Link: The Book of Common Prayer with Scripture References

This is not the work of A Collection of Prayers, but a very useful and amazing project.

Someone has researched and compiled Scripture references behind every rite and prayer in The Book of Common Prayer. Here is their preface:

The Book of Common Prayer (BCP) is a landmark document of the Anglican tradition and the English language. Its unique rites, formulations, and collects are suffused with Biblical quotation and allusion.

This resource is a port of The Book of Common Prayer: With marginal references to texts in the Holy Scriptures published by the Church of England in 1839 (archive.org link), which aims to catalogue each scriptural reference in the text of the 1662 BCP.

Inline Biblical quotations are taken from the New Revised Standard Version (BibleGateway link).

And here is the link to The Scriptural BCP.

The Way of Light

The Way of Light or Stations of Easter is a counterpart to the Stations of the Cross with the focus on the events following Christ’s resurrection.

The versicle and response, “We adore you, O Christ,…” is from the traditional devotions for the Stations of the Cross, expanded for use in the Easter season.

The prayers that follow each scriptural devotion are newly written for A Collection of Prayers. Each begins “Risen Lord, draw us to you,” based on the verse from Song of Songs 1:4 and the favorite Ascension hymn “Draw us to thee.”

Except where noted otherwise, Scripture is taken from The Holy Bible: Evangelical Heritage Version, www.wartburgproject.org.

All art except for the fourteenth station is by James Tissot. Art for the fourteenth station is based on an engraving by Gustave Doré.

The readings, prayers and art are available as a downloadable pdf, printable as a booklet.

First station: Jesus Rises from the Dead

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross and the light of the resurrection you have redeemed the world.

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. Suddenly, there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, and going to the tomb, he rolled away the stone and was sitting on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards were so terrified of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid! I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here. He has risen, just as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. Go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has risen from the dead! And look, he is going ahead of you to Galilee. There you will see him.’ See, I have told you!” (Matthew 28:1–7)

Risen Lord, draw us to you.
Drive away our fears
with the good news of your resurrection,
and fill us with joy
as we tell others;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Second station: The Disciples Find the Tomb Empty

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross and the light of the resurrection you have redeemed the world.

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb. She saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she left and ran to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved. “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb,” she told them, “and we don’t know where they put him!” So Peter and the other disciple went out, heading for the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and got to the tomb first. Bending over, he saw the linen cloths lying there, yet he did not go in. Then Simon Peter, who was following him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there. The cloth that had been on Jesus’ head was not lying with the linen cloths, but was folded up in a separate place by itself. Then the other disciple, who arrived at the tomb first, also entered. He saw and believed. (They still did not yet understand the Scripture that he must rise from the dead.) (John 20:1–9)

Risen Lord, draw us to you.
Open our minds and hearts
that we may understand the testimony of Scripture
that you have risen from the dead;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Third station: The Risen Lord Appears to Mary Magdalene

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross and the light of the resurrection you have redeemed the world.

Mary Magdalene stood outside facing the tomb, weeping. As she wept, she bent over, looking into the tomb. She saw two angels in white clothes sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and one at the feet. They asked her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She told them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I don’t know where they have laid him.” After she said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, though she did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?” Supposing he was the gardener, she replied, “Sir, if you carried him off, tell me where you laid him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and replied in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means, “Teacher”). Jesus told her, “Do not continue to cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father—to my God and your God.’ ” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!” She also told them the things he said to her. (John 20:11–18)

Risen Lord, draw us to you.
Dry our tears,
call us by name,
and lead us to heaven
where we may always cling to you;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Fourth station: The Risen Lord Appears to Two Disciples on the Road to Emmaus

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross and the light of the resurrection you have redeemed the world.

Now, on that same day, two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about all of these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing this, Jesus himself approached and began to walk along with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. He said to them, “What are you talking about as you walk along?” Saddened, they stopped. One of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” “What things?” he asked them. They replied, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet, mighty in deed and word before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be condemned to death. And they crucified him. But we were hoping that he was going to redeem Israel. Not only that, but besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. Also some women of our group amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning. When they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb. They found it just as the women had said, but they did not see him.” He said to them, “How foolish you are and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and to enter his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” (Luke 24:13–27)

Risen Lord, draw us to you.
Drive out all foolishness,
and open our hearts to believe
all the Scriptures have spoken about you;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Fifth station: The Risen Lord Is Recognized at the Breaking of Bread

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross and the light of the resurrection you have redeemed the world.

