in the statement of several of the most important doctrines.
Works of the Most Rev. James Ussher, D.D., Lord Archbishop of Armagh, and Primate of all Ireland. With a Life of the Author, and an Account of his Writings. By Charles Richard Elrington, D.D. Dublin, 1847, 16 Vols. See Vol. I. pp. 38 sqq. and Appendix IV.
Ch. Hardwick: A History of the Articles of Religion, pp. 181 sqq., 351 sqq.
James Seaton Reid, D.D.: History of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. Belfast, 1834, 3 vols.
W. D. Killen, D.D. (Presb. Prof. of Eccles. Hist. at Belfast): The Ecclesiastical History of Ireland from the Earliest Period to the Present Time. London, 1875, 2 vols. (Vol. I. pp. 492 sqq.; Vol. II. pp. 17 sqq.)
The Irish Articles are printed in Vol. III. pp. 526 sqq. of this work, in Dr. Elrington's Life of Ussher (Vol. I. Append. IV.), in Hardwick (Append. VI.), and in Killen (Vol. I. Append. III.).
 Archbishop Ussher, in a sermon preached before the English House of Commons, 1621, declared: 'We all agree that the Scriptures of God are the perfect rule of our faith: we all consent in the main grounds of religion drawn from thence; we all subscribe to the Articles of Doctrine agreed upon in the Synod of the year 1562.' But he must have understood this in the general sense of assent, as he was addressing laymen who never subscribed the Articles. Elrington, p. 43, and Hardwick, p. 182. The Irish Church adopted, in 1566 (1567), a 'Brief Declaration' in XII. Articles of Religion; but these are substantially the same as the XI. Articles prepared by Archbishop Parker, 1559 or 1560, and provisionally used in England till 1563. In Ireland they continued in force till 1615. See Elrington, Append.; Hardwick, pp. 122, 337; and Killen, Vol. I. pp. 395, 515, 520.  He and his family spell the name with double s (Latin, Usserius), but it is often spelled Usher.  Dr. Elrington, Life of J. Ussher, pp. 43, 44. Comp. also the 'Body of Divinity,' which was published in Ussher's name during the sessions of the Westminster Assembly, and which, he admitted to have compiled, in early life, from the writings of others.  Killen, Vol. I. p. 495.  Killen, Vol. II. p. 23: 'The silence of the canons in respect to the Calvinistic formulary, now nearly twenty years in use, was fatal to its claims, and thus it was quietly superseded. Heylin errs in stating (Life of Laud) that the Dublin Articles were actually 'called in.'  Elrington, Life, p. 176.  Hardwick, p. 190.  This agreement has been proved by Professor Mitchell, D.D., of St. Andrews, in his tract The Westminster Confession of Faith, 3d ed., Edinburgh, 1867, and in the Introduction to his edition of the Minutes of the Westminster Assembly, 1874, pp. xlvi. sqq. We shall return to the subject more fully in the section on the Westminster Confession.
The "active obedience of Jesus Christ" is the righteousness which saves us. Here is how the Church described it almost a thousand years before the Reformation in the Athanasian Creed:
"...Who, although He is God and man, yet He is not two, but one Christ. One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of that manhood into God..."
Jesus Christ was not God in a suit of human skin but rather He was fully a man. He did what He did in his living, suffering and dying not out of divine ability but out of faithful obedience. Jesus not only died passively for the remission of our sins, but He lived actively for the imputation of our righteousness. His Resurrection and Ascension are attributed to His obedience. His authority over heaven and earth and His coming again in judgment is similarly due to the historical fact that Jesus lived as a man without sin. Without Jesus's active obedience AS A MAN, the cause of our righteousness and our claim to a heavenly inheritance would have no value whatsoever.
A disturbing trend in Anglicanism is the emergence of prelacy as the established form of episcopacy. The principal support for prelatical episcopacy comes from the Anglo-Catholic wing of Anglicanism. Anglo-Catholics hold that bishops are indispensable to the Church. They believe that God has vested bishops with supreme authority over the Church as the successors to the apostles.
That belief has no real basis in Scripture. The English Reformers found no warrant for any particular order or form of ecclesiastical polity in the Bible. They rejected the exclusive claim of both episcopalians and presbyterians and recognized episcopacy not as of divine right but as merely an ancient and allowable form of polity. If they were here today, they would say that just as episcopacy has come to be associated with Anglicanism, a presbyterial form of governance would not have been incompatible given different historical circumstances.
