CofE Canon law …

For myself and people like me who operate under the canons of the Church of England, among which are laid upon us obligations regarding daily prayer and forms of service, here is my exploration of what is said and how these prayers fit within the framework.  There are a number of canons that relate to this topic and they are not all in the same place.

Church of England and canons

There are two strands of canons which are pertinent here. One is about what forms of service are authorised, the other is what a priest is meant to do in terms of daily office.
In short CofE priests are supposed to say Morning and Evening prayer each day (Canon C46) and those services are defined by canons in terms of what they are and should or may contain.
So the issue for the forms of service on this site and in the Book of Our Common Prayer is whether they can be considered as Morning and /or Evening Prayer. This, then, leads us to what constitutes or could constitute those services in canonical terms.
This covers the issue of public worship: for the ordained MP and EP are obliged upon them. At this point then, the form of prayer becomes notable and the Service of the Word may apply.
The authorisation under B1 (which constitutes the forms of service which may be used) extends, by the powers of B2, to the Service of the Word (in Common Worship). Meaning that a Service of the Word as defined in Common Worship may be a form of Morning or Evening Prayer.
The MP & EP forms published on the CofE website are considered thus:
“The orders for Prayer During the Day, Morning and Evening Prayer and Night Prayer comply with the provisions of A Service of the Word, which is authorized pursuant to Canon B 2 of the Canons “
The main thing for our purposes, then, is that the BoCP may “comply with the provisions of A Service of the Word” in such a way as to be considered Morning or Evening Prayer. To do this they must comply with the ‘shape’ of the SotW and with any particulars within that shape.
A Service of the Word (details can be found here):
“…consists almost entirely of notes and directions and allows for considerable local variation and choice within a common structure…”
Overall the aim is to have a liturgy with a preparatory phase, liturgy of the Word, prayers and conclusion. Here are the directions:

Preparation

  The minister welcomes the people with the Greeting.
  Authorized Prayers of Penitence may be used here or in the Prayers.
  The Venite, Kyries, Gloria, a hymn, song, or a set of responses may be used.
  The Collect is said either here or in the Prayers.
In BoCP mostly a set of responses constitutes this phase. A collect is sometimes commended (and could be used additionally in any case). See below for some further comment on prayers of penitence but note here that in the Lord’s prayer, the petitions to do with forgiveness are late in the prayer which is the pattern for BoCP ordering.

The Liturgy of the Word

  The people and the priest:
  ¶ proclaim and respond to the word of God
In BoCP, there are usually prayers or responses to lead into the readings and some to encourage reflection (ie ‘response’). Because of a sense of continuity, canticles are also encouraged as part of a response. A number of the forms also have scriptural phrases which make explicit a response of faithful following.

Prayers

  The people and the priest:
  ¶ pray for the Church and the world
The BoCP patterns this section after the Lord’s Prayer and most of the petitionary sections explicitly or implicitly fulfil the gloss.

The Dismissal

  The people and the priest:
  ¶ depart with God’s blessing.
With regard to BoCP a little more needs to be said. Departing with God’s blessing is a vague phrase, but I note that the final section of the Lord’s prayer as played out in these prayers involves us in committing our ways to God and asking God’s help as we go further into the day, this can be construed as going with God’s blessing.
There is a further consideration also. In the Notes section we find the following further instruction:
“Only authorized Prayers of Penitence should be used. They may be omitted except at the Principal Service on Sundays and Principal Holy Days”
So, there is an issue about authorised forms of penitence since most of the BoCP forms do not contain authorized Prayers of Penitence. Even though the penultimate section of the Lord’s prayer deals with forgiving and being forgiven the words used are not drawn from the collection of authorised prayers of penitence.
One thing we might note is that the prayers of penitence may be omitted (except on Sundays’ principal service etc). With regard to BoCP, we might say that prayers of penitence in the CofE sense are being omitted but note that included in the Prayers section are some ‘reflections’ or more general prayers on forgiving and being forgiven -following the pattern of the Lord’s prayer.
It is worth noting, in this connection that often intercessions in a main service, such as Holy Communion, contain phrases to do with forgiveness that are not ‘Prayers of Penitence’. So there is a case for simply not regarding the forgiveness prayers in BoCP as official Prayers of Penitence in this context. That is, not construing these forgiveness prayers in BoCP as Prayers of Penitence so much as part of praying for the church and the world. In some of the BoCP orders of service, in fact, this is made plausible by having responses which are strongly linked to the rest of the prayers. As a further reference point in authorised provision of texts, we might also consider as a precedent the litany which has prayers asking for mercy and forgiveness.  These petitions for God’s mercy etc are not Prayers of Penitence under canonical provision but rather penitential parts of more general prayers. So we may regard the forgiveness prayers in BoCP orders of service.
Recall further that none of the CofE Prayers of Penitence include an explicit section corresponding to the Lord’s prayer’s line on forgiving others, so that the BoCP forgiveness prayers are not covering the same ground as the Prayers of Penitence in official provision since these latter do not generally make explicit an exercise in forgiving others.
Also note: “a Creed or authorized Affirmation of Faith may be omitted except at the principal service on Sundays and Principal Holy Days”. Note that this refers to a principal service so this means that in many circumstances a creed need not be added to BoCP orders of service. But if a BoCP service was being used as a principal service on such a day, it would be easy enough to add one at an appropriate point (probably at the end of the liturgy of the word section and before the prayers section or possibly at or towards the end of the prayers or dismissal section.