As they approached the village where they were going, he acted as if he were going to travel farther. But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, since it is almost evening, and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he reclined at the table with them, he took the bread, blessed it, broke it, and began giving it to them. Suddenly their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. Then he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was speaking to us along the road and while he was explaining the Scriptures to us?” They got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem. They found the Eleven and those who were with them assembled together. They were saying, “The Lord really has been raised! He has appeared to Simon.” They themselves described what had happened along the road, and how they recognized him when he broke the bread. (Luke 24:28–35)

Risen Lord, draw us to you.
Stay with us
and bless us with your gracious presence
that our hearts may burn within us,
that we may recognize you
in Word and Sacrament;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Sixth station: The Risen Lord Appears to His Disciples

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross and the light of the resurrection you have redeemed the world.

As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” But they were terrified and frightened and thought they were looking at a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled? Why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they still did not believe it (because of their joy), and while they were still wondering, he said to them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish and some honeycomb. He took it and ate in front of them. (Luke 24:36–43)

Risen Lord, draw us to you.
Give us your peace.
Drive away all doubts.
and fill our hearts with joy;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Seventh station: The Lord Gives the Power to Forgive Sins

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross and the light of the resurrection you have redeemed the world.

On the evening of that first day of the week, the disciples were together behind locked doors because of their fear of the Jews. Jesus came, stood among them, and said to them, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. So the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you! Just as the Father has sent me, I am also sending you.” After saying this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whenever you forgive people’s sins, they are forgiven. Whenever you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” (John 20:19–23)

Risen Lord, draw us to you.
As you have given us your peace,
make us agents of your peace.
As you have forgiven us our sins,
move us to forgive those who have sinned against us;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Eighth station: The Lord Confirms the Faith of Thomas

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross and the light of the resurrection you have redeemed the world.

Thomas, one of the Twelve, the one called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples kept telling him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands, and put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will never believe.” After eight days, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and look at my hands. Take your hand and put it into my side. Do not continue to doubt, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:24–29)

Risen Lord, draw us to you.
Give us faith in the word of your gospel
that we may believe without seeing,
and confess you as our Lord and our God;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Ninth station: The Risen Lord Meets His Disciples on the Shore of Lake Tiberias

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross and the light of the resurrection you have redeemed the world.

After this, Jesus showed himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. This is how he showed himself: Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I’m going fishing.” They replied, “We’ll go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Early in the morning, Jesus was standing on the shore, but the disciples did not know it was Jesus. Jesus called to them, “Boys, don’t you have any fish?” “No!” they answered. He told them, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” So they cast the net out. Then they were not able to haul it in because of the large number of fish. The disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard, “It is the Lord!” he tied his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the sea. But the other disciples came in the little boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about one hundred yards. When they stepped out on land, they saw some bread and a charcoal fire with fish on it. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.” So Simon Peter climbed aboard and hauled the net to land, full of large fish, 153 of them. Yet even with so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come, eat breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread, and gave it to them, and also the fish. (John 21:1–13)

Risen Lord, draw us to you.
As you surprised your disciples by appearing to them,
and by giving them a large catch of fish,
fill us with wonder by your constant presence,
and with your many blessings;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Tenth station: The Risen Lord Restores Peter

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross and the light of the resurrection you have redeemed the world.

When they had eaten breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I care about you.” Jesus told him, “Feed my lambs.” A second time Jesus asked him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said, “Yes, Lord, you know that I care about you.” Jesus told him, “Be a shepherd for my sheep.” He asked him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you care about me?” Peter was grieved because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you care about me?” He answered, “Lord, you know all things. You know that I care about you.” “Feed my sheep,” Jesus said. (John 21:15–17)

Risen Lord, draw us to you.
We are like sheep that have gone astray.
Gather us, restore us,
and empower us with your love and forgiveness,
that we may feed your lambs and sheep;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Eleventh station: The Risen Lord Entrusts to His Disciples the Mission to the World

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross and the light of the resurrection you have redeemed the world.

