About the Book of Common Prayer
The Book of Common Prayer is one of the major works of English literature. Since its introduction in the mid-1500's it has exerted enormous influence on the religious and literary lives of all who speak the English language. The Book of Common Prayer has gone through a number of editions, not only in England where it originated, but in all the places where the various Churches of the Anglican Communion are now active. - The Society of Archbishop Justus
The 1979 American Book of Common Prayer contains the liturgy for services in the Episcopal Church. Browse through an online version here.
Browse through historical and current Books of Common Prayer from around the world here.
The Book of Common Prayer is the short title of a number of related prayer books used in the Anglican Communion. The original book, published in 1549 (Church of England 1957), in the reign of Edward VI, was a product of the English Reformation following the break with Rome. Prayer books, unlike books of prayers, contain the words of structured (or liturgical) services of worship. The work of 1549 was the first prayer book to include the complete forms of service for daily and Sunday worship in English. It contained Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, the Litany, and Holy Communionand also the occasional services in full: the orders for Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, 'prayers to be said with the sick' and a Funeralservice. It also set out in full the "propers" (that is the parts of the service which varied week by week or, at times, daily throughout the Church's Year): the collects and the epistle and gospel readings for the Sunday Communion Service. Old Testament and New Testamentreadings for daily prayer were specified in tabular format as were the Psalms; and canticles, mostly biblical, that were provided to be said or sung between the readings (Careless 2003, p. 26). - Wikipedia
The Episcopal Church separated itself from the Church of England in 1789, having been established in the United States in 1607. Its prayer book, published in 1790, had as its sources, the 1662 English book and the 1764 Scottish Liturgy (see above) which Bishop Seabury of Connecticut had brought over following his consecration in Aberdeen in 1784, containing elements of each (Perry 1922). The preface to the 1789 Book of Common Prayer says "this Church is far from intending to depart from the Church of England in any essential point of doctrine, discipline, or worship...further than local circumstances require." There were some notable differences. For example, in the Communion service after the words of institution there follows a Prayer of Oblation from 1549, but into which were inserted the words 'which we now offer unto thee' (in small caps) with reference to the 'holy gifts'. An epiclesis was included, as in the Scottish book, though modified to meet reformist objections. Overall the book was modelled in the English Prayer Book, the Convention having resisted attempts at deletion and revision (McGarvey & Gibson 1907).
Further revisions occurred in 1892 and 1928, in which minor changes were made, removing, for instance, some of Cranmer's Exhortations and introducing such innovations as prayers for the dead.
In 1979, a more substantial revision was made. There were now two rites for the most common services, the first that kept most of the language of 1928, and the second using only contemporary language (some of it newly composed, and some adapted from the older language). Many changes were made in the rubrics and the shapes of the services, which were generally made for both the traditional and contemporary language versions. However, there was arguably a greater degree of continuity than was the case in England, which may account for the fact that all the books of the series, from 1790 to 1979 retain the same title. The 1979 book owes a good deal to the Liturgical Movement and to the 19th century Catholic revival. - Wikipedia