The singularity of Anglican identity is not fixed to its form of governance but rather to its form of worship. While we acknowledge the Ordinal as one of our Anglican "Formularies" and desire to maintain its tradition, it is not an essential or fixed formulary like the liturgies of Morning and Evening Prayer and Holy Communion.
A number of factors contribute to the emergence of prelacy as the established form of episcopacy in today's Anglicanism:
We live in a time of uncertainty and in such times people turn to more authoritative forms of leadership. Authority is apt to become confused with infallibility.
The departure of conservative Anglicans from the extremes of liberalism has removed a major obstacle to Anglo-Catholic aspirations that promote Catholic faith, order, and practice. By “Catholic” they do not mean the reformed catholicism of historic Anglicanism. They seek to move Anglicanism closer to the so-called apostolic churches—the Independent Catholic, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox Churches. These churches are prelatical in their form of ecclesiastical governance as well as unreformed in their doctrine and practice.
Concepts of leadership and management imported from the business world have influenced the thinking of Anglican churches and have increased their receptivity to authoritative leadership, especially at the provincial and diocesan levels.
The attribution of explosive growth in African provinces to its forms of authoritative leadership. What is promoted as an African style of leadership is upon closer examination an errant interpretation of a leadership style that owes very little to Africa and a great deal to corporatism and the Roman Catholic Church. African Anglicans have incorporated more safeguards, checks, balances, and accountability mechanisms than have other Anglican churches that seek to imitate them.
The laity has been made the scapegoat for the ascendancy of liberalism. Those who promote prelacy in the Anglican churches mistrust the laity and have an irrational fear of representative legislative assemblies.
In the minds of many of today's Anglicans, episcopacy is synonymous with prelacy. It points to the strong influence of Anglo-Catholicism, but this thinking is incompatible with the views of Reformed Anglicans.
Why did the English Reformers versify the Bible? The reason is that they wanted the members of the body of Christ to "read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest" the Word of God (as the Book of Common Prayer puts it) .
In their minds, versification (formatting the Bible into verses) was a key methodology that would promote reading the Scriptures aloud "in common", which in turn would promote a better understanding of it. Whereas before that time (1560) the Reformed churches (including the Church of England) were accustomed to having certain prayers and psalms formatted for reading aloud, the entire Bible had not yet been formatted in this way.
So versification was first set forth in the English vernacular of the Geneva Bible for the responsive lectionary readings and "common prayer" we now enjoy in our received Reformed Anglican tradition, which we know as Morning and Evening Prayer. In fact, this same versification has since been used in every version of the Bible, including versions we typically use today such as the KJV, NIV and ESV.
However, the original reason for versification has now been largely forgotten. Today's non-Anglican evangelicals refer to the discipline of a "quiet time", conducted in a "prayer closet" where Scripture is read and studied privately. While there is certainly nothing wrong with studying God's Word, this was not the designed purpose of versification.
It may surprise others that the key distinction of the original Anglicans was not affection for ritualism, clericalism and devotion to Sacrament, but rather affection for the Word of God to be read, marked, learned and inwardly digested by means of reading it aloud in "common prayer."
In all of the hundreds of collects and prayers that there are in the Book of Common Prayer, not a single one is addressed uniquely to the Holy Ghost (the 3rd person of the Trinity), and only three* are addressed uniquely to Jesus Christ (the 2nd person of the Trinity). Nearly all of them are addressed to the Father. What might we glean from this?
* Collect for the Third Sunday in Advent. Collect for the First Sunday in Lent. Visitation of the Sick.
Praying directly to Jesus
"If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it" (John 14:14). This may (or may not) grant us permission to address Jesus directly in prayer. In either case, the New Testament gives us but one example of the disciples praying directly to the risen Christ, and that is an extraordinary circumstance; “And they stoned Stephen, who called on God, and said, Lord Jesus receive my spirit.” (Acts 7:59).
Yes, there are a handful of other obscure examples, but there are no other clear examples of prayer being directed to the 2nd person of the Trinity. The clearest pattern set by Jesus and the Apostles in Scripture is that our prayers should be directed to the Father (in the name of the Son) even if we should also expect Jesus to hear our prayer directly, especially when uttered at the point of distress.