The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped him, but some hesitated because they were uncertain. Jesus approached and spoke to them saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and gather disciples from all nations by baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and by teaching them to keep all the instructions I have given you. And surely I am with you always until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16–20)

Risen Lord, draw us to you.
All authority in heaven and earth is yours.
When we hesitate
to speak your Word or do your work
because of doubt and fear,
remind us that you are with us always,
and give us authority and power through your Word;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Twelfth station: The Risen Lord Ascends to the Father

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross and the light of the resurrection you have redeemed the world.

So when they were together with him, they asked, “Lord, is this the time when you are going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” After he said these things, he was taken up while they were watching, and a cloud took him out of their sight. They were looking intently into the sky as he went away. Suddenly, two men in white clothes stood beside them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing here looking up into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:6–11)

Risen Lord, draw us to you.
Let your kingdom come
through us to the world
as we live as your witnesses
until you come again;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Thirteenth station: Waiting for the Holy Spirit

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross and the light of the resurrection you have redeemed the world.

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mountain called the Mount of Olives, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. When they entered the city, they went to the upstairs room where they were staying. Peter and John were there, also James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. All of them kept praying together with one mind, along with the women, with Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. (Acts 1:12–14)

Risen Lord, draw us to you.
Unite us, your church,
that we may pray together with one mind,
to hallow your name, advance your kingdom,
and do your will;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Fourteenth station: The Risen Lord Sends the Holy Spirit Promised to the Disciples

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross and the light of the resurrection you have redeemed the world.

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the rushing of a violent wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw divided tongues that were like fire resting on each one of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, since the Spirit was giving them the ability to speak fluently. Now there were godly Jewish men from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. When this sound was heard, a crowd came together and was confused, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. They were completely baffled and said to each other, “Look, are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them speaking in his own native language? Parthians, Medes, and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, and of Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt, and the parts of Libya around Cyrene; visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes; Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring in our own languages the wonderful works of God.” They were all amazed and perplexed. They kept saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others mocked them and said, “They are full of new wine.” (Acts 2:1–13)

Risen Lord, draw us to you.
Send your Spirit to open our lips
that we may declare
the wonderful works of God;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Scripture is taken from The Holy Bible: Evangelical Heritage Version

Prayers are written for A Collection of Prayers, © 2021 Paul C. Stratman

Art is by James Tissot from his Gospel Harmony Series.

Art for the Fourteenth Station is colorized from an etching by Gustave Dore.

See also:

Good Friday Anthem (3)

christ,jesus,god,lord: The Christian Cross

O Savior of the world,
by your cross and precious blood you have redeemed us:
Save us and help us, O Lord.

Source: From the Proper Liturgy for Good Friday, The Book of Common Prayer (U. S., 1979), p. 282.

Variant:

O Savior of the world,
who by your cross and precious blood did redeem us:
Help, save, pity, and defend us, we pray, O Lord.

Original from BCP 1979 in traditional English:

O Savior of the world,
who by thy cross and precious blood hast redeemed us:
Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord
.

The Reproaches

The Reproaches or Improperia are a series of antiphons and responses sung in Good Friday liturgies, usually in the afternoon. They first appeared in the ninth century. There are many different versions of the Reproaches with different verses. What is presented below is a shorter and possibly earlier version.

O my people, what have I done to you?
How have I wearied you? Answer me! (Micah 6:3)

I led you out of the land of Egypt,
and you have led your Savior to be scourged.

I led you out of the land of slavery,
and you led your Redeemer to be nailed to the cross.

Lord God most holy,
Lord most mighty,
holy and most merciful Savior,
deliver us from the bitter pains of eternal death.

I threw Pharaoh’s chariots and his army into the sea,
and you delivered me to the chief priests and the Gentiles.

I fed you with manna,
and gave you water to drink from the rock in the wilderness,
and you gave me gall and vinegar to drink.

Lord God most holy,
Lord most mighty,
holy and most merciful Savior,
deliver us from the bitter pains of eternal death.

O my people, what have I done to you?
How have I wearied you? Answer me!

Lord God most holy,
Lord most mighty,
holy and most merciful Savior,
deliver us from the bitter pains of eternal death.

