Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Daily Prayer Resources

This is a set of resources for establishing a practice of daily prayer, especially morning and evening prayer.

The first section has prayers and prayer services. Many of them are written to be done communally but can also be done individually. The second section has resources for various elements of a prayer service, like readings or Prayers of the People.

The last two sections are more relevant to individual reading and prayer. The third section has suggestions for how to choose shorter texts to focus on, and the fourth section has suggestions for daily prayer focuses or short daily prayers.

Orders of Prayer
Methodist Prayer. This has a morning, evening, compline, and (new!) midday prayer service each day as well as information about the Wesley Fast. In each service, there's at least one Psalm (sometimes two), an Old Testament reading, and a New Testament reading. Morning prayer includes the Benedictus, and evening prayer includes the Magnificat. Both have a prayer of thanksgiving, a Wesley hymn (no tune provided, which is the most difficult part), a prayer of confession, a time for Prayers of the People, the Apostle's Creed, a collect of the day, and the Lord's Prayer.

Common Prayer. This has a daily prayer, a very short midday prayer, and an evening prayer for every day. There are also some prayers for other occasions. All the songs used have sheet music on the website. The daily prayer includes a Psalm, an Old Testament reading, and a New Testament reading. The evening prayer always includes a confession, the Nicene Creed, and a Biblical song (Miriam's song, the Magnificat, the Benedictus, etc.).

Daily prayers based on Book of Common Prayer (Anglican/Episcopal). An order for today and for the current time (morning, noonday, evening, compline) can be found here, but all the rites in the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer are here under "The Daily Office." Texts for that day can be found under "The Daily Office Lectionary."

Prayers from the Orthodox Church. These are shorter prayers for many times and occasions from the Orthodox Church in America.

Elements of a Prayer Service
Prayers of the People - This should be part of both corporate and individual prayer. This should include prayers for one's Christian community/communities, for leaders of the local and global church (including missionaries), for leaders of the nations and local governments, for peace among the nations, for one's family and people with whom one lives, and for other particular people who need/have asked for prayer. (The particular order for Prayers of the People that I use also includes particular prayers for those who are sick, those who have died, those who are homeless, and those who are traveling this week.)

I put together a booklet with pictures of the people/communities I pray for that I use for Prayers of the People, and I'm happy to share this.

Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) daily readings. This is expanded from the standard Lectionary texts for Sundays, Holy Days, Holy Week, and Easter Week. There are typically three readings; generally there will be one text in common from Monday through Wednesday and a different one in common from Thursday through Saturday.

Catholic lectionary daily readings. There are usually two readings, one of which is a Gospel.

Suggested readings from the Orthodox Church. The number varies a lot by day, but there are always at least two and sometimes up to eight or nine.

Seedbed metrical psalter. The link is to a liturgical arrangement of the Psalms (one per day from the beginning of Advent until you run out of Psalms during Pentecost, with Psalm 119 split across multiple days and some Psalms repeated). You an use this to sing a Psalm each day during the parts of the year when one is assigned. I also like using this psalter with the Psalms from Methodist Prayer because I like singing the Psalms, and I appreciate the metrical arrangement with hymn tunes I know.

For short text focus:
The above provide several longer texts. For a time to focus on one text, you could choose one of these, or you could choose to focus on a different text. You could read through a book of Bible or use texts based on a study that you do individually or in a group.

You could also use that day's text from Upper RoomDaily Text, or Forward Day by Day. These are all daily devotionals that can be found online or subscribed to by email. There are also physical copies of Upper Room and Forward Day by Day. Upper Room texts vary greatly from day to day, and sometimes there are two texts (one longer, the other only one or two verses). Seedbed texts tend to go through one book at a time on weekdays with variation on weekends. The texts for Forward Day by Day are based on the RCL for Sundays, Holy Days, Holy Week, and Easter Week and the Daily Office readings on other days.

Short daily prayer or prayer focus:
The Upper Room devotionals include a short prayer and a prayer focus. Daily Text includes a prayer for each day, but no other prayer focus.
The United Methodist Women Twitter account posts a mission focus each day as well as the names of missionaries with birthdays that day.
Pray UMC is a movement to pray for the United Methodist Church every Monday until the next General Conference.
Skyline Urban Ministries posts a daily prayer on Facebook.
The Episcopal Church tweets a short prayer each morning and evening.

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