Why are couplets such as “Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer” used in modern communion services? . . .
God is always attentive and knows our minds. He does not listen to the words we say. We use words in prayer to order and direct our own minds.
(Canon) John Goodchild, Liverpool
The Liturgical Movement in the 20th century promoted the move away from treating the Prayer for the Church as an uninterrupted monologue for the celebrant (as in the 1662 and 1928 Prayer Books), while Free Church influence, through ecumenical union schemes, argued for an extempore element: thus the influential Liturgy of the Church of South India (1954) had litanies at this point, via the (Anglican) Indian Communion Service, which drew on ancient Eastern models, but also allowed extempore prayer.
The Lambeth Conference of 1958, seeking to give greater cohesion to Prayer Book revision across the Anglican Provinces, recommended restoring “elements of the worship of the Primitive Church” such as “The recovery of the ‘People’s Prayers’ at the Eucharist by breaking up the Prayer for the Church into sections, each followed by congregational response, or into a litany with short clauses.”
In the C of E, in 1966, the new Series 1 order allowed the Prayer for the Church to be broken up with the response “Hear us, we beseech thee,” and, in Series 2, the prayers included now familiar responses. Their structure was influenced by the Roman Rite’s Solemn Prayers for Good Friday, which were thought to preserve a more Primitive practice than had survived at less sacred seasons. Editor
Who awards the “Emeritus” designation to long-serving persons in church work?
P. J. M.
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