RCC Prayer Book Overview
what is the prayer booklet?
The RCC Morning and Evening Prayer Book is a collection of prayers adapted from the Daily Office that will inspire your heart toward a deeper love for God and his Word. Most of us wake up in the morning and drink a cup of coffee, brush our teeth, and read the newspaper. Or maybe we start the day off with a simple prayer and Bible reading. Routines and rituals are not a bad thing. They keep us on track and remind us of what matters most. In a spiritual sense, I believe that we need to have rhythms and routines to grow in our daily walk with Christ.
The Daily Office is one of the ways that Christians have prayed for centuries. The Daily Office or Divine Office, which is based on the ancient practice of prescribed daily times of prayer. The name comes from the Latin officium divinum meaning “divine office” or “divine duty.” These services are accompanied by daily Scripture readings which include a reading from the Psalms, Old Testament, the New Testament, and a Gospel reading. The Daily Office includes prayers for morning, noon, and evening. J.I. Packer says, “None of us will! ever find a better pattern for private prayer and Bible-reading anywhere than that offered by the Prayer Book’s own daily offices.”
what is ordinary time?
The Church Season of Ordinary Time are the weeks following Pentecost Sunday that run until Advent. The Day of Pentecost and the season of Ordinary Time help us embrace our commission by the Risen Christ who has ascended to the Father and who has poured out his Holy Spirit on the Church, sending us with the gospel to our neighbors and to the nations as we await his return. The RCC readings seek to align with these high points during the Church Year, even reflecting the colors of the Church calendar. Therefore, the books of the bible are not read in order, but in light of their doctrinal focus and alignment with the rhythm of the Church year. This is a time to be sitting at the feet of Jesus, but not necessarily an idle time. Its a time of growing in our faith by practicing it in ordinary ways.
THE CHALLENGE OF THIS BOOKLET
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (d. 1945) in his two works, The Cost of Discipleship and Life Together. Discipleship (published in 1937) addressed the tension between what Bonhoeffer calls “costly grace” and “cheap grace.” Cheap grace “is preaching forgiveness without repentance; it is baptism without the discipline of community; it is the Lord’s Supper without confession of sin; it is absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without the living, incarnate Jesus Christ.”
Costly grace calls the believer to true discipleship and into a life of following Jesus Christ no matter the circumstances or consequences. Costly grace, says Bonhoeffer, is characteristic of Jesus and his disciples and thereby should be characteristic of all Christianity. It is with this theme that Bonhoeffer commends his readers to take up Morning and Evening Prayer. This call is not an easy one, but it is one that is an imitation of our Savior and a worthy endeavor as we walk out our lives as followers of Christ.
HOW TO USE THIS BOOKLET
We challenge you to follow the Christian rhythm of beginning and ending each day with Bible reading and prayer. In doing so, you will be joining believers around the world and throughout history – stretching all the way back to the prayer practices of ancient Israel.
Twice a day – in the morning and in the evening – take out this booklet, a Bible, and a pen or pencil.
Pray through the prayers and read the Scriptures, crossing-off each reference after you’ve read the passage. Write down prayer requests, thanksgivings, and questions about the Scriptures in the blank pages at the back of this booklet.
Take your time! Even if you don’t feel like praying or reading, trust that God will honor this sacrifice of your time. He will shape and bless you in ways you may not immediately notice.
Praying Together vs. Praying Alone
If you can, pray and read with others. *Sections marked with an asterisk are to be said/read by a leader. Otherwise, say the texts in unison.* But even if you cannot, try to not change the “we” to “I”. In all our prayer, it is helpful to remember that we do not pray alone. That we belong to the Church, the body of Christ.