Praying directly to the Holy Ghost
Is the same true of God's holy Spirit whom we call The Holy Ghost? Should we pray to Him directly? Of course we should never dare to do what God has forbidden, but on this question some say that Scripture is silent, so should it be allowed?
One can only infer that even while we must affirm the unity of the Trinity, we must also affirm the distinctions of its three persons, and here we see clearly that Scripture wants to define separate roles for the members of the Trinity in respect to our prayer:
John 16:13-15: "When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you." Verse 23: “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, He will give it you."
Note Jesus does not say we’re to ask the Holy Ghost, but rather that we’re to ask the Father in the name of Jesus Christ... according to the power of the Holy Ghost. So where does the idea of praying directly to the Holy Spirit come from? A perusal of Roman Catholic liturgy turns up several examples, but in both Catholic and Protestant tradition, the most infamous example is "The Jesus Prayer" which starts out "O Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner." Obviously, this prayer is not Trinitarian. In the Anglican tradition we something similar but it goes like this (responsively):
"Lord have mercy upon us"
"Christ have mercy upon us"
"Lord have mercy upon us"
In other words, we are Trinitarians. We grant the title "Lord" to every member of the Trinity, but we propose to pray for the mercy which comes from the Lord who is our Father, in the name of the Lord who is our savior Jesus Christ, by the power of the Lord who is The Holy Ghost (who proceeds from the Father and the Son).
But aren't we supposed to pray "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit?" No, actually. We are supposed to baptize in that Trinitarian form because we agree that each member of the Trinity has a name that should be honored, but in prayer we emphasize their separate roles.
The pattern of prayer
Pray to the Father Almighty like this, "Our Father which art in heaven..."
Pray in the name of the Son, Jesus Christ. We want the Father to know that when we come to Him, we are coming in His Son's name because otherwise we have no standing before the throne of God.
Pray by the power of God's Holy Spirit. The apostle Paul says "pray always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit”, not TO the Spirit.
So the bottom line is this; our Anglican tradition follows closely the pattern set by the Bible. One should pray to the Father in the name of Jesus by the help of the Spirit. Under normal circumstances we should not expect to engage in a side prayer conversation with Jesus even though he also is sitting on the throne of God and surely hears our prayers himself. We should not expect to engage in any prayer conversation with the Holy Ghost. His role is to help us to pray or even to pray for us when we are unable (Stephen's prayer?), and to carry out the will of God in this world which is God's promised answer.
“Anglican ” means simply that we trace our roots back to the Protestant Reformation when the Church of England (which used to be called “Angle -Land ”) rejected the authority of the pope and the teachings of the Roman Catholic church. Later as the Church of England began to expand beyond the borders of Great Britain, it was no longer appropriate to call the new churches “the Church of England, ” so they began to be called “Anglican. ”
Is an Anglican church just a British church?
No . Currently there are approximately 80 million Anglicans world -wide, making us the third largest Christian communion in the world after Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. This also makes us , by far , the largest historically -Protestant church in existence today. Since the Anglican Church is well established on every continent in the world (with the possible exception of Antarctica) and is made up of people from all races, cultures , and nationalities , our outlook is global versus national , with our largest (and increasingly most significant) churches being found in Africa and Asia.
How do Anglicans worship?
One of the things that made the Church of England unique during the Reformation was their desire to reform the church by changing all that was un biblical while keeping all that was biblical. Liturgical worship (reading, praying, confessing , and singing Scripture) has been the practice of the New Testament Church for thousands of years, and was the practice of the Old Testament Church before that. For instance, the Apostle Paul recites several liturgical statements of faith in his letters. These statements (Phil 2:5 - 11; Col 1:15 -20; 2 Tim 2:11 -13) were most likely said by the first churches weekly to remind themselves of what they believed. Although our liturgical prayers may differ among some branches of the Anglican Communion, many are products of thousands of years of the teaching of the Church.