Source: This version is translated from the German version in Allgemeines evangelisches Gesang- und Gebetbuch zum Kirchen und Hausgebrauch, Hamburg, 1846, p. 529.

Some sections are identical to “In the midst of life we are in death…”

For the history of the Improperia and other versions, see the Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Improperia

Listen to the Improperia sung in Latin in an arrangement by Tomas Luis de Victoria.

Here is a different performance of the same piece that also includes the chant in the illustration at the top of this page.

German version:

The section in the German version “Heiliger Herre Gott…” is quoted from Luther’s hymn version, “Mitten wir in Leben sind…” Our translation above follows our translation of “In the midst of life…”

Was habe ich dir gethan , mein Volk, und womit habe ich dich beleidigt? antworte mir! (Micha 6:3).

Habe ich dich doch aus Aegyptenland geführt: und du hast zu Geißelung überantwortet deinen Heiland.

Habe ich dich doch aus dem Diensthause erlóset: und du hast ans Kreuz geschlagen deinen Erlöſer.

Heiliger Herre Gott!
Heiliger starker Gott!
Heiliger, barmherziger Heiland, Du ewiger Gott,
Laß uns nicht verſinken in des bittern Todes Noth!

Habe ich doch Pharao und seine Reuter gestürzt ins Meer: und du hast mich überantwortet den Hohenprieſtern und den Heiden.

Habe ich dich doch gespeiſet mit Manna, und getrånker von dem Wasser
des Felsen in der Wüste: und du haſt mich getränket mit Galle und Essig.

Heiliger Herre Gott!
Heiliger starker Gott!
Heiliger, barmherziger Heiland, Du ewiger Gott,
Laß uns nicht versinken in des bittern Todes Noth.

Was habe ich dir gethan , mein Volk, und womit habe ich dich beleidigt? antworte mir!

Heiliger Herre Gott!
Heiliger starker Gott!
Heiliger, barmherziger Heiland, Du ewiger Gott,
Laß uns nicht verſinken in des bittern Todes Noth!

Original in Latin:

Popule meus, quid feci tibi? Aut in quo contristavi te? Responde mihi.

Quia eduxi te de terra Ægypti: parasti Crucem Salvatori tuo.

Hagios o Theos.
Sanctus Deus.
Hagios Ischyros.
Sanctus Fortis.
Hagios Athanatos, eleison hymas.
Sanctus Immortalis, miserere nobis.

Ego propter te flagellavi Ægyptum cum primogenitis suis: et tu me flagellatum tradidisti.

Popule meus, quid feci tibi? Aut in quo contristavi te? Responde mihi.

Ego eduxi te de Ægypto, demerso Pharaone in mare rubrum: et tu me tradidisti principibus sacerdotum.

Popule meus, quid feci tibi? Aut in quo contristavi te? Responde mihi.

The Western Rite

The Western Rite is a term for the order of service used in many churches. It is called Western to distinguish it from the Eastern Rite (Churches in the “Orthodox” tradition, Greek, Russian, Armenian, etc.).

The Order of Mass in the Roman Catholic Church, the Order of Holy Communion or the Common Service in the Lutheran Church, and the Holy Eucharist in Anglican and Episcopal churches are all versions of or derived from the Western Rite.

Nearly every version of the Western Rite follows this outline:

  1. Kyrie
  2. Gloria in Excelsis
  3. Service of the Word
    • Prayer/Collect of the Day
    • Readings
      • First Reading
      • Psalm
      • Second Reading
      • Gospel Acclamation / Verse / Alleluia
      • Gospel
    • Sermon
  4. Credo
  5. Sursum Corda, Preface (Anaphora)
  6. Sanctus
  7. Prayer of Thanksgiving
  8. Lord’s Prayer
  9. Verba (Words of Institution)
  10. Agnus Dei
  11. Communion
  12. Dismissal/Blessing
Christian Prayer, Banner

A Worship Stylesheet

Stylesheet

When preparing worship materials, how you print something is important to communicate what is happening in worship. The suggestions below are based on practices in several modern hymnals and worship books. The rites and prayers on this website follow the principles described below.

Directions or Rubrics

In ancient times, worship books put directions or descriptions in red, which is why they were called rubrics. Even when a book or service folder is printed with only black ink, the use of italics can indicate a direction. Somewhere I read that the slant and added detail in italic type make the eye slow down–ideal for making people pay attention to a direction or description.

