The Book of Common Prayer 2011 embodies two thousand years of prayer that preserves the beauty of timeless language for the twenty-first century. It has been said that the Book of Common Prayer is the Bible arranged for daily prayer. The language of the prayers in this edition has been crafted to reflect the ESV Bible® (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®). The direct biblical quotes of the Old and New Testaments are from the ESV Bible®.
Common Prayer is not only about being able to go into an Anglican Church anywhere in the world and find the prayer and worship stemming from the same core elements and scriptural origins, but is also about praying together as Christ's own Church. Each congregation has its own expression and flavor it brings to this common core, reflecting the individuals of that local congregation while still seeing the oneness in Christ not only throughout the world today but also worshipping with Christians of past centuries with whom we are still one in Christ.
The first Book of Common Prayer (1549) provides the daily prayers and Sunday worship of the Church as a single volume in the language of the people. Thomas Cranmer produced this first edition during the reign of Edward VI, preserving the ancient heritage of Christian prayer and practice while incorporating the simplicity of the English Reformation. The BCP1549 edition forms the framework of this new edition while incorporating the minor revisions through the BCP1662 edition, enriched by the American editions and influenced by the Episcopal Church of Scotland.
This BCP2011 edition is a restoration of a "people's prayer book" rather than a liturgical manual. It once again is intended to be devotional as well as for use in corporate worship. The BCP2011 is 358 pages, significantly less than the ever-expanding compendium of prayers, options, and rituals of more recent editions. Like Cranmer, the focus is kept on the basic historic elements of our common worship in the Western tradition. This lightweight volume is designed for daily prayer. As an extension of the devotional character of this book, Biblical references are provided for each of the prayers as an aid to the study of Scripture.
The BCP2011 is a prayer book. While a handout service booklet is convenient, especially for a newcomer, it tends to be focused on a single worship event. The Book of Common Prayer is to be a devotional book for the individual which not only includes our regular public worship, but also integrates our daily devotions, our daily reading of Scripture, and the various occasions of life and death, of our joy and our sorrow, of fellowship and solitude.