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Book of Common Prayer

The Book of Common Prayer is central to the Christian faith as practised by the Church of Ireland and the wider Anglican tradition. It was originally compiled in the sixteenth century by Thomas Cranmer and modified in 1662. Anglicans use the Prayer Book not only to shape our worship but our whole lives. The Prayer Book is deeply rooted in the Bible: not only does it make full provision for the reading of Scripture, but its services and prayers are thoroughly scriptural in substance and language. You can find out more information about the Prayer Book below.

A brief explanation

What is the Book of Common Prayer?


Quite simply, the Book of Common Prayer is the book of prayers and services used in Anglican churches, including:


  • Daily Prayer - Morning, Evening & Compline/Night Prayer

  • Holy Communion

  • Special Services - Ash Wednesday, Healing Service etc.

  • Services marking key moments in our lifetimes – Baptisms, Confirmation, Weddings & Funerals

  • Ordination services - for a bishop, priest, or deacon


The Book of Common Prayer also contains:


  • A calendar to help you follow the Church Year

  • Prayers and thanksgivings that you use throughout the Church Year and/or at any time

  • The book of Psalms, which are used regularly in Anglican worship

  • A catechism and other documents to teach the basics of the Christian faith

  • Lectionaries, which let you know what passages of Scripture are to be read on different days/Sundays


There are also two different forms of services and prayers – traditional and contemporary. The traditional form remains largely unchanged since 1662 and reflects the language used at that time, and is considered one of the great works of the English language. The contemporary form is the same services and prayers but in a more contemporary language and style.

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The Book of Common Prayer & the Church of Irleand

For more information about the Church of Ireland's Book of Common Prayer and for an online version, click on the link below.

Prayer Book Society

For more information about the Book of Common Prayer, the Prayer Book Society offers a helpful history as well as further commentaries, guides and resources. Their website can be found be clicking this link.

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