Stand

Be seated

Silent prayer

Special prayers or intercessions may be made.

Dialogues

Worship often has dialogues between pastor/leader and people. This can be communicated with regular type for the leader and bold type for the group.

While initials can be used, they take up space, and the page looks more elegant without them. Compare…

Bless the Lord, O my soul.
All that is within me, bless his holy name.

with…

P: Bless the Lord, O my soul.
C: All that is within me, bless his holy name.

Older books often had even more written out:

Minister: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
Congregation: The maker of heaven and earth.

When a congregation sees bold type, people instantly know that it’s their part and that they should read it. No announcement is necessary.

Since dialogues are often in couplets (the group answers the leader) print the dialogue in couplets. It will help show the connections. It also saves some space. Compare this…

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them up to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give him thanks and praise. 

With this…

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give him thanks and praise.

Titles / Section Headings

Since congregation parts are printed in bold, you must be careful when printing titles. Some books use all caps to distinguish titles from text that is intended to be read:

APOSTLES’ CREED

I believe in God the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth.

In social media, all caps are often interpreted as shouting. Other methods of indicating titles are to use a larger size, or a larger size with a different font. Using corresponding fonts can avoid a clash of styles. Fonts are discussed below.

CreedTitle

Confusing the Typographical Language

It’s tempting to put the Lord’s Prayer or the Twenty-third Psalm in italics because it looks pretty. This should be avoided since it confuses the typographical language. If you establish the habit of using italics for directions, what does it mean when other text is in italics?

“But it looks pretty…”

That leads us to the thought about type styles. There are many artistic fonts available. Some imitate calligraphy, brush lettering, or Gothic lettering from an old book. Use those to make your own cover art with a short Bible passage, hymn stanza or prayer. Standard Roman style fonts are best for readability.

Some recommended fonts are:

  • Times New Roman (Good regular/bold contrast. Very basic. Some might say too basic! Italics are true italics, and more interesting than the regular.)
  • Linux Libertine (Roman-style font with some nice nuances. It is used for headings in Wikipedia. It is made to go with…)
  • Linux Biolinium (A sans-serif font with the same dimensions as Linux Libertine. Thin/thick lines correspond to Libertine.)
  • Merriweather (Similar to Linux Libertine, only it’s about 1.5 points bigger than it says it is. It is made to go with…)
  • Merriweather Sans. (Same font shapes only with uniform lines and no serifs.)
  • PT Serif (Another Roman-style font with nice nuances. It is made to go with…)
  • PT Sans (a corresponding sans version) 
  • Palatino (Palladio and Book Antiqua are clones of Palatino) (Roman-style font with some calligraphic qualities.)
  • Century Schoolbook (for a very old-fashioned look)
  • EB Garamond (Very clear and stately. See the note on The Book of Common Prayer below.)
  • Libre Baskerville (This website uses Libre Baskerville because it has good contrast between regular and bold, and the italic is distinct from regular and looks good in black and in red. It was designed to look good on a computer screen, but prints very clearly, too.)

All of the above are available for free on the Internet. (https://www.dafont.com, https://fonts.google.com/) Download a few and test readability of different fonts with your worship materials as sample text. Test the contrast between regular and bold. See how the italics look. Are they true italics or just the same font slanted? It makes a difference in the look of  your materials and the clarity of your directions.

Does the font draw attention to itself? Ornamental fonts say, “Look at me! I’m cool and curly!” (An old liturgy book in my denomination was printed entirely in something close to Goudy Bookletter 1911. It wasn’t the easiest to read.) More basic fonts are better for carrying the message of the text.

The lines of a serif font guide the eye in ways that sans fonts do not. I have seen sans fonts used to print liturgy/rites. GIA prints the liturgical sections of their hymnals in a sans font. However, they print the hymns with sans in the titles and serif in the lyrics.

Denominational Preferences

Episcopalians use The Book of Common Prayer, which has a different typographical language than what is described above. Text is printed in a clear and stately Garamond font. Rubrics/directions are in small italics, the leader’s part is in regular type, and a congregation’s shorter responses are in italics, in the same size as the leader’s part. Longer sections are in regular type, but with a small italic direction.