As traditional Protestant and Reformed Anglicans, we hold that as we pray, so we believe. We believe that Scripture is God ’s inspired and inerrant word and is the chief instrument through which God teaches His people. For this reason, approximately 90% of our Prayer Book is taken directly from Scripture. We also believe that we are part of the continuing Christian story. That story doesn ’t begin with 21st century America , nor will it end with us. Through liturgy , we not only connect with the wisdom of God ’s word but with the wisdom of faithful believers throughout the ages and other Anglicans all over the world. That helps prevent believers in any one time period, or any one country from wandering too far from the Christian path. It also helps our worship to transcend both culture and time.
True Biblical worship is God -centered not man -centered, so you will not find any performers on a stage or special music in our service : we come as one body to hear, respond , and sing to our God in union together, giving all our attention to him alone with reverence and awe (Hebrews 12: 28 -29). The role of the minister in Anglican worship is not that of a celebrity speaker, but as one who has been called to bring and give voice to the Word of God. His words are authoritative only insofar as they conform to the Word of God. He wears robes not because he is special but as an act of humility because his individuality (taste in dress or social class) is not the focus —the content of his words, namely the Gospel and person of Christ alone , is the focus .
If Anglicans are Protestants, why do they sometimes refer to their ministers as “priests”?
“We [Anglicans] have Bishops, Priests and Deacons, but the Priests are Presbyteri not Sacerdotes ... in the New Testament and the Prayer Book [Book of Common Prayer], it is essentially pastoral, never mediatorial, but always concerned with the work of preaching, teaching, and guiding the flock. The minister is a prophet from God to the people, and not a sacrificing or mediating priest ” (p. 321 )
“The Roman Catholic Church gives her ‘priests’ power to ‘offer sacrifices.’ But this is entirely absent from our [Anglican] Ordination Service ... there is nothing sacerdotal provided in the ministry of our Church, it seems clear that the word ‘priest ’ can only be equivalent to ‘presbyter, ’ and, as such, expresses the evangelistic and pastoral ministry associated with the Presbyterate in the New Testament. ” (p. 319 -20 )
The word “presbyter ” derives from Greek πρεσβύτερος (presbyteros), meaning “old man ” or “elder. ” In Old English , this was pronounced “pr ēost ” and later became “priest ”. This is not the same word as the Latin term sacerdos /sacerdotes, literally “one who presents sacred offerings ” (sacrifices).
From The Principles of Theology: An Introduction to the Thirty -Nine Articles by the Rev. Dr. W.H. Griffith Thomas, Principal of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford
Do all Anglicans believe and practice the same way?
No, unfortunately not every branch of the Anglican church has remained faithful to our original beliefs and piety. Anglo - Catholicism (also known as Tractarianism, Puseyism, or the Oxford Movement ) arose in the mid 1800 ’s, several hundred years after the English Reformation and is a departure from the original theology of the English Reformers, the Thirty -Nine Articles of Religion, and the 1662 Book of Common Prayer . As Roman Catholic ritualism became popular, adherence to the authority of Scripture and the doctrines of grace weakened, opening the door , not only to Roman Catholic teachings , but also to liberalism . The Episcopal Church in the United States is one such branch whose faith, piety , and morality no longer reflects that of Scripture or historic Anglicanism.
What is a Reformed Anglican?
Reformed Anglican subscribes to the Thirty -Nine Articles and is committed to understanding them as originally intended in 1553. This understanding of the faith is essentially the same as believed by other Reformed churches throughout Europe at that time. [See http://tinyurl.com/fivesolas for a video lecture series on “The Five Solas” of the Reformation, taught from a n Anglican perspective in full agreement with the Thirty -Nine Articles.]
Reformed Anglican is committed to reading the Daily Office or Holy Communion from the Book of Common Prayer (1662 or equivalent), every morning and evening as the Lord permits. [See http://reformedanglican.us/daily -office for an online version of the Daily Office. ]
The Reformed Anglican does these things because they are consistent with the law of God and the grace which God has shown to his chosen people. By means of this grace, Reformed Anglicans understand and repent of their sin, love the Word of God, preach the Gospel to the lost, feed the poor, pray in faith for those who suffer, and confidently wait for the consummation of this world in the Lord ’s return for judgment.
It is the mark of Christian humility, that we live through God's grace alone, for His glory alone, by faith alone, under the authority of Christ alone and according to Scripture alone. These five are referred to as "The Five Solas of the Reformation."
