Traditional Prayers for Anglican Catholics


Since 1956 1 have belonged to the Oratory of the Good Shepherd as a professed priest and later as a priest Companion. The dedication to a rule of life including, prayer, reporting four times a year, Eucharistic attendance, giving, retreat, study, self-examination and confession, has upheld my discipleship.

I am convinced from my own experience that Alfred Lord Tennyson's words are true:

"More things are wrought by prayer
Than this world dreams of."
("Idylls of the King, 'Merlin and Vivien'": 415)

In the light if this, one endeavours to practice the precept in 1 Thessalonians 5.16-18: "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances."

The Christian endeavour is a challenge and a demand not only in terms of moral choice and behaviour, but also in terms of prayer. Accordingly, forms of prayer assist the pilgrim in that endeavour. This book is a selection of prayers which transcend denominational barriers and draw upon the inherited spiritual legacy of the practitioners of prayer through the ages. One person may say, "I could not use that prayer or that form of prayer in the morning, at noon, or in the evening. Yet the needs of the pilgrim will be met by the provision of prayer for present needs, and may raise the insight of the pilgrim into the support of the Guardian Angels and into the intercession of the Saints for each person on the journey of faith.

St Philip Neri (1515 - 1595) who spent nights in prayer, wrote "Lord, never trust me for one moment: I am sure to fail you - unless you stand by me." The prayers and aids to Godly practice in this book recall the holy conversations and letters of Brother Lawrence in "The Practice of the Presence of God: the best rule of a holy life". These were collected in the 17th century, and as the unnamed writer of the Preface to it says: "The pious author was not, indeed, of our Communion, but truth and piety are of every country and religion." I commend the use of the prayers in this volume and urge that in doing so one listens to our Lord speaking to the heart of the person of prayer in the ways and in the circumstances He chooses.

The beauty of traditional language recalls the familiar forms and beauty of aspirations of people in response to the revealed invitation of our Lord to pray. This is the challenge of the Lord's Prayer. It is to ponder words that are used, and in this collection it is not only a matter of saying prayers but of "inwardly digesting" what is being offered.

I commend this collection by Bishop Chislett whom I have known for many years and whose ministry is treasured by many people in several states of Australia as well as overseas.

+Graham Walden,
Assistant Bishop of Ballarat (1981 - 1989)
Bishop of The Murray (1989 - 2001)