BCP 1979 style

If the worship book of your denomination has a clear typographical language, imitate it as closely as you can. Some older hymnals were not consistent in use of bold for congregational parts. Some didn’t use bold at all, but had lengthy rubrics to direct who said what.

Download examples of the Worship Stylesheet Illustrations

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Featured Prayers: Christmas

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Scroll through all our Christmas prayers at this link: https://acollectionofprayers.com/tag/christmas/

Special Rites

Collects for Christmas

Other Christmas Collects and Prayers

General Prayer/Prayer of the Church/Prayers of the People

Next: Featured Prayers: Epiphany

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Rite for the Welcome of Catechumens

“Catechumen” is a word for someone who is being “catechized,” that is, being instructed in the Christian faith. In the ancient church, anyone who was new to the Christian faith was called a Catechumen, and would be instructed by regular attendance at worship and with other special instruction. The time of the Catechumenate varied. Instruction could last as long as the Catechumen needed.

In Lutheran tradition, Catechumens are students, usually in sixth, seventh or eighth grades, who are instructed in Luther’s Small Catechism. Instruction involves memorization of the Ten Commandments, the Apostles’ Creed, Baptism, Keys and Confession, the Lord’s Supper and the Lord’s Prayer, along with the explanations (“What does this mean?”) along with selected Bible passages. 

Catechisms and Bibles (if they have not already been presented to the children) may be stacked on a table in front of the altar. The children gather around the table.

If this rite is used as its own service, the rite begins with the apostolic greeting. If used in the main divine service, the greeting is omitted, and the rite immediately follows the Prayer of the Church.

The grace of our Lord + Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you.
And also with you.

Before his ascension, our Lord Jesus Christ said, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and gather disciples from all nations by baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and by teaching them to keep all the instructions I have given you. And surely I am with you always until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

You have been baptized in God’s name, and have learned about God’s love for the world in your Sunday School (or Bible History) lessons. You are now ready to begin a study of the teachings of the Bible as summarized by Luther’s Small Catechism.

Do you wish to confess your faith in Jesus Christ, the faith into which you were baptized, in the rite of confirmation? If so, answer “I do.”

Catechumens: I do.

Will you faithfully attend the services of God’s house, study the Scriptures and the catechism, and strive to lead a life worthy of your Christian calling? If so, answer “I will and I ask God to help me.”

Catechumens: I will and I ask God to help me.

Members of __________ congregation, will you support these young people with your prayers, be examples of faithfulness and righteousness, and encourage them that they may continue steadfast in faith and in communion with the Church? If so, answer “We will and we ask God to help us.”

Congregation: We will and we ask God to help us.

The minister places his hand on the Bibles and Catechisms and addresses the children:

Holy Scripture tells us: All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, and for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, well equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

So that the Word of God may be a lamp for your feet and a light for your path, we present these Bibles to you. Here is where God teaches us what he wants us to believe and do. Read the Scriptures so that the Word that is written with ink on paper may also be written in your hearts and minds, and be your guide for life, your comfort and your hope, in good times and in bad.

Receive also these catechisms. Here you will learn the truths of Scripture, and you will be taught “What does this mean?” that is, how to apply the truth of Scripture to your everyday life as you walk in the new life, given you by Christ.

The minister hands out the Bibles and Catechisms to the children.

Let us pray.

O Lord, holy Father, eternal God, let the way of your truth and of the knowledge of you be shown to your servants who live among the doubt and uncertainty in the darkness of this world. Open the eyes of their souls, that they may acknowledge you, the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and enjoy the fruit of confessing this faith both here and in the world to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

May the Word of the Lord give you wisdom.
May it bring joy to your heart and light to your eyes.
May it instruct you in the fear of the Lord,
and guide you in his truth. (from Psalm 19)
Amen.

Source: Prepared for A Collection of Prayers, 2019. Some elements adapted from “Acceptance of Catechumens,” which appeared in The Bride of Christ (see below).

Prayer is adapted from Ancient Collects and Other Prayers, William Bright, p. 125.3, Gregorian.

Scripture passages are quoted from The Holy Bible: Evangelical Heritage Version. www.wartburgproject.org.

