Prayer and Spirituality

Anglican spirituality is a fruit of our profoundly incarnational theology, and has to do with what the 18th century priest-mystic, William Law, calls "the process of Christ." Through daily encounters with the risen One in word and sacrament, and in the events and circumstances that challenge and mold us, we are transformed and conformed to the pattern of Christ.

~The Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold, 25th Presiding Bishop


Prayer may be said to be the language of God, the medium and process by which God in Christ speaks to us and hears us, enlightens us and encourages us, comforts us and consoles us. It is the means by which we respond to God's saving grace, and acquire the confidence to be Christ's witness in the world.

There are a variety of prayers — adoration, intercession, offering, praise, penitence, petition and thanksgiving — most of which are contained in the prayer Christ taught his disciples:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your Name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil.

Prayer, our response to God, may be spoken, or silent; expressed in action and ritual, or in still presence. As our catechism states, we pray by thought and by deeds. Prayer is part of our discipline and duty as Christians which is to come together weekly for corporate worship, and to "work, pray and give for the spread of the kingdom of God" (Book of Common Prayer, Catechism, p. 856). We pray individually, in daily devotions and daily encounters, and corporately as the assembly of the Body of Christ. Prayer may be expressed as a prescribed text or ritual, or extemporaneously as the Holy Spirit guides and moves us.

Diocesan Cycle of Prayer

A cycle of prayer is a tool used to enrich daily devotional life by reminding us of our connection with a broader community in the Diocese of Milwaukee. We encourage you to use these prayers in your daily prayer and weekly worship. 

Diocesan Cycle of Prayer

Anglican Rosary

Anglican prayer beads, also known as the Anglican rosary or Christian prayer beads, are a loop of strung beads which Anglicans, as well as Christians of other denominations, use to order their prayer. This particular way of using prayer beads was developed in the mid-1980s by Episcopalians in the United States participating in a study group dealing with methods of prayer. The beads have since been adopted or adapted by Lutherans, Methodists, and other Protestant groups. 

Anglican prayer bead sets consist of thirty-three beads divided into groups. There are four groups consisting of seven beads with additional separate and larger beads separating the groups. The number thirty-three signifies the number of years that Christ lived on the Earth, while the number seven signifies wholeness or completion in the faith, the days of creation, and the seasons of the Church year. Anglican prayer beads are most often used as a tactile aid to prayer and as a counting device. The standard Anglican set consists of the following pattern, starting with the cross, followed by the Invitatory Bead, and subsequently, the first Cruciform bead, moving to the right, through the first set of seven beads to the next Cruciform bead, continuing around the circle. He or she may conclude by saying the Lord's prayer on the invitatory bead and/or a final prayer on the cross. The entire circle may be done thrice, which signifies the Holy Trinity.

Centering Prayer

A method of quiet meditation in which a single symbolic word is used as a sign of one's willingness to wait on God and be available to God's presence. This word is used as a point of focus. The discipline involves setting aside twenty minutes or so for quiet prayer. This apophatic method has been widely taught and practiced in the Episcopal Church since the early 1980s. Thomas Keating's Finding Grace at the Center (1978) encouraged the practice of centering prayer.

Centering Prayer is a method of silent prayer that prepares us to receive the gift of contemplative prayer, prayer in which we experience God's presence within us, closer than breathing, closer than thinking, closer than consciousness itself. This method of prayer is both a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship.

Centering Prayer is not meant to replace other kinds of prayer. Rather, it adds depth of meaning to all prayer and facilitates the movement from more active modes of prayer—verbal, mental or affective prayer—into a receptive prayer of resting in God. Centering Prayer emphasizes prayer as a personal relationship with God and as a movement beyond conversation with Christ to communion with Him (from Contemplative Outreach LTD).


Resources

Anglican Breviary (the Divine Office) 
Anglican Cycle of Prayer   
Anglican Prayer Beads online rosary 
Anglican Prayer Beads description and orders 
Anglican Spirituality, essay by the 25th Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold
Book of Common Prayer
Diocesan Cycle of Prayer