Time to Pray Time to Pray
Prayer During the Day and Night Prayer from Common Worship: Daily Prayer

The Archbishops' Council
ISBN 9780715121221 (0715121227)
Church House Publishing, 2006

Category: Prayer and Poetry
Reviewed by: Phil Groom

In contemporary western society, with its constant push and shove and pressure, time to pray is an increasingly rare commodity. We expect instant responses, rapid delivery, 24/7 service — time out? What's that?

This makes this book an especially valuable gift: Time to Pray. Excerpted from the more substantial Common Worship: Daily Prayer, this is a slim volume (just 110 pages) that's just the right size to slip into a bag or even a large pocket, ideal to carry with you and use as a way to fit prayer into your daily routine: as stated in the introduction, p.1, it offers "a framework for personal devotion that can be used at any time of day." It's also smartly bound and elegantly presented, a soft leather binding that's a pleasure to hold: a book that not only does you good but feels good with it! (The red band is simply a removable wraparound paper flash).

Content includes two introductions outlining the rationale behind this latest addition to the Common Worship series along with a helpful guide on how to use the book: straight-talking advice on setting the scene for personal devotions and a reminder that whilst short Bible readings are included these "are not intended to provide a balanced biblical diet over a period of time" — to ensure a more complete reading of Scripture the reader is advised to follow the pattern in the Common Worship Lectionary.

This is followed by Prayer During the Day for each day of the week along with seasonal variations (Advent, Christmas, Epiphany etc), Night Prayer and a selection of Psalms plus the Lord's Prayer inside the back cover.

Compared to the original Anglican Book of Common Prayer, Common Worship has become a rather unwieldy multi-volume affair. Some years ago Martin Thornton wrote:

The Prayer Book was not a shiny volume to be borrowed from a shelf on entering the church and carefully replaced on leaving. It was a beloved and battered personal possession, a lifelong companion and guide, to be carried from church to kitchen, to living room, to bedside table. It was a symbol of the domestic emphasis, providing spiritual stimulus, moral guidance, meditative material and family prayer. [1]

In Time to Pray it might be said that Common Worship has at last returned to its roots, giving us a volume that meets this deep-seated spiritual need, where religion becomes not the opiate of the people but brings power to the people. All that's needed now is a lower priced edition to bring it within the people's reach!

1. Martin Thornton, "The Caroline Divines and the Cambridge Platonists," in Cheslyn Jones et al (Ed), The Study of Spirituality, SPCK, 1986, p.435, cited in James A Wiseman, Spirituality and Mysticism: A Global View, Orbis Books, 2006, p.149

Phil Groom, July 2006

Phil Groom is this site's Webmaster and Reviews Editor. He's a freelance blogger, writer and web developer who spent ten years managing the bookshop at London School of Theology alongside eight years writing web reviews for Christian Marketplace magazine before he came to his senses and went independent. You can find him on facebook or follow him on twitter @notbovvered.

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