By Faith Alone
By Grace Alone
Through Christ Alone
To the Glory of God Alone
Here they are taught from a strictly Anglican perspective in full agreement with the 39 Articles. Below you will find a link to the lecture series presented a little over a year ago by the Rev’d Canon Dr. Ashley Null, Senior Research Fellow of the Ridley Institute and theological advisor to the Diocese of the Carolinas. The lectures were part of a clergy retreat for the Diocese of the Carolinas and were filmed at St. Andrew’s Church, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina on February 19 & 20, 2015.
Thomas Cranmer opposed that doctrine commonly called "baptismal regeneration" in which some believe that salvation is conferred upon a man and the Holy Ghost conjoined simply by a priest applying "holy" water while speaking the name of God.
The standard Litany in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer is written for the formal setting of parish worship. The following is an adaptation for use in families and small groups. Not a single word has been changed from the original, but only its format which is restructured for times when no minister is available. This adaptation is recommended for use with informal readings of Morning and Evening Prayer. By demonstrating flexibility toward family worship, the Litany is made more approachable in hope that it will be used as often as suggested by the the Book of Common Prayer (weekly).
To be read in conjunction with Morning or Evening Prayer after the Creed; or after the Third Collect; or before the Holy Communion; or separately.
Some have asked why the Online Morning and Evening Prayer includes Scripture readings from the Geneva Bible (it also includes the traditional King James Bible). There are several reasons.
The Geneva is a good translation from the original languages; not as formalized or as poetic as King James English but more in keeping with the purpose of the early English Reformers which was to permit ordinary Christians to read and understand Scripture in common English. In many (not all) instances, it is more understandable to even modern English speakers than the "authorized" King James.
It was the English translation most familiar to early generations of Reformed Anglicans; for more than 50 years from 1565 until around 1625 by which time it was banned by the established church. Indeed, the King James was unknown to Anglicans until the very end of the Reformed Anglican era.
It contains excellent notes, not like later "study Bibles" whose purpose was to provide an opportunity for academic learning, but rather for regular daily spiritual edification. For example, let's look at today's reading in Psalm 114. In verse 2, the text reads "Judah was his sanctification and Israel his dominion." The note on that verse is "The whole people were witnesses of his holy majesty, in adopting them, and of his mighty power in delivering them." In other words,
"Sanctuary" is not a place of fancy ceremony and decoration but rather a place where the forsaken are adopted as children of God and find rest for their souls.
"Dominion" is not a means of oppression by state and clerical authorities but rather the means by which God delivers his adopted children to heaven.
What did Christians think of Scripture before the Reformation? Let's look at what ordinary Christians believed, as represented by their regular recitation of the Nicene Creed:
The Nicene Creed says that our knowledge of God is "ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES."
The Nicene Creed says that no man is the author of Scripture, but that God himself is the author in that the Holy Spirit "SPAKE BY THE PROPHETS."
The Nicene Creed says that we can know Scripture testifies truthfully concerning the invisible because God has authenticated what it says about the visible by acting in history, especially through the person of Jesus Christ.
The Nicene Creed says that the truth of what the Church declares is subordinate to what God has spoken directly in Scripture.
Contrary to liberal assumption, the Reformation declared nothing new in respect to the role of Scripture. It reestablished the essential doctrine that Scripture speaks in God's own words; it ALONE is authentic, authoritative and complete.
I BELIEVE in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And of all things visible and invisible:
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten son of God, Begotten of his Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of very God, Begotten, not made, Being of one substance with the Father, By whom all things were made:
Who for us men, and for our salvation came down from heaven, And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, And was made man, And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried, And the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, And ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of the Father. And he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead:
Whose kingdom shall have no end. And I believe in the Holy Ghost, The Lord and giver of life, Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son, Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, Who spake by the Prophets. And I believe one Catholic and Apostolic Church. I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins. And I look for the Resurrection of the dead, And the life of the world to come. Amen.
In today's Morning Prayer, we read John 7 and noted the Pharisees and religious authorities who plotted to condemn Jesus in secret, ignored the evidence that He was the Christ, and smeared the witness (Nicodemus) with personal insults. Nicodemus for his part reminded the judges what the Law requires:
An open trial
Adherence to the rules of evidence and testimony
His accusers, facing their deceit and not wishing to repent of it, declared a code of silence:
Singing in unison or in parts is consistent with the concept of worshiping through "Common Prayer." By contrast, just as in the modern church we often suffer clergy-centric worship, so also we suffer performance-centric music. We also far too often follow the musical norms of our culture, especially in terms of "background music."