Some Canonical quotes for reference

The overarching thing for ordained and licensed lay ministers is Canon B1.
Section 2 of which says:
Every minister shall use only the forms of service authorized by this Canon, except so far as he may exercise the discretion permitted by Canon B 5. It is the minister’s responsibility to have a good understanding of the forms of service used and he shall endeavour to ensure that the worship offered glorifies God and edifies the people.
In addition we may note the discretion to vary orders of service given in Canon B5.1
 The minister who is to conduct the service may in his discretion make and use variations which are not of substantial importance in any form of service authorized by Canon B 1 according to particular circumstances.
In B5. 3 .his we find a principle that

All variations in forms of service and all forms of service used under this Canon shall be reverent and seemly and shall be neither contrary to, nor indicative of any departure from the doctrine of the Church of England in any essential matter.

With regard to daily prayer,
Canon B11:
2. On all other days the minister of the parish, together with other ministers licensed to serve in the parish, shall make such provision for Morning and Evening Prayer to be said or sung either in the parish church or, after consultation with the parochial church council, elsewhere as may best serve to sustain the corporate spiritual life of the parish and the pattern of life enjoined upon ministers by Canon C 26. Public notice shall be given in the parish, by tolling the bell or other appropriate means, of the time and place where the prayers are to be said or sung.
3. The reading of Morning and Evening Prayer in any parish church as required by this Canon may only be dispensed with in accordance with the provisions of Canon B 14A.

We may note, of course, that this applies to public services in licensed buildings and has no direction for ‘private prayers’.

C 26 Of the manner of life of clerks in Holy Orders

1. Every clerk in Holy Orders is under obligation, not being let by sickness or some other urgent cause, to say daily the Morning and Evening Prayer, either privately or openly; and to celebrate the Holy Communion, or be present thereat, on all Sundays and other principal Feast Days. He is also to be diligent in daily prayer and intercession, in examination of his conscience, and in the study of the Holy Scriptures and such other studies as pertain to his ministerial duties.

Collects

These collects are composed or refashioned by Jeremy Clines from older collects and  can be found at his Late Quartet site. There are a number of other collects there, this is a short collection of ones I think might be most helpful for occasional use.
Collects are designed to ‘collect’ together people’s thoughts and prayers at one particular point in time. They have a normal structure of addressing God by recognising some divine quality and on the basis of that quality they then ask God for something, ending with some further recognition of God’s qualities.
………………………………………………………………….

O Creator, from who all good things come,
grant to us your humble servants,
that we may see you in all your works.
Inspire us to think on your goodness,
and be guided to become holy stewards
in the creation, which holds together
in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

…………………………………………………………………

Holy God,
faithful and unchanging:
enlarge our minds with the knowledge
of your world, your cosmos and your truth.
Draw us more deeply into the mystery of your love.
Help us truly serve and worship you,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.
Amen.

…………………………………………………………………
All-loving God,
in your service we receive perfect freedom.
Show us your purposes for our lives
here on earth that we may obey you
with all our heart and mind and strength,
through Jesus Christ our redeemer.
Amen.

 

…………………………………………………………………

God of mercy,
in giving us yourself in Jesus the Christ,
as the bread of life,
we live in the hope of life without hunger.
As we serve you and the world you created,
may we who eat, be bread to others,
may we who drink, pour out your love.
Amen.

