Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Daily Bread:
An Annotated Bibliography of Select Online Resources for Daily Prayer



An introduction: It will be tempting, I imagine, for those folks long familiar with traditional versions of the daily office and rhythms of prayer to value these resources primarily for the simplicity they provide (i.e., an app beats the heck out of juggling books). And God knows these resources are a long-awaited and much needed step toward simplicity in structured prayer. For many people, however, the prayer practices offered in what follows are altogether new; concepts like simplicity and duty are not sufficiently compelling for the use of these resources. Thus I hope that this list occasions conversation in relationship by which Christians reflect on and share with each other the ways God has encountered them in ordinary, daily rhythms of prayers. These stories of God at work are true food and blessing for Christians, and we experience mutual strengthening when we do not hide them but give them to one another freely, as encouragement and offerings of thanksgiving to God.

Additionally, by listing these resources together, I do not mean to imply that a normative prayer life includes all of them. My prayer, rather, is that they stir the imagination toward possibilities of daily prayer. Along this line, if you find life in prayer resources not on the list, please share them in the comments below!

Select Online Prayer Resources (websites and apps)

The (alphabetical) list begins with a shameless plug for a personal agenda: the blessing of homes in communities of faith. Read the short service over, enjoy, talk with the people with whom you share your home, and then call me over and we'll gather some friends and bless your home. It's a wonderful way to set apart holy space and soften the walls between Sunday and the rest of our lives.

A wonderful resource for daily prayer, drawing on prayers from multiple Christian traditions and including historical remembrances that put prayer and social action in direct contact. The app version appears to be presently unavailable; it's worth checking periodically to see if gets brought back.

The daily office of the Book of Common Prayer, 1979, with readings for the day seamlessly integrated. Incredibly customizable, the app effortlessly cycles the user through the many sometimes intimidating choices (canticles, psalm cycles, lessons, prayers) the daily office entails. In short, you click on the (beautiful) interface, and it's as if a chaplain appears and leads your prayers.

Forward Day by Day is a booklet of daily inspirational meditations reflecting on a specific Bible passage, chosen from the daily lectionary readings as listed in the Revised Common Lectionary or the Daily Office from the Episcopal Church's  Book of Common Prayer.

"Liturgy Letter curates resources to accompany The Revised Common Lectionary and encourages historic Christian worship forms and practices. Weekly newsletters provide ways to engage the lectionary texts for the week, with special focus on the Psalm and Gospel texts."

One of the original online resources for praying the daily office (morning and evening prayer). Includes both text and audio resources.

"Pray-as-you-go brings together music, a passage of scripture and a few questions for personal reflection in a new 10-13 minute prayer session every day. Produced by the British Jesuits."

A guided and customizable examen (short examination of conscience) for each day. Personally, the combination of the Office and the Examen bring both to life for me. I can't recommend some version of the examen highly enough.
A gift of a member of the SFH community.

Includes readings for Sundays, feasts, and other observances. The Reverse Lectionary allows you to start with a reading from Scripture and locate when and where the reading appears in the liturgical calendar.

Weekly podcasts of the Friday resurrection service at Taizé.
Seasonal prayers (texts) from the Taizé community.