These all were bad ideas that evolved in the late 17th century. At the peak of the Reformation (16th century), music (the singing of hymns specifically) was understood as a divine gift given to humans alone, second only to the Bible in terms of its ability to communicate the Gospel (Martin Luther) . For the same reason that Reformers were eager to translate God's Word into the vernacular and to put printed Bibles into the hands of the people, so were they also eager to write hymns in the vernacular language for congregational singing.
From a Reformed Anglican point of view (late 16th and early 17th century), congregational worship and singing were designed to be done in common. The Reformed Anglican musical tradition tends to de-emphasize choirs and concerts in favor of simple congregational singing, characterized by the participation of members either in unison or in harmony.
Explaining some of these concepts, here are two items by T. David Gordon. I especially recommend his lecture (because it is free):
In this morning's Order of Prayer, we read Psalm 109 which is David praying to God in respect to King Saul. One notices immediately that David's attitude is very different from the erastian prayers that one finds in the Book of Common Prayer in respect to the head of State.
While on the one hand we know that David never sets his own hand against "God's anointed", the psalm plainly sets forth an example to us of how we must pray for the State. David prays not that the king will be blessed by the Lord, but that the Lord will be blessed by the king. In short, David's heartfelt prayer is this:
Minister. Reign supreme, O God, over the powers of this world. Answer. And mercifully hear us when we call upon thee.
In the first revision to the Articles of Religion (1571), Article 28 had an important paragraph removed. In Thomas Cranmer's original 42 Articles (1553), he explained at length why the Body of Christ is not 'in' the sacrament of the Lord's Supper except spiritually and by faith. Here is the paragraph unwisely removed by Archbishop Parker when the 39 Articles were revised.
"Forasmuch as the truth of man's nature requireth, that the body of one and the selfsame man cannot be at one time in diverse places, but must needs be in on certain place; therefore the body of Christ cannot be present at one time and in many and diverse places. And because, as Holy Scripture doth teach, Christ was taken up into heaven, and there shall continue until the end of the world, a faithful man ought not either to believe or openly to confess the real and bodily presence, as they term it, of Christ's flesh and blood, in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper."
John Newton... from slave ship captain to Reformed Anglican:
"The Lord must have loved me before I was born or else He would not have seen anything in me to love afterwards. I am quite certain that if God had not chosen me, I should not have ever chosen Him. I am sure that He chose me before I was born or else He would have never chosen me afterwards. And He must have elected me for reasons unknown to me because I could never find any reason in myself why He should have looked upon me with special love."
Newton's view of grace and election is precisely the teaching of the 39 Articles.
XVII. Of Predestination and Election.
PREDESTINATION to life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby, before the foundations of the world were laid, He hath constantly decreed by His counsel secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom He hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation as vessels made to honour. Wherefore they which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God be called according to God's purpose by His Spirit working in due season; they through grace obey the calling; they be justified freely; they be made sons of God by adoption; they be made like the image of His only-begotten Son Jesus Christ; they walk religiously in good works; and at length by God's mercy they attain to everlasting felicity.
As the godly consideration of Predestination and our Election in Christ is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons and such as feeling in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh and their earthly members and drawing up their mind to high and heavenly things, as well because it doth greatly establish and confirm their faith of eternal salvation to be enjoyed through Christ, as because it doth fervently kindle their love towards God: so for curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God's Predestination is a most dangerous downfall, whereby the devil doth thrust them either into desperation or into wretchlessness of most unclean living no less perilous than desperation.
Furthermore, we must receive God's promises in such wise as they be generally set forth in Holy Scripture; and in our doings that will of God is to be followed which we have expressly declared unto us in the word of God.
Today's Collect Prayer presents a good illustration of the perspective of Morning and Evening Prayer. The author (Thomas Cranmer) begins by identifying who is doing the praying: "This thy family." Only afterwards does he then expand the prayer to matters of the "thy holy Church", and finally to persons those outside the Church that "should be converted and live." Indeed, he constructs this Collect as three separate prayers, each with its own 'amen'.
