A few years ago, in an old bookstore in New England, I came upon a small, worn little red Book of Common Prayer. For this Baptist boy, the Book of Common Prayer has become a treasure in my library… as its so full of richness from over four hundred years of the Church of England. I like opening it every now and then to walk through morning or evening vespers. It’s a good discipline for my individualistic mind… where prayers can wander aimlessly and selfishly at times. The Book of Common Prayer is more communal in its content than my prayers usually are. Of course, like anything in our life, too much repitition can lead to apathy… as this book has become for countless church-goers over the centuries. But as long as the heart is longing for God, these prayers can help bend our souls to God. I prayed this, from The Book of Common Prayer issued by the Church of England
Almighty and most merciful Father, We have erred and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep, We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts, We have offended against they holy laws, We have left undone those things which we ought to have done, And we have done those things which we ought not to have done, And there is no health in us : But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us miserable offenders ; Spare thou them, O God, which confess their faults, Restore thou them that are penitent, According to they promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesu our Lord : And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake, That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, to the glory of thy Holy Name. Amen.