…………………………………………………………………

Eternal God,
in Jesus, the Christ,
you served, among the crowds,
and you were with the wild animals,
and angels served you.
Equip us to be givers and receives of that same
love and hospitality; in the church, and with
the peoples and creatures of our world.
Help us notice your presence in others
and in our own lives.
Amen.

…………………………………………………………………

God, whose Spirit hovers over
the deep chaos, bringing order;
by your self-giving grace
we can find your love
and desire to see your promises fulfilled
for ourselves, humanity and whole earth.
Help us share your vision for your world
both now and in the new creation.
Through Jesus Christ our rescuer and redeemer.
Amen.

…………………………………………………………………

Go with us, God, into our lives
and our world, guiding our feet,
thoughts, hopes and our actions.
May your continual help equip
us to serve your divine purpose
for our world and our lives,
both now and for ever,
through Jesus Christ our rescuer.
Amen.

…………………………………………………………………

God who angels and animals worship;
you equip us with new hope,
and empower us with your Spirit.
Help us work with you to
protect and restore the broken
and forgotten people and places of our world,
through Jesus Christ our redeemer.
Amen.

…………………………………………………………………

All-powerful God,
you showed us
in rising from death
the promise of eternity.
Encourage us to view
our lives and world within
your all-loving and eternal nature.
Amen.

…………………………………………………………………

God our creator, in Christ
we see your love for our world
is stronger than death or despair.
Gift us with faith to trust your rescue.
Gift us with hope for creation’s liberation.
Gift us with love for our journey towards you.
Amen.

…………………………………………………………………

God, you love the world.
Your rule of peace was revealed
in Jesus, before he suffered and
died by the rule of law.
Help us see how much stronger
your love is than death.
Strengthen us so we may
serve you in this world,
even when love may mean that we suffer.
Amen.

…………………………………………………………………

Creator God,
in Christ you make all things new.
With creation, we long for freedom.
Come and renew our lives and our world,
with your grace and love.
Help us notice such gifts of hope,
so we may point out the signs of
eternal recovery, close at hand.
Amen.

For more of these collects which have a strong affinity with the Christian concerns for the environment, please go to this site.

Whys and wherefores

Patterned praying and the wider church

The prayers on this website are intended for daily or ‘most-days’ use. In very broad terms they fit within a long tradition of prayers written and set to assist Christians to pray regularly. The guiding principles in putting these offices (that’s a word often used to describe these regular forms of prayer) together have been two-fold. The chief principle has been to make use of the prayer that Jesus gave to his first disciples in response to the request ‘Teach us to pray’. We now usually call that prayer “The Lord’s Prayer” though it has also been known as “the Gospel prayer” or often named for it’s first phrase, the “Our Father”. There are slightly different versions of it in the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke. Putting these together to compare them, we find that there are five topics or movements of prayer covered. Given that there is some variation it is reasonable to suppose that the point is not the exact words but the kinds of things we are being asked to make part of our regular praying.

The second principle informing the shape of these offices has been to include the reading of scripture. For many Christians reading or hearing the Bible regularly is an important discipline, and so it seems important to give room for that in a structure for regular prayer such as this. It seems best to have this component at the start of a time of prayer, perhaps this is because it is the way so many offices and prayer-time advice recommend. In many traditional offices the liturgy around the readings doesn’t particularly support the scriptural component -at least not explicitly in the prayers. In these offices, the prayers before and after the readings are intended to prepare us for hearing the scriptures and give us forms to respond, if only briefly, to them. There is also a framework for reflection offered. This might be particularly useful if you wanted to to use the scripture-centred part of the office separately from the prayer-based second part. One scenario for doing it like that might be to have two times of prayer during the day using one part in each prayer time.

A further principle has been to enable people to pray these offices together as well as singly. The offices are designed with a small group praying them in mind. It doesn’t have to be that way; a person on their own could pray the office -in fact for me that is the usual way it happens. It does act as a reminder though that prayer is envisaged to be a communal activity at heart. After all, the Lord’s Prayer itself supposes a community of prayer: “Our Father … give us … as we forgive…” etc. All of this means that many of the prayers are composed for two or more voices in dialogue. The default is that one voice would say one part of those prayers and the rest of the voices (whether one or more) would say the other part. Obviously, the voice for the first part could vary, and the ‘lead’ in that sense could rotate between participants. If you pray this physically alone, simply take both parts yourself. It works out fine, just remember if you do occasionally pray with others, to be aware that you may fall into habits of speech that need adjusting when sharing the prayers with others and you may want to check whether your prayer partner is expecting you to join in with the responses or not.

