In recent years there has been a revival of interest in the Book of Common Prayer, especially the classic 1662 version. Beloved for its language and theology, the classic Prayer Book is the fountainhead for almost all later editions of the Book of Common Prayer and remains a widely recognized standard for worship in the Anglican tradition. More than simply a collection of prayers, the Book of Common Prayer offers a transformative engagement with the Bible and a framework for our spiritual lives.
The Book of Common Prayer (1662) is one of the most beloved liturgical texts in the Christian church, and remains a definitive expression of Anglican identity today. It is still widely used around the world, in public worship and private devotion, and is revered for both its linguistic and theological virtues.
But the classic text of the 1662 prayer book presents several difficulties for contemporary users, especially those outside the Church of England. The 1662 Book of Common Prayer: International Edition gently updates the text for contemporary use. State prayers of England have been replaced with prayers that can be used regardless of nation or polity. Obscure words and phrases have been modestly revised—but always with a view towards preserving the prayer book’s own cadence. Finally, a selection of treasured prayers from later Anglican tradition has been appended.
In How to Use the Book of Common Prayer, Samuel Bray and Drew Keane (editors of The 1662 Book of Common Prayer: International Edition) introduce the classic Prayer Book to newcomers. Beginning with a brief history and case for liturgical prayer, they walk through daily morning and evening prayer, baptism and Communion, the church year, and the Prayer Book’s plan for reading the Bible. This is not only an introduction to the Prayer Book—it’s a guide to letting it form your faith.
The Service Book of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer: International Edition contains all the services a minister would use in corporate worship. The liturgies are the unaltered text from the International Edition, in large, readable type.
This includes the newest volumes How to Use the Book of Common Prayer and The 1662 Book of Common Prayer—Service Book International Edition. Both the new volume and this collection are scheduled to ship in February 2024.
By sensitively updating the language and adapting the content for use by the worldwide Anglican Communion, this 1662 Book of Common Prayer, International Edition, makes a most welcome contribution toward making the classical liturgy of Anglicanism accessible to younger people and to a wider audience. Those who use it will rediscover a liturgical tradition that has shaped the spiritual life of generations of faithful Anglicans and be strengthened in their faith as they make their pilgrim way to the celestial city.
—Gerald Bray, Beeson Divinity School
I think this is a beautiful project, and one that will be useful to churches and families that want to take advantage of the great beauty and theological power of the old prayer book, without being distracted by irrelevant or obscure language.
—Alan Jacobs, Baylor University
The official prayer book of the Church of England remains the revised version of 1662. And beyond the United Kingdom, the 1662 edition continues to wield enormous influence in the Anglican Communion as well as in other churches around the world. Believers who still wish to pray from this time-tested prayer book now have a gorgeously produced, reader-friendly edition with which to do so. A greater gift for lovers of the Book of Common Prayer can hardly be imagined.
—Wesley Hill, associate professor of New Testament at Trinity School for Ministry, Ambridge, Pennsylvania