« AnteriorContinuar »
In collecting from many compilations the present form of Family Prayer, my desire has been to throw more warmth and vitality into family devotion by making it a thoroughly congregational service. I have kept the forms for confession, intercession, and thanksgiving, the same throughout the year, following the pattern of our Church in her public prayers. And the special services while they tend to break the monotony which might attend an entire sameness, are intended in the simplest way to set before the family the special lesson which our Church would teach us on her seasons and holy days. The hymns have helped much towards this, and when not sung, will be found very impressive if repeated after the master or by alternate verses.
The special hymns, texts, and versicles, may be used morning and evening through the season, with different psalms and lesson at the discretion of the master, From some years' practice of family devotion, I am convinced that the portion of Scripture read cannot in reason be too short, followed when necessary by a short practical comment. If in reading a whole chapter even two parables come together, the family are too apt to lose the plain teaching of the simple one in the difficulty of the one which without a comment they do not understand. It would also help much to use the lessons from Scripture as an additional help towards the right understanding of the Church's teaching at each portion of the year. For instance, in Advent, the preparation for CHRIST'S second coming, and for the due celebration of the great mystery of the Incarnation at His first coming, might be greatly helped by meditating in the mornings on the prophecies and accounts of both from the prophets and gospels, while the special mercies vouchsafed us, and the consequent duties on our part would be clearly set forth by a consideration in the evening of the epistles of S. Peter, and of S. Paul to the Hebrews. So from Christmas till Lent the accounts of the life of our blessed LORD, and in the evening portions of the other epistles ; at Epiphany the epistle to the Romans and to the Ephesians, as showing from what we were saved and our consequent duties, which again having convinced us of our shortcomings would form the best preparation for Lent, and for the meditation on the greater proofs of our blessed LORD's love in His sufferings and death for us. And so on through the year, teaching them to rise with Him to newness of life, to ascend in thought to Him, sitting at God's right hand to make intercession for us; to realise the blessings of the Comforter, to confess the Trinity in Unity, and then to learn their duties as individuals and as members of Christ's holy Church, till they again come in never-ending circle to the Advent Season, at once the beginning, and the ending of the Christian year.
N.B. The form of prayer would not take more than ten minutes including the special office, and from the attention being kept up by continual response, it would not create the weariness of other prayers at half that time. If used when the daily service was regularly attended by the household, it could be shortened by beginning at once with the confession, by omitting the first psalm or canticle from the special services, and by using either the lauds without the creed, or the end of the morning thanksgiving prayer without the previous versicles.