Some background

Many of the existing orders of regular pre-written prayers were developed for and by people in monastic communities. Some have been developed so as to simplify or make them more serviceable for those who live outside of monastic communities -this would include Anglican Morning and Evening Prayer.  There have been, however, different approaches and we’ll come to that a bit further on. Suffice to say for now that many of the most widely available collections of offices are rooted in or simply direct copies of monastic offices.

One of the recurring characteristics of monastic offices is that they are built round saying (or, often, singing or chanting) the Psalms. The Psalms would be set, normally on a rotational basis, and during a normal full day of maybe seven offices, the whole of the book of Psalms would be recited. The nuns or monks would be expected to be praying in the rest of their time in the form of individual devotions and as they worked. They would come together up to seven times a day to recite the Psalms together and this was conceived as joining the prayer of God’s people -which arguably the Psalms are. These gatherings for reciting the Psalms would be accompanied by other prayers and scripture reading.

This is not the only pattern of praying together, historically speaking, that Christians have had. In the church of the first few Christian centuries, lay people would gather for prayer (sometimes called ‘Cathedral Offices’) where praying together rather than Psalm-recital was the central activity. It is more in the spirit of that tradition that these offices are composed. It should be said here, though, that using the Lord’s prayer as a structuring principle for a daily office has not been as common as might be expected. Probably the lack of uptake for that is that other patterns have preoccupied minds and imaginations. However, I would argue that we should consider giving pride of place to the Lord’s Prayer in our regular praying, and if it is right that it was intended to be a basis for regular prayer on the part of the disciples then we should be considering using it as a basis for a daily office. This book is an attempt to do that with a variety of forms that it is hoped will enable the Lord’s Prayer to be explored more fully and to bring fresh insight as the different forms are used.

As you use these offices you would probably become aware that many sentences and phrases in them are actually quotes or paraphrases of passages from the Christian scriptures. Part of the point of this is to help us to pray scripture to some degree. It is something that I have valued about Anglican liturgies over the years that many of the prayers quote or make use of biblical texts in this we are taking a leaf from Jesus’ book for he is depicted in the Gospels as using scripture in reflection and directly in prayer. That said, another aim in composing and compiling the prayers in these offices is to come up with fresh phrases or imagery with the hope that theses may stimulate and enliven our prayers.

The value of regular praying using set prayers.

Many Christians and others would use the word ‘liturgy’ to mean a sequence of set, pre-written, prayers. I tend to use the word with a broader meaning: for me, liturgy is the way we pattern our time with God. Thinking about it in that way puts a wider variety of ways of praying within the orbit of ‘liturgy’: For example, a Quiet Time where there is a normal pattern of asking for God’s help in reading and understanding Scripture leading into reading it, reflecting on it, perhaps learning some of it and then praying out of it, that is a liturgy. Even though there is a high degree of extemporisation in the details, the fact that it is a regular pattern (probably with very similar details of the prayers said or thought) means it is a liturgy. Many so-called ‘non-liturgical’ services of worship are actually often liturgical in the wider sense because they have a fairly predictable pattern to them from the point of view of those who regularly worship. What this means is that we need to think about the value as well as the downsides of using a pattern of set prayers on a regular basis. This is not about liturgy or no-liturgy, but rather content and Christian growth and formation.

Praying with set prayers can be helpful to us. Quite often we can find a phrase in scripture or elsewhere which captures something we would find hard to put into words. Sometimes it can do this in a style or elegance of language we find enticing in prayer and which encourages us to bring ourselves to God with it. Sometimes set prayers can awaken us to ideas of what to praise, thank or ask God for that we probably wouldn’t have done ourselves but which we are glad of as the Spirit enlivens them to us. And thene there are the times when our inner life feels dried up or weary and being able to make use of the words that are ‘there’ is helpful; it’s like being able to pray with someone else where they are able to hold us in what we cannot do. It can also be that set prayers enable us to stay focussed at times when our minds might be inclined to wonder.

