Prayer for the 5th Sunday after Epiphany

Since being assigned by my bishop to a regular parish church last year (I had been serving a campus ministry for 4 years before that), I have been all the more careful to make more extensive use of The United Methodist Book of Worship (BOW), which is the official book of liturgy of The United Methodist Church, just as The Book of Common Prayer (BCP) is the book of the Anglican churches. Indeed, most of the structure and a good deal of the content of our Book of Worship is ultimately derived from the Common Prayer as well (a service-by-service comparisson between the BOW and the 1979 BCP will demonstrate the structural emulation).

I have continuously found that there is a great deal of liturgical treasure in the Book of Worship (to be sure, there is some less-useful stuff as well), that seems often neglected in ordering the corporate worship of our congregations. I believe that, as we try to renew our Wesleyan heritage, our seminaries should be more intentional in forming and training seminarians in the spirituality and use of the Book of Worship tradition (we have had several liturgy books over the centuries, going all the way back to Wesley's revision of the Common Prayer). For my part, I try to highlight some aspects of the Book of Worship from time to time as part of the work of this blog.

One aspect that can be easily integrated into any service is the collect or prayer of the day. As the Book of Common Prayer has a "collect" or prayer of the day for each Sunday of the year (that is also used at Morning Prayer throughout the following week), so the Book of Worship has a number of seasonal collects to be used throughout the year. The Board of Discipleship website often makes recommendations about which prayers to use, since there are several options given for each liturgical season, but not always specific prayers for specific Sundays.

Here is one of the recommendations for tomorrow, the 5th Sunday after Epiphany:

O Christ, who commanded the apostles to go into all the world, and to preach the gospel to every creature, let your name be great among the nations from the rising up of the sun to its going down, now and forever. Amen.

- Book of Worship #308, a prayer of Lancelot Andrewes

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