Saturday, October 19, 2013

Praying the Litany

One of the spiritual disciplines that members of the Wesleyan-Anglican Society are encouraged to take on is the praying of the Litany each Wednesday and Friday.  -  The Litany is found in the Book of Common Prayer (in its various forms).  In the 1662 BCP of the Church of England, this "General Supplication" was said to be sung or said after Morning Prayer upon Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. 

John Wesley passed the Litany on to "the people called Methodists" in his conservative revision of the Prayer Book, which he titled, The Sunday Service of the Methodists in North America.  The instruction that Wesley gives in The Sunday Service is that it should be prayed on Wednesdays and Fridays.

One of my colleagues and fellow WAS member, the Rev'd. Daniel McLain Hixon, has given a rendering of the Litany in modern language based on Wesley's version and compared with the 1662 & 1979 Books of Common Prayer.  He has posted this version on his blog, Gloria Deo.  -  I prayed this version, yesterday, and commend it for your consideration.


Steve Reeves said...

It would be a travesty to base anything on the 1979 Book of Common Prayer.

Todd Stepp said...


Thank you for your comment!

I see that you are UECoNA. I understand your comment, then. However, I disagree. Oh, indeed, I recognize the multiple problems with the '79 BCP, but they do get a few things right. An example is the restoration of the Passing of the Peace. This is a restoration of the practice of the Early Church, and is a welcomed one. (The ACNA points out a few other issues in connection with their work toward a new Prayer Book for ACNA usage.)

As for your comment in connection with the article, I think that it is clear that the attempt is to present The Litany as found in Wesley's "The Sunday Service" (which, BTW, is arguably closer to the 1662 BCP than is the American '28 book, and admitted to be so by early Episcopal bishops in dialogue with early Methodist bishops) in contemporary English. With this goal in mind, it makes sense to look at how the '79 BCP has rendered The Litany. It becomes, not a reference for theological change, but rather a reference for translation.