One objection to set prayers -and therefore to offices of prayer- is that they are not spontaneous. The thought behind this is that only the spontaneous is authentic or genuine and therefore ‘honest’ before God. Sometimes pre-written prayers can be dismissed as ‘vain repetition’ -a phrase from Jesus’ teaching on prayer and how not to do it. I’d like to address those concerns. First of all with regard to the concern about vain repetition. It comes from the King James’ version of Matthew 6:7. Other versions have words like ‘heap up words’; ’empty phrases’; ‘babble on’ and we should note, crucially, that the next bit is to say that this meaningless repetition is like what the heathens /Gentiles /those who don’t know God do and they do it because they are trying to make God listen. Jesus’ point is that we can be confident God hears us so we don’t need to try to impress God. In relation to offices of prayer this translates to the attitude we have when we pray them: if the set prayers enable us to relate to God, fine; if we use them as a kind of bribe to impress God into listening to us, forget it. We use the forms and the words to help us to focus on God and to carry our desire to connect and to share our concerns and to be touched by God. It needn’t replace using our own words, far from it. Using set prayers can support and nurture our own prayers. In fact, in these offices, there is space written in for our own more ‘of the moment’ prayers to be brought in.

In relation to the matter of only spontaneous prayers being authentic and acceptable before God, there are a few things to think more about. One is that Jesus used set prayers or phrases as well as spontaneous ones. For example “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” is a quote from Psalm 22:1 -itself a prayer. And noting the use of Psalms -these are hymns and prayers which have been used for centuries by God’s people with never a sense of it being wrong to use them as prayers (whether said, sung or inwardly articulated) -this is why they are in the Bible: to be used for praying. This reminds us that using the words of others can be ‘authentic’ or can stir up within us a real connection with God. It should be noticed, too, that singing hymns and songs to God is praying and it relies on pre-written words so that many can sing together. It is hard to see how, in principle, singing prayers using someone else’s words is different to saying prayers that have been written previously.

days and seasons

This site has offices for different days and different seasons of the year. It’s not compulsory, obviously, to use them but many people do find it helpful to change forms every so often and this is one way to do this. Many people also find it good to pray along with the seasons of the church year and so there are forms to help you to do that which use imagery and phrases resonant with some of the themes of that season. You’ll see that each day has a theme which references a different part of the church’s year and there are similarities between these and the seasonal prayers themselves to a greater or lesser extent. There is also an order for ‘Everyday’ which is intended to be used anytime as an alternative to any of the others.

In addition to what you would expect in terms of seasons of the church year (Advent, Lent, Easter etc), there are some additional orders of prayer for times and seasons and themes which don’t often appear -Transfiguration is one and what I have called ‘Magnificat’ times when we might be reminded of Mary the mother of Jesus -as the name suggests the words of Mary in Luke 1:46ff form a central place in that office. You can also find a ‘Pauline Office’ which uses words from Paul’s letters to help us to pray. Creationtide is a new, developing, season in September up to 4 October. There is an office for “Dark Seasons” which was compiled with winter in higher latitudes in mind when darkness is a bigger part of everyday experience and it uses imagery of dark and light to draw on that experience as we pray.

There are also some ‘bedtime’ offices. Having a short office before bed is something that has grown in popularity in recent years and so these draw on some of the traditional prayers and imagery for Compline (the traditional late night office) but restructure them in Lord’s Prayer format. One of the constants in these offices is the use of the Nunc Dimittis -the Song of Simeon from Luke 2. In these orders of prayer it is used to round off a time of thankful reflection on the day past rather than as a response to the scripture reading. These night prayer offices are not written ‘seasonally’ but simply with some variety to be used as you find helpful.

Praying offices more than once a day?

If you are looking to pray an office more than once a day and would like to use these liturgies but would also prefer not to pray the same one twice a day. Then (assuming that you don’t count the night prayers) I suggest that it could work to use a seasonal one and a day one. So in December you might pray the Advent office in the mornings but the days’ offices on the relevant day. Or in times outside of the seasons (so called ‘ordinary time’) you might consider the days’ prayers in the mornings and use the Everyday form or the Pauline order on your second sitting.

A Framework for Reflection

You can use these questions as a way to reflect on the readings in a way that links the reflection to the pattern of the Lord’s prayer.
Questions to ask ourselves having read the passages.

