The Collect for Peace at Morning Prayer

This prayer, like its counterpart in Evening Prayer, addresses the trouble of enemies. Perhaps the first question is who are our enemies? As in several of the Psalms, this is a nebulous concept, a fill-in-the-blank opportunity, and we should take care how we treat it, even in the silence of our hearts. The scriptures teach us that the enemies of the Christian are the world, the flesh, and the devil. Those are the forces that turn us away from God; those are the real threats against whom we need protection, and against whom we must fight. We must fight because peace is not found in avoidance of conflict, but in steadfastness despite conflict. Through “the might of Jesus” we pray for God’s defense “in all assaults”, not from all assaults. The goal or purpose of these prayers is that we “may not fear.” That is where our peace is found.

This Collect for Peace is one of the standard Morning Prayer Collects, appointed daily in the classical Prayer Books. Derived especially from the Psalms and the Gospel of John, and from the meditation of St. Augustine of Hippo, this prayer was used in the Gelasian and Gregorian Sacramentaries as a post-communion prayer. In the Sarum Rite it was also appointed for the end of Lauds, whence Archbishop Cranmer carried it over to our Morning Prayer liturgy.

O God, the author of peace and lover of concord,
to know you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom:
Defend us, your humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies;
that we, surely trusting in your defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries,
through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Why the Collect of the Day in the Daily Office?

The first collect after the Suffrages has always been the Collect of the Day. The 1979 Prayer Book made this optional, but ours restores its requirement. The use of the Collect of the Day outside of the Communion liturgy seems to have originated with Archbishop Cranmer himself. This is, in a sense, a Reformation answer to the tradition of Daily Mass: rather than expecting the people to watch the priest celebrate the Sacrifice of the Altar throughout the week, the primary concern was that the people would come and hear the Word of God read throughout the week. The inclusion of the Collect of the Day was therefore an acknowledge of prior tradition both by acknowledging the liturgical calendar in the daily services and by bringing to peoples’ minds the previous Sunday’s prayers and lessons miniaturized in its Collect.

The purpose of using the Collect of the Day here in the Daily Office is either to bring to mind the Communion service on the previous Sunday or the present holy day. The majority of the Office is quite static, unmoved by liturgical season or other occasion; this Collect is its primary link to the sacramental life of the Church.

Although the Collect of the Day no longer relates directly to the readings in the modern Communion lectionary, its repetition from the previous Sunday or present holy day still serves as a tangible link between the Daily Office and the Holy Communion.

The Collects at Morning Prayer

After the short call-and-response prayers of the Suffrages, the worshiper comes to a set of collects: first the Collect of the Day, then at least one from a list of seven, and a Prayer for Mission. The devotional aim is to move from shorter to longer prayers; where the Suffrages summarize, the Collects dig deeper.

So, traditionally, there are three Collects in a row: the Collect of the Day followed by two set Collects according to the time of day (in the Morning it’s for Peace and for Grace, as the rubrics note). By 1662 additional prayers were added to these, though not required in the rubrics. In the 1979 and 2019 Prayer Books those two Collects got expanded to the seven choices we have today, plus a choice from three Prayers for Mission.

The Suffrages in brief

The Suffrages have also been known as the Lesser Litany or the Preces & Responses. The seven pairs in our Prayer Book are adapted from Psalms 85:7, 20:9, 132:9, 28:10, Leviticus 26:6, Psalms 9:18, and 51:10-11. Thanks to the many choir settings for Choral Evensong, the English Suffrages are very well known. But there have been changes in the American Prayer Books. The first in 1790 reduced these only to the first and last pairs. By 1928 all the original six were restored in Evening Prayer. The suffrage “save the King/Queen” was rendered “save the State.” The 1979 Book brought them to Mornign Prayer as well as Evening, substantially edited the translation of some, and inserted the suffrage for the the needy. Our edition retains the addition of 1979 and has a mix of old- and new-style translations of the original six.

