"Ecumenical" Daily Prayer?

My friend, Lutheran Pastor Fraser Pearce, is a happy boy. He has just bought himself a copy of Concordia Publishing House’s ‘The Treasury of Daily Prayer’ and is thrilled that CPH publishes such “stuff that is unashamedly Lutheran”.

So, my question is, what makes a version of Daily Prayer specifically “Lutheran”? How does (or should) a “Lutheran” morning prayer (for eg.) differ from a Catholic or Anglican MP?

I would have thought that while we all have different versions of the psalter (in terms of what psalms are prayed on what day – and in terms of translations which differ even within confessional groups) there is nothing specific to any particular confession about these variations.

Surely the beauty of daily prayer is that – as distinct from the Eucharist – it is a form of the “Prayer of the Church” which we can pray together?

In fact, if there is any liturgical project on which it might truly be possible for all Western churches to agree, surely it would be a joint version of the Daily Prayer of the Church. This would indeed be a “grand project” but it would put “spiritual ecumenism” on a very sure and daily footing.

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4 responses to “"Ecumenical" Daily Prayer?

  1. Fraser Pearce

    Nice to know that you’re reading my blog, old crustacean.

    My comment about ‘unashamedly Lutheran’ was meant as a word of praise about their catalogue as a whole.

    But also about the TDP. If you have a look inside, I think you’ll see what I mean – especially in the readings.

    I understand that many of the settings of the liturgy owe more to Anglican sources than to Lutheran ones.

    Pfatteicher provides a good attempt at a ecumenical office book. Excellent, really. But not one volume; not all inclusive.

    The Roman office – especially morning and evening prayer – is largely (99%) useable by Lutherans, in my opinion.

  2. Schütz

    If you have a look inside, I think you’ll see what I mean – especially in the readings

    From the Lutheran Scriptures, you mean? 🙂

    In ref to Pfatteicher, I don’t think such an endeavour (Ecumenical DP) could be the work of an individual.

    I would guess that the 1% that Lutherans could not use would be the prayer for the dead at every Evening Prayer, and some prayers in ref to the BVM and the saints – although prayers are never offered to them in the Office (except perhaps in some of the Marian antiphons which could be construed as such).

    Actually, that would be a problem with an ecumenical Daily Prayer: the Calendar of the Saints features large, and we could never agree on which saints to commemorate together.

  3. Past Elder

    I’d buy Pastor’s 99%. Our Lutheran Fathers, if not Luther himself but it’s wat to early here (0531, yippie, I’ll be up for Prime, oh I forgot, Vatican II abolished it, anybody know where I can find a good Lauds) to look it up, said the Office needed much less reform, being built around Scripture passages.

    But why even bother about such an “ecumenical” project? Whatever happened to the “ecumenical” appreciation for the diverse rites over times and places? Is that only for the past? Diversity for the dead, but the living must employ ecumenists in search of a common Office that all may be one!

    I suppose it would come down to disagreement over what sources for lectio divina, favourites as to what Psalm when, and commemorations. Then again, that masterwork of Vatican II For Lutherans, Lutheran Book of Worship, listed a commemoration for that calamity of a pope, John XXIII!

    Ceratinly the Office can be prayed individually, but even when done so it recognises the essentially communal nature of the Office. And re that community, it is not distinct from the Eucharist, around which mine gathers where it is properly administered. IOW, even when it’s not for the Eucharist, community nonetheless reflects where it is shared.

    What I’d really like to see is a return of the Office to parish life. God bless us if the monk of all monks, the great Benedict himself (the only greater monk being Thelonious), didn’t take his ideas for monkish prayer from the cathedral parishes, and only after, as we Benedictines single handedly saved civilisation while all you guys ran wild, was this sort of thing associated with monkdom and monasteries.

  4. William Weedon

    Though truly ecumenical in its basic structure (and sharing the same Psalm schedule with the Western Rite Orthodox and the Anglicans and fellow ELCA Lutherans), what makes it Lutheran above all is the choice of the writings (these are frequently from the Book of Concord, Luther or another Lutheran father, though the earlier fathers are certainly featured largely).

    Prayer for the dead should NOT be a problem (but we both know it is). The calendar is broader than what many Lutherans are accustomed to, but still not so full as the Roman (in which seasons sometimes seem to be swallowed up by the numerous saints days).

    So, I think Fraser put it quite rightly: it comes across as distinctly Lutheran BECAUSE it embraces the catholic heritage and yet does so with a distinct accent upon those features of the common heritage which are so treasured in our church.