  • What in these passages speaks to us of who God is, reminds us of some facet of God’s greatness or our thankfulness to God?
  • Is there something here to inspire us, challenge us or to help us to intercede and/or to work for God’s will to be more fully seen here and now on earth?
  • Are we reminded of anything that we need from God to continue as faithful followers of Christ?
  • Does what we have read highlight anything in our own lives that we need to seek God’s mercy for? Does it make us aware of anything we need to let go of or forgive?
  • Are we alerted to something that might endanger our faithfulness to God?

Night Prayer 5

Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds
All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord.
and all your faithful shall bless you.
                            [Psalms 36:5 & 145:10]

              Pause to reflect on what we have seen of God over the past day.
Now, Lord, you let your servant go in peace:
your word has been fulfilled.
My own eyes have seen the salvation
which you have prepared in the sight of every people;
A light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.

ELLC Nunc Dimittis.
Hallowed be your name Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit:
As in the beginning; so now; and forever. Amen.

                           

Hymn (suggested tune: Te Lucis)
O loving Carer, God of grace
you welcome us with smiling face,
and we may ever rest at peace
for we, to you, our cares release.

O God transform the woes of life
Bring good from ill and peace to strife.
Move greed and pride from seats of power
so justice, mercy, healing flower

And as we pause to take our sleep
bring comfort to all those who weep
and work into to the wide world’s life
the grace that ends ungodly strife.

In quietness let us recall those whose lives our lives touch and the cares of the wider world.
              A time of quiet reflection and petition.
Our help comes from the Lord
Who made heaven and earth
God keeps us, and will neither slumber or sleep
The Everliving will watch over our life.
God, be mindful of our coming and going
Now and forevermore.

Two things we ask of you, Lord; Keep falsehood and lies afar; give us neither poverty nor riches, but give us simply our daily bread.
                            [See Proverbs 30:7-9]
              … Pause to recollect our needs before God.
It is in vain that we rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for God gives sleep to those who are beloved.

Let us recognise where we have not welcomed God to be with us or where we have perpetuated unforgiveness.
              Pause to recognise wrongness in our lives today; both what we’ve caused and what we need to forgive.
Send us your Spirit
And renew the face of our lives.
Make our hearts clean, O God
And remake a right spirit within us.
Let us attend; Christ breathes upon us the peace and forgiveness of God.

Visit this place, O Lord, and drive far from it all snares of the enemy; let your holy angels dwell with us to preserve us in peace; and let your blessing be upon us always; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Amen

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Night Prayer 2

Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually.
Remember the wonderful works he has done,
we extol you, O God
and bless your name forever and ever
              [Psalms 105:4 & 145:1]

              Pause to reflect on what we have seen of God in the past day.
Now, Lord, you let your servant go in peace:
your word has been fulfilled.
My own eyes have seen the salvation
which you have prepared in the sight of every people;
A llght to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.

                            ELLC Nunc Dimittis.
Hallowed be your name Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit:
As in the beginning; so now; and forever. Amen.

As we lie down to rest we lay before God the restless world.
Your lore and wisdom infuse the earth
fulfil your heavenly dreams among us.
Thwart ill-will and spiteful imaginings
Let justice, mercy and truth flourish for good.
Extend through your church a welcome to all
And entice the world to the feast of Fulfilment
Knit together Dayspring in the womb of night
Let darkness nurture new hopeful futures.
              Further concerns may be expressed …

In peace we will lie down and sleep;
for you alone, Lord, make us dwell in safety
O God, your unstinting providence sustains the world, our lives, our living: Take care for us, and keep us ever mindful that our common weal flows from each other’s toil and care.
Amen.
                            [Adapted from a prayer in Compline, The Book of Common Prayer, ECUSA, 1979]

The following hymn may be sung (Tune: ‘Te Lucis’ traditional for Compline)
As now our day draws to its close,
we rest from this life’s ebbs and flows,
God grant that when we rest this night
disturbances do not alight.

For falling short and wrong things done
we ask forgiveness in your Son
and we do now give up our aims
for recompense and vengeful claims

Search us O God and know our hearts, test us and know our anxious thoughts;
See if there is any offensive way in us.
              Pause to recognise our wrongs of the day…
Have mercy on us, O God, according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy blot out our transgressions.
Create in us clean hearts, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within us.
Jesus says: come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give them rest.
Thanks be to God.

Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
For you have redeemed me, Lord God of truth.
I commend my spirit.
Keep me as the apple of your eye.
Hide me under the shadow of your wings.

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