I’ve got a lot more detail here: https://saint-aelfric-customary.org/2019/02/20/the-suffrage-in-the-daily-office/

Short responsory prayers like these (and like the Great Litany) were not favored by the radical reformers. They argued that prayers should have longer phrases and sentences; whole psalms are more appropriate than recombined clusters of individual verses like these. And yet, some of these litanies and suffrages have survived. There is a time for longer expressions of prayer and intercession – the Psalms Appointed for Daily Morning and Evening Prayer give us opportunity to pray those in their entirety throughout the month, and the Prayers of the People in the Communion service contain prose prayers based on scripture of more substantial length than these Suffrages. But, just as the worshiper is free to use extemporaneous prayer in private and non-biblical yet biblically-inspired prayers in the liturgy, so too is the worshiper free to use biblically-sampled prayers like the Suffrages.

These are, in a way, like the Prayers of the People in miniature. We pray for mercy and salvation, for our earthly governors and church ministers, for all Christians, for peace, the needy, and for sanctification. The full “Great” Litany is traditionally prayed three times a week, so this “Lesser Litany” can indeed be considered its simplified form for daily use.

The Lord’s Prayer, especially in the Daily Office

All Christian prayer begins here, with the words of the Lord Jesus. His prayer was given not merely as a pattern or template by which to structure our own prayers but also as a prayer itself to be prayed by his followers. Accordingly, every liturgy of the church includes this prayer, and historic spiritual advice has always encouraged the memorization and use of this prayer among the faithful in their own private devotions. As a result, the classic Prayer Books included the Lord’s Prayer twice – once at the beginning of a worship service and once near the end. The exact location has varied (before or after the Confession in the Office) and the use of the doxology at the end of the prayer has varied, but the “two uses” of the Lord’s Prayer was pretty clear: it was both a personal preparation for participating in the liturgy and a piece of the liturgy itself.

Over the centuries, later Prayer Books drifted towards the use of the Lord’s Prayer only once in a worship service, and in the modern editions it has been the first appearance that has been removed in favor of the second.

Lifted from Matthew 6:9-13 and its counterpart in Luke 11, the Lord’s Prayer has been a staple of Christian worship both private and public throughout the history of the Church. When the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, they were expecting a prayer like this, as many teachers in that time had a token prayer that encapsulated their spirituality. This tradition of having such a theme prayer can be seen in later times, such as the Prayer Attributed to Saint Francis, and the existence of different schools of spirituality within the Church. By learning a particular prayer the worshiper is gradually conformed to and fed by the spiritual wisdom of the prayer’s author. The Lord’s Prayer, coming from the mouth of God himself, is thus the greatest prayer in the Christian treasury.

Both its order and contents are informative. We address God as Father, as adopted children, and we bless his holy name, seeking the advance of his kingdom and will on earth, as it is already so in heaven. Then we move to our own petitions – daily bread to sustain us in the present moment, forgiveness of our sins, while also committing ourselves to forgiving others. This is followed with the twin petitions for help against temptation and evil, or the Evil One. So the very logic and flow of this prayer is theological, or God-minded.

The doxology at the end is not now typically thought to be in the original text of St. Matthew’s gospel, but it is attested in documents as early as the Didache (ca. 100AD). Between that and its inclusion in the King James Bible (1611) it endures as a standard ending for the Lord’s Prayer. Liturgical use of the Lord’s Prayer often omitted the doxology, but through sheer familiarity and habit it has become standard in all its appearances in this Prayer Book.

The Kyrie in the Daily Office

The Kyrie is an ancient prayer, attested by the fact that it remains in Greek even in Roman liturgy. It is based upon the biblical cry found twice in the mouth of blind men imploring Jesus’ help in Matthew 20:30-31, as well as similar pleas in Matthew 17 and Psalm 123. The Kyrie has endured in the penitential portions of the liturgy, often being sung ninefold (each line being sung thrice) or even in a set of forty (as in Byzantine liturgy to this day) early in the Communion service. Its appearance in the Daily Office has been consistent through the English and Canadian Prayer Books, though it was omitted in the American Prayer Books until now.

It is a simple prayer, its near-identical repetition making it both a challenge and an opportunity for devotion. The obvious challenge is how easy it is for the worshiper to utter the words as a parrot, without meaning or understanding. Such is the case with anything memorized. The opportunities, however, are manifold. This can prayed as a prayer of contrition – have mercy upon my sins. This can be prayed as a prayer of intercession – have mercy on my needs. The words “on us” (in the traditional form of the Kyrie) may be directed toward one’s family, one’s church, community, nation, or the entire world.

