It's sort of de rigeur these days, evangelical Christians going old-school-liturgical on everyone. I was inspired by a few memoirs that mentioned the BCP, so I first started using one online, and then bought one. It's little and kind of cute: it has a little ribbon attached so you can mark passages! I love that in books.
There are little prayer services built into it--ones specifically written for morning, evening, afternoon, and late evening. There are really short ones, and longer, full-service ones. In the morning, when I nurse Lucy, I open up the book. If I'm lazy/half asleep I do the two minute version. If I'm chipper, I do the longer version. Then, the last few nights, I've been kind of stressed out, so I pulled it out and did the Compline (late evening) prayers. They were really beautiful and reminded me of God's presence, and helped me find some peace in my head before bedtime.
Here's what I like about using the BCP:
- It's a no-brainer. As someone that tends towards perfectionism, I just open it up, and I can pray without having to think about it. When I think about prayer too much, the prayer usually ends up not happening. Remembering all the things there are to pray for! Forgetting what I'm trying to pray for! Getting lost in my thoughts! With the book, I have a visual guide, that prompts me to pray for other things.
- It's a lot of scripture. I've been reading the psalms too. And the prayers are often based on some beautiful passages from the Prophets, or Psalms, or Gospels. What's not scriptural is just written really well. It's lovely to read. And thoughtful.
- I used to struggle to be all heady and intellectual and studious with God each day. And I hated it. It felt like a chore, and I don't think it did much for my faith. But reading beautiful prayers, and remembering God's promises in a structured way--helps me reconnect to my faith and recharge each day.
- I feel like I'm in a church service, there, all by myself.
- The book is just a cool, jam-packed resource. It's sort of like the Little Book of Things Believers Might Need or Might Just Want to Know. Episcopalian confession? Check. Prayer for the Sunday after Epiphany? Check. Burial service? Check. Catechism? Check. Psalms? Check. Creeds? Check. List of Holidays in the church? Check. Reading through the Bible schedule? Check. I mean, I could be a really Episcopalian Episcopalian, if I were so inclined.
- Classic British mysteries often involve Anglican trivia. Anglican is almost Episcopalian. So that helps me, right there.
- Black tea. Also that.