The Washington Post reviews a new prayer book published by the Jewish Reform Movement, commenting on the range of language and options offered for personal and public prayer. A variety of images of God are included, and even doubt is a possible approach to prayer:
Page 181 reads: “I speak these words but I don’t believe them.” Opposite, on page 180, a more traditional prayer appeal sounds more certain, referencing a creator God who is “slow to anger, quick to forgive.”
Calling the Reform Movement a “pioneer” in adapting ancient texts to embrace new realities in the way that people approach their faith, the Washington Post also recognizes work in this area from the Episcopal Church:
“We’re trying to see ourselves as in continuity with historic tradition, but worship is always changing because the world around us changes and people change and theological understandings shift,” said the Rev. Ruth Meyers, who chairs the liturgy and music committee for the Episcopal Church.
The Episcopal Church last updated its prayer book, the Book of Common Prayer in the 1970s. But last year, it came out with a supplement: Daily Prayer for All Seasons, which trims a thick series of traditional daily prayers to a couple pages of prayers organized into categories with more general, contemporary names: praise, wisdom, love, forgiveness.
“This prayer book presents a variety of images of God,” the book’s introduction reads.
The Reform Movement updated its weekly liturgies in 2007, but this new release covers the High Holidays and might be expected to be used by more people, considering weightier themes.
“The themes and challenges of the High Holidays are different than they are in the regular weekly prayer book. On the High Holidays we think about things on a much grander scale,” Person said. “We’re dealing with the really big issues of life, death, forgiveness, eternity — things we might not necessarily think about when we go to synagogue on a weekly basis, if we go.”
Have you used the Episcopal Daily Prayer for All Seasons supplement referenced in the article? What do you think of its approach to the language of prayer?
Posted by Rosalind Hughes