Let it never be said that Morning and Evening Prayer is not the bread and butter of Anglican piety or that the liturgy is not designed primarily for use in the home.
In most churches, the kind of "Altar Call" one typically hears is this: "Come if you hear Jesus calling." It is typically made at the end of a worship service, after the preaching, prayers and music; when the hearers are most likely to be emotionally receptive.
In the Book of Common Prayer, there is also a form of Altar Call but it is significantly different, reflective of Reformed doctrine and practice. The main difference is that it comes not at the end of the service but at the beginning, immediately following the Confession of Sin. It is not an emotional appeal to unregenerate "goats". Rather it expects that those to whom the gift of repentance is given are also given the gift of faith; to hear God's Word, to pray and to respond.
"Minister. O Lord, open thou our lips. Answer. And our mouth shall show forth thy praise. Minister. O God, make speed to save us. Answer. O Lord, make haste to help us."
Then it quotes from Hebrews 3:
"... To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts : as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness; When your fathers tempted me : proved me, and saw my works. Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said : It is a people that do err in their hearts, for they have not known my ways. Unto whom I sware in my wrath : that they should not enter into my rest."
Jonathan Edwards once said “The principle evidence of life is motion; so the principle evidence of saving grace is holy motion.” In other words, as the evidence of being physically alive is in breathing, moving, and acting, so also is the evidence of being spiritually alive in movement toward the things of God and the spiritual fruit that appears. As Jesus said, “The tree is known by its fruit” (Matt. 12:33).
Christianity, as defined in the Reformation is not for those that sit to merely see or listen, but it is for those that move, who rise up from their seats, raise their helpless hands and voices in response to God's Word, and do that for which He has purposed them.
In this light, based on a fair appraisal of the effects of our Morning and Evening Prayer, we understand its closing words to mean that Christ supplies every need both here and hereafter, and that we should have full assurance that He will fulfill them in as we... together... labor for the fruit that He intended.
"ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplications unto thee; and dost promise, that when two or three are gathered together in thy Name thou wilt grant their requests; Fulfill now, O Lord, the desires and petitions of thy servants, as may be most expedient for them; granting us in this world knowledge of thy truth, and in the world to come life everlasting. Amen.
The "Te Deum Laudamus" is a Canticle in Morning Prayer, and as such it is made to be sung. Its origin is sometimes linked to the baptism of St. Augustine, but we know with surety that singing it is one of the oldest traditions in Christendom, and we know for a fact that it was esteemed by the earliest Reformed Anglicans. English soldiers would sing it before going into battle and English kings such as Henry VIII were taught it as children. In medieval times, the Te Deum Laudamus became primarily associated with the Mass, but the English Reformation brought it back to its original purpose as a prayer that belongs in regular daily devotion.
The text of the Te Deum Laudamus that we find in the Book of Common Prayer is suitable for chant, but it is certainly not the only way it may be recited or sung. One of the more popular ways that Anglicans have experienced the prayer is in Common Meter because it could be easily learned by untrained musicians and sung to any Common Meter tune of which there are hundreds. "Amazing Grace" for example is a Common Meter tune.
In the Online Daily Prayer by Reformed Anglican Fellowship, there is an optional version of the Te Deum Laudamus written in Common Meter. For an informal family, group or church gathering without instrumental accompaniment, singing this version can be an appropriate and excellent feature in Morning Prayer; both fun and edifying.
Te Deum Laudamus (in common meter)
O God, we praise thee, and confess that thou the only Lord and everlasting Father art, by all the earth adored.
To thee all angels cry aloud; to thee the powers on high, both cherubim and seraphim, continually do cry:
O holy, holy, holy Lord, whom heavenly hosts obey, the world is with the glory filled of thy majestic sway!
The apostles' glorious company, and prophets crowned with light, with all the martyrs' noble host, thy constant praise recite.
The holy Church throughout the world, O Lord, confesses thee, that thou eternal Father art, of boundless majesty.
Thine only Son, adored and true He who for us died, also the Holy Comforter, our advocate and guide.
Thou art the King of glory, Christ, the everlasting Son; humbly thou cam'st to set us free, nor Virgin womb didst shun.
When thou hadst overcome death's sting and opened heaven's door, thou didst ascend to God's right hand in glory evermore.
When thou shalt come to be our judge, bring us whom thou hadst brought, to dwell on high with all thy saints in joy surpassing thought.
