The Book of Common Prayer: A Spiritual Treasure Chest—Selections Annotated & Explained

For centuries Christians and seekers from various backgrounds have found strength for their spiritual journey in the Book of Common Prayer. Unique selections with facing-page commentary offer fascinating insights into its history and its meaning for today.

Annotation by The Rev. Canon C. K. Robertson, PhD
Foreword by The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Preface by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

Paperback | 5½ x 8½, 208 pp | 978-1-59473-524-0

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This source of strength and solace for millions of Christian clergy and laypeople throughout the world can be a companion for your own spiritual journey.

For centuries, Christians of different traditions and seekers from various backgrounds have found strength for their spiritual journey in the Book of Common Prayer (BCP). First composed in 1549 by Thomas Cranmer, Henry VIII’s Archbishop of Canterbury, the BCP, alongside Shakespeare’s works and the King James Bible, helped shape the English language. Today almost eighty million Anglican Christians throughout the world use the BCP in public worship, and countless people—Anglican and otherwise—use it in their private devotional life.

In this unique presentation of selections—organized by themes such as “Blessings in Times of Joy and Pain,” “Called to Serve” and Ґraise and Petition—with facing-page commentary, C. K. Robertson offers fascinating insights into the history and heritage of the BCP. He also makes available the riches of this spiritual treasure chest for all who are interested in deepening their life of prayer, building stronger relationships and making a difference in the world.

“A gift to the larger ecumenical community. The Book of Common Prayer ... continues to offer spiritual formation to Christians of many traditions ... this remarkable guide will enrich our pursuit.”

Kathryn Mary Lohre, president, National Council of the Churches of Christ USA

“One of the great classics.... Christians of every tradition can appreciate its majestic yet concise style, and draw upon it for inspiration and insight. Most welcome and of benefit to those seeking to deepen their Christian faith.”

Rev. Ronald G. Roberson, CSP, associate director, Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC

“A fresh new set of insights.... A wellspring of encouragement to go deep and wide with this treasure trove of Christian roots and wings. I commend this work and all its potential for invigorating worship and transforming our experience of liturgy.”

Archbishop David Moxon, Archbishop of Canterbury's Representative to the Holy See; director, the Anglican Centre in Rome

“There is ... a kind of magnificence of scope that, combined with the richness of intimacy, blesses both the soul and the mind of its reader. The BCP has never been better served or more sympathetically considered than it is in these pages.”

Phyllis Tickle, author, Emergence Christianity: What It Is, Where It Is Going, and Why It Matters

“Warmly and brilliantly guides us through the spiritual riches of one of Christianity's most sublime religious texts. Anyone who seeks wisdom, hope and a deeper, more authentic prayer life, both individually and communally, will find this resource immensely rewarding.Ӽbr />

The Rev. Peter Wallace, producer and host, Day1 radio program; author, The Passionate Jesus: What We Can Learn from Jesus about Love, Fear, Grief, Joy and Living Authentically

“Help[s] readers connect with traditional wisdom in new ways.... Invites churchgoers and seekers alike into an uncommon life of gratitude grounded by God's beauty and grace.”

Diana Butler Bass, PhD, author, Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening

“A truly hidden treasure.... Presents [the BCP] in a way that is contagious, practical and direct.”

The Rev. Albert CutiŽ, priest of the Diocese of Southeast Florida; author, radio and television host

“Unlock[s] the treasures of the BCP for those practiced or untutored in its use.... Robertson's historical and personal insights infuse ritual and prayer with fresh energy.”

Gregory Vaughn Palmer, resident bishop, Ohio West Episcopal Area—The United Methodist Church, West Ohio Conference UMC

Foreword vii
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Preface ix
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu
Introduction xi
1. A Life of Prayer 1
2. Belonging and Building Relationships 45
3. Blessing in Times of Joy and Pain 93
4. Called to Serve 119
5. Praise and Petition 145
Using the Prayer Book as a Spiritual Tool 167
Suggestions for Further Reading 170