Archbishop Foley Beach has called the Church to a week of prayer and fasting, beginning today.  You can read his full statement here: http://www.anglicanchurch.net/?/main/page/2052  The question we’re taking up here is that of how to implement his call to prayer, and use the resources which has named, as well as others in the Prayer Book.

First of all, today was already a fast day; this is the first of the Pentecost Ember Days.  The same goes for Friday and Saturday.  But this special call to prayer and fasting is, of course, something a bit beyond the ordinary.

The easiest way to fast and pray for the long-term is to give up one meal per day and replace it with a half-hour (or longer) time of prayer.  I would highly recommend using the Great Litany every day during a Week of Prayer. As its rubrics note (both in the 2019 Prayer Book and in the classical books), it is particularly appropriate for any time of “special entreaty” or disaster or strife.  If a bishop or archbishop asks for a special time of prayer, the Litany should be the first thing we put on our list.

Secondly, Archbishop Beach’s statement lists several Occasional Prayers (found on pages 657-661) that are particularly appropriate for this Week of Prayer.  He lists #39 through #51, which range from prayers for the nation through prayers for various aspects of society.  The Saint Aelfric Customary already has a recommended rotation through the Occasional Prayers; if you follow that then you’ll have covered #39 yesterday morning, #40-43 next Tuesday Evening, #44-47 last night, and #48-51 this evening.  If you’re not one who normally adds these additional prayers to the Daily Office, this week is a good time to give it a try.  There are twelve prayers listed in the Archbishop’s statement, so if you use even just one each Morning and Evening through this Week of Prayer, you’ll cover all of them by the end of next Wednesday.

However you do or don’t structure your prayers during this time, I hope these thoughts will help you participate in this holy call to intercede.  It is a privilege of God’s people that we can plead before the Throne of Grace on behalf of the world; let us not squander the opportunity nor scorn the call.

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