It also serves as a lead-in for the Lord’s Prayer. There, we have the boldness to address God as our Father, here, we address him as Lord and Christ. The Kyrie, thus, is directed primarily at God the Son, our only mediator and advocate who can bring us to the Father. In fact, a Trinitarian pattern of prayer can be inferred in teh sequence of Kyrie, Lord’s Prayer, and Suffrages: first we call upon the name of Jesus, then we address the Father, and then we pray in the Spirit with some God-breathed words of prayer.

About that Salutation…

It’s a classic standard across the liturgical-church world:

“The Lord be with you.”
“And with your/thy spirit.”

This exchange, well known today, was used only sparingly in the classical Prayer Book tradition. The 1549 Prayer Book used it twice in the Communion service (before the Collect of the Day and the Post-Communion Prayer), once in the Baptism service, and once in the Daily Office immediately before the three Collects. By 1559 this arrangement had been drastically reduced: the salutation was not to be found in the Sacramental services, and only at the beginning of the Prayers in the Daily Office. By contrast, a Low Mass before the Reformation would include this salutation as many as seven times!

The origin of this salutation is likely an amalgamation of several biblical blessings. “The Lord be with your spirit” (2 Timothy 4:22) is a primary example; some other variations include Ruth 2:4, 2 Thessalonians 3:16, and Galatians 6:18.

In the 1979 Prayer Book and similar contemporary liturgies the response was re-translated to read “and also with you.” It was thought, at the time, to be a fair translation of the ancient liturgies, if more dynamic. Recent revisions in both Roman and Anglican liturgy have tended toward the restoration of the more literal translation, “and with your spirit.”

The salutation has come under fire, in recent times, concerning its theological implications. Some argue, in line with Roman tradition, that the language of “and with your spirit” is a reference to the indelible ordination character bestowed upon the priest, thus highlighting the sacredotal character of the ordained ministry. The reduction of the use of this salutation in the first Prayer Book and its near-total disappearance in subsequent versions may be cited as evidence in favor of this interpretation, especially when seeing that the liturgies of the Anglo-Catholic movement increase this salutation’s use.

This is not the only way to understand the salutation, however, nor is it the sole explanation for its disappearance in the more “reformed” Prayer Books. A 17th century commentator, the Rev. Dr. John Boys, observed that the Puritan party at the time was opposed to this and other suffrages and short exchanges and prayers, seeing them as “short cuts, or shreddings” rather than as actual blessings or prayers. Puritan (and other then-radical reformation) liturgies preferred longer, extemporaneous prayers, and this salutation was out of line with their doctrine of worship. John Boys also observed that “the people cannot make a fitter reply than ‘with thy spirit.’ For (as Plato divinely said) every man’s soul is himself.” There was no apparent concern at the time of any sacerdotalism or Romish doctrine of priesthood in this salutation; its real controversy was its brevity. Thus, we ought not today to assign it a meaning more narrow than its simple words merit.

The Apostles’ Creed in the Prayer Book

Of the three creeds, the Apostles’ is the oldest. It is not likely to be the work of the Apostles themselves, despite the legend that each of the twelve contributed a phrase; its origins are more likely in the baptismal liturgy of the Early Church, first appearing in surviving text from Milan in 390. There it was called a “symbol of the faith”, refering to its role as a token or collection of the Christian faith into a single statement.

Its liturgical use has not been consistent throughout history; it was primarily a document for teaching and memorization, as many catechisms ancient and modern attest. Cranmer’s Prayer Books did not use this creed in the Daily Office, only the Athanasian Creed was appointed for certain feast days in Morning Prayer. The Apostles’ Creed was introduced to Morning and Evening Prayer in the Elizabethan Prayer Book of 1559, where it has remained ever since, though still replaced by the Athanasian Creed on certain feast days, or by the Nicene Creed (in the first three American Prayer Books).

The Apostles’ Creed: didactic and devotional

The 8th Article of Religion lists this Creed as one of the three which “ought thoroughly to be received and believed: for they may be proved by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture.” A great many proof texts may be cited for such “most certain warrant” but it may be more beneficial for the worshiper to recognize the biblical foundation of the creedal tradition in general.

The Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) has as its primary verb “make disciples”, supported by the participles “going”, “baptizing”, and “teaching”. These are different stages of evangelism and catechesis, passing on the faith. The use of the trinitarian name – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – is the beginning of a theological synthesis; among Jesus’ last words to his disciples are summary statements that began the Church’s work of theology. This trinitarian formula can also be seen echoed in the Epistles; Saint Paul adapted it into a blessing (2 Corinthians 13:14). Thus the early liturgy paved the way for systematic theology to follow.

A similar example can be found in another text, Romans 10:8-10, wherein Paul gives us a summary of soteriology (the doctrine of salvation), beloved to this day. In a short span he links confession of faith and belief to justification and salvation. And he introduces this as “the word of faith that we proclaim”. He both quotes and uses an Old Testament text (Deuteronomy 30:14) to summarize grand sweeping doctrines in miniature – he gives us a sort of proto-creed. This need to contend for the faith was felt by other biblical writers too (Jude 3), and several texts rose to prominence in the formulation of miniature creeds ranging from the Jewish Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4) to the Epistles (1 Corinthians 3:5-11).

There is one line of the Apostles’ Creed that has occasioned controversy among Protestant scholars: “He descended into Hell.” We affirm this statement in the 3rd Article of Religion, and all the American Prayer Books have offered an alternative translation to clarify its meaning: “He went into the place of departed spirits” or “He descended to the dead.” That is, we affirm that Jesus truly died, as any human does, and God the Son was present where dead souls reside. (You can read more about this from Fr. Jeffries here.)

There is great value in reciting the Creed in the course worship; it is both didactic and devotional. Its didactic, or teaching, value is obvious: it symbolizes or summarizes the essentials of the Christian faith. Since all Scripture speaks of Christ and the Gospel (Luke 24:27, 44-48), the worshiper can anticipate every Scripture reading attesting to at least one part of the Creed; the Creed can serve as a sort of sermon. Devotionally, the Creed is also an offering or confession of faith that the worshiper brings to God. It is like a twice-daily renewal of faith, spoken prayerfully, not simply a teacher keeping us in line but the individual heart’s oblation. In that sense, it is appropriate that we conclude the Creed with the word “Amen.”

Some History of the Daily Office Lectionary

With the sole exception of the 1979 Prayer Book, the Prayer Book pattern has always been two lessons.  With perhaps one additional exception these two lessons have always been Old Testament and New Testament.  The original Daily Office Lectionary of the 16th–19th centuries appointed one chapter per reading (the 1549 Book actually preceding the current English Bible versification), with one exception for Luke 1.  Its Old Testament lessons were continuous between Morning and Evening Prayer, starting with Genesis in January and proceeding in canonical order, albeit leaving Isaiah for the end of the year.  The Gospels and Acts were read three times through in Morning Prayer and the Epistles were read three times through in Evening Prayer.  The books of 1 & 2 Chronicles and Revelation were omitted, as well as substantial portions of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Ezekiel.  Among the Books Called Apocrypha, Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, and Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) were read in full.  Besides this pattern, there were appointed Old Testament lessons for each Sunday morning and evening in the year, providing a yearly highlight of Old Testament content for the benefit of those who did not attend the Office daily; this started Genesis on Septuagesima Sunday, in accord with pre-reformation practice.

In the 20th century, many Prayer Book Daily Lectionaries switched to being built on the liturgical calendar instead of the secular calendar, a pattern uniquely broken by the 2019 Prayer Book.  The trend had been one of increasing complexity and attention to liturgical time and holy days, to the loss of continuous reading and wide coverage of the Bible.  Thus this Book returns to the simplicity of the first English lectionary, with due consideration for current needs and practice.  In line with evangelical concern for the distinction between the Books Called Apocrypha and the Hebrew Old Testament, the 2019 Daily Lectionary has the smallest coverage of those additional books than any previous Prayer Book.

The dialogue “This is the word of the Lord. / Thanks be to God.” was first introduced into the Prayer Book in 1979, having been imported from the Roman Rite of the Mass.