See also Rite for the Presentation of Bibles to Children.

A rite for the  acceptance of catechumens appeared in the liturgical magazine, The Bride of Christ, prepared by Rev. Eric Ash. We share his rite here with his permission. The rite above uses some elements from “Acceptance of Catechumens.”

Acceptance of Catechumens

Pastor: Do you desire to affirm your faith in Christ Jesus, the faith into which you were baptized, and receive the Rite of confirmation in the tradition of the Holy Christian Church at the proper time? If so, answer “I do.”

Catechumens: I do.

Pastor: Will you faithfully attend the services of God’s house, will you diligently study the Scriptures and the catechism, and will you strive to lead a life worthy of your Christian calling? If so, answer “I will and I ask God to help me.”

Catechumens: I will and I ask God to help me.

Pastor: I ask you, the congregation, will you support these young people with your prayers, will you be examples to them of faithfulness and righteousness, and will you care for them and help them in every way God gives you opportunity that they may continue in the covenant of their baptism and in communion with the Church? If so, answer “We will and we ask God to help us.”

Congregation: We will and we ask God to help us.

Pastor: You are hereby officially accepted as the catechumens of __________ Evangelical Lutheran Church. May God bless you as you prepare and study. Please accept these Bibles and these copies of Luther’s Small Catechism as aids to your study and as tokens of the affection this congregation bears toward you.

Let us pray.

Heavenly Father, we give you thanks for these young people you have called to be your own. Bless them as they prepare to make an affirmation of their faith and strive to keep the commitments they have made this day. And bless this congregation as it strives to help all its young people grow into the full stature of Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

Rite for the Presentation of Bibles to Children

The Bibles may be stacked on a table in front of the altar. The children gather around the table.

Our Lord Jesus Christ said, “If you remain in my word, you are really my disciples. You will also know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)  and St. Paul wrote to Timothy, “From infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:15).

Our God has given us his holy Word, both to be our guide through life and to show us his good, gracious and saving will. It is in the Bible’s message of the gospel that we meet our Savior Jesus Christ, hear his Word, and come to know God as a compassionate and gracious Father.

Let us pray.

Blessed Lord, you have given us your Holy Scriptures for our learning. May we so hear them, read, learn, and take them to heart, that being strengthened and comforted by  your holy Word, we may cling to the blessed hope of everlasting life, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Amen.

The minister places his hand on the Bibles and addresses the children:

So that this Word of God may be a lamp for your feet and a light for your path, we present these Bibles to you. Here is where God teaches us what he wants us to believe and do. Read the Scriptures so that the Word that is written with ink on paper may also be written in your hearts and minds, and be your guide for life, your comfort and your hope, in good times and in bad.

The minister hands the Bibles to the children.

May the Word of the Lord give you wisdom.
May it bring joy to your heart and light to your eyes.
May it instruct you in the fear of the Lord,
and guide you in his truth. (from Psalm 19)
Amen.

Source: Prepared for A Collection of Prayers, 2019

Scripture passages are quoted from The Holy Bible: Evangelical Heritage Version. www.wartburgproject.org.

For more information on the Collect for the Word, “Blessed Lord, you have given us your holy Scriptures…” see https://acollectionofprayers.com/2016/06/20/collect-for-the-word/

See also Rite for the Welcome of Catechumens.

Rite for the Disposition of an Old Bible

The grace of our Lord + Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you.
And also with you.

A reading from the prophet Isaiah.

A voice was saying, “Cry out!”
And I said, “What shall I cry out?”
All flesh is grass,
and all its beauty is like a wildflower in the countryside.
Grass withers, flowers fade
when the breath of the Lord blows on them.
Yes, the people are grass.
8 Grass withers, flowers fade,
but the Word of our God endures forever. (Isaiah 40:6-8 EHV)

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God. 

The old Bible is placed in a paper bag, and then carefully placed in a recycle bin.

Let us pray.

O Lord, your Word is eternal. Ink and paper are not. We send this Bible that is worn from use to be recycled, perhaps even to bear your Word again. Let your eternal Word remain in our hearts. Let it be the lamp for our feet, the light for our path, and the place where we find our Savior, your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Go in peace. Serve the Lord with gladness.
Amen.

Source: A Collection of Prayers, 2019