The "Order of Morning and Evening Prayer" is the Anglican "quiet time" devotional guide. Compare it with other daily devotionals. Our devotional helps in so many more ways:
To confess our sins,
To read and study the Bible (intensely and comprehensively),
To rehearse the essentials of the Gospel (Creed),
To pray with other Christians corporately,
To pray for neighbors, ministers, authorities, and enemies,
To give thanks to Christ for answered prayer according to God's mercy.
No other daily devotional guide is as comprehensive as the Book of Common Prayer's "Order of Morning and Evening Prayer." It is NOT just a study guide. It is NOT just a meditational guide. It is NOT just a liturgical service. It is NOT just for mature adults. It is a guide for all circumstances, stages, and purposes of Christian living. Those who do the "daily offices" only on Sunday under the direction of a minister are missing their point entirely. The Anglican devotional is meant primarily for daily use in the Christian home.
Although doing Morning and Evening Prayer is not difficult, especially for those that use the online version offered by Reformed Anglican Fellowship, beware the advice that "quiet time" is easy. Growing as a Christian is hard. If it's comfortable then it's not helping you to mature. Anglicanism's "quiet time" devotional is a guide and encouragement for Christians that expect to be changed; sanctified DAY BY DAY according to pleasure of the Lord who listens to our prayers but knows and does what is most "expedient for us."
O Lord, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. For thou hast made of a city an heap; of a defenced city a ruin: a palace of strangers to be no city; it shall never be built. Therefore shall the strong people glorify thee, the city of the terrible nations shall fear thee. For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall. Thou shalt bring down the noise of strangers, as the heat in a dry place; even the heat with the shadow of a cloud: the branch of the terrible ones shall be brought low. And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it. And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.
As Bible readers know, when God says something two or three times in a row, it's time to sit up and pay attention. So in yesterday's Gleaning we read in the first part of Luke 24 (verses 1-35) that Jesus made himself known to his disciples through reading and explaining the Scriptures around the dinner table. In today's morning reading from the second half of the same chapter (verses 36-53), we see Jesus doing it again.
He gathers with another group of disciples in a home to explain to them who He really is. After convincing them that He is not merely a ghost, He calls them to the table for a meal (a regular meal, not a sacramental meal). When they are seated and while they are all eating, He reads from the Scripture and explains to them what it means; His death and resurrection, repentance and remission of sins, the "Great Commission", and the coming of the Holy Ghost. Then He reminds them that they are all commissioned to be witnesses to the Truth, and He concludes with a blessing.
In today's Morning Prayer, we came to Luke 24 and read in verse 30-32 (concerning Jesus who appeared to the disciples after the Resurrection):
"And it came to pass [while he was explaining to them the Scriptures], as he sat at table with them, he took the bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they knew him: and he was no more seen of them. And they said between themselves, Did not our hearts burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and when He opened unto us the Scriptures."
Of note, this meal with the risen Lord was NOT Holy Communion. It was a normal meal and it proceeded like this:
The Scriptures were opened and read.
A blessing was said.
Food was distributed.
Luke 24 suggests a pattern for conducting Morning and Evening Prayer in the home; it suggests the liturgy be read just before, after or even during a family/community meal. It also teaches us that we may reasonably expect everyday mealtime disciplines such as this to lead to faith, for in verse 34 we read that because of their encounter with Jesus, all the disciples were subsequently able to say:
How easy it is to allow prideful and vainglorious thoughts to build up inside us! But for Anglicans that attend to their Confession of Sin twice per day, the doctrine that Christ ONLY is good stands boldly in the path, allowing no one to pass without laying aside their pretensions of personal righteousness and expectations of special reward. "And there is no health in us. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders."
Many modern revisions of the Book of Common Prayer eliminate or water down these words. Some even replace the Confession of Sin with a Confession of Need, but by doing so they relinquish their claim to being Anglican. Article XV states it clearly:
CHRIST in the truth of our nature was made like unto us in all things, sin only except, from which He was clearly void, both in His flesh and in His spirit. He came to be the lamb without spot, Who by sacrifice of Himself once made, should take away the sins of the world: and sin, as S. John saith, was not in Him. But all we the rest, although baptized and born again in Christ, yet offend in many things: and if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.