The following is an excerpt from the Anglican Church in North America’s catechism, To Be a Christian: An Anglican Catechism (Crossway, 2020), pp. 81–87.
You can download a PDF of the entire catechism here.
A Rule of Prayer: Scripture, Prayer, and Worship
224. What is a “rule” of prayer?
A rule of prayer is a regular discipline by which I cultivate a life of prayer and grow to love and glorify God more fully. (Psalms 5:1–3; 119:164; Daniel 6:6–13; Mark 1:35–39; Luke 5:12–16; Ephesians 6:10–20)
225. What can hinder your regular prayers?
My prayers may be hindered by many things, such as lethargy or loss, selfishness or sin, distractions or difficulties, or seasons of spiritual dryness. With God’s help, a rule of prayer strengthens me to overcome all these. (1 Kings 19:1–18; Psalm 116; Matthew 26:36–46; Luke 20:45–47; Romans 8:22–27)
226. What nurtures a fruitful life of prayer?
My life of prayer is fed by the regular reading of Scripture, practice of personal prayer, and corporate worship of God. The ancient threefold rule of the Church encourages weekly Communion, the Daily Office, and private devotions to shape this way of life. (Psalm 1; John 15:1–17; Ephesians 5:15–20; Philippians 4:8–9; Hebrews 10:19–25)
227. How should the Holy Scriptures shape your daily life?
I should “hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them” that by the sustaining power of God’s Word, I may grow in grace and hold fast to the hope given to me in Jesus Christ. (Collect for the Second Sunday of Advent, Book of Common Prayer 2019; see also Deuteronomy 6:4–9; Psalm 119:1–48; Luke 2:39–52; James 1:18–27; 2 Peter 3:18)
228. How should you “hear” the Bible?
I should hear the Bible through regular participation in the Church’s worship, in which I join in reciting Scripture, hear it read and prayed, and listen to its truth proclaimed. (Nehemiah 8:1–8, 18; Psalm 81; Luke 4:16–30; 1 Timothy 4:6–16; Revelation 1:1–3)
229. How should you “read” the Bible?
I should read the Bible daily, following the Church’s set readings (lectionaries) or following a pattern of my own choosing. (Deuteronomy 17:18–20; Psalm 119:97–112; Acts 8:26–40)
230. How should you “mark” passages of Scripture?
I should study the Bible attentively, noting key verses and themes, as well as connections between passages in the Old and New Testaments. I should study on my own and with other Christians, using trustworthy commentaries and other resources to grasp the full meaning of God’s Word. (Psalm 119:129–44; Luke 24:44–49; Acts 17:1–15)
231. How should you “learn” the Bible?
I should seek to know the whole sweep of Scripture and to memorize key passages for my own spiritual growth and for sharing with others. (Psalm 119:9–16; 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:10–17)
232. How should you “inwardly digest” Scripture?
I should meditate on Scripture and let it shape my thoughts and prayers. As I absorb Scripture, it deepens my knowledge of God, becomes the lens through which I understand my life and the world around me, and guides my attitudes and actions. (Joshua 1:1–9; Psalms 1:2; 119:1–8, 113–28; John 15:1–11; Colossians 3:16–17)
233. Are there different ways to pray?
Yes. Prayer can be private or public, liturgical or extemporaneous, spoken or silent. (1 Samuel 1:1–20; 1 Kings 8:22–61; Psalm 142; Matthew 11:25–28; Mark 1:35–39; Luke 6:12–16; Hebrews 5:7–10)
234. What types of prayer are in the Lord’s Prayer?
The Lord’s Prayer includes praise, petition, intercession, and confession to God. (Matthew 6:9–13; Luke 11:2–4)
235. What is praise?
In praise, I glorify and adore God for his holiness, his sovereign rule over all, and his salvation given in Jesus Christ. (Exodus 15:1–21; Psalm 111; Luke 1:39–56; Ephesians 1:3–14)
236. What is petition?
In petition, I make requests to God on my own behalf for his provision and protection. (1 Samuel 1; 2 Kings 20:1–7; Psalm 86; John 17:1–5; 2 Corinthians 12:1–10; Philippians 4:6–7)
237. What is intercession?
In intercession, I make requests to God on behalf of others, the Church, and the world. (Exodus 32:1–14; Psalm 20; John 17:6–26; Ephesians 3:14–21; 6:18–20)
238. What is confession?
In confession, I acknowledge my sins in repentance before God and receive his forgiveness. (Nehemiah 1:4–11; Psalm 51; Jeremiah 36:1–3; Luke 23:39–43; Acts 2:14–41; 2 Corinthians 7:2–12; 1 John 1:9)
239. What types of prayer are not included in the Lord’s Prayer?
Other types of prayer are thanksgiving, by which I give thanks to God for his providential goodness and answers to my prayers; and oblation, by which I offer to him all that I am and all that I do. (2 Samuel 22; Psalm 63; Luke 1:38; 22:39–44; Romans 12:1; Hebrews 10:1–25; 13:15–16)
240. With what attitude should you pray?
I should pray with humility, love, and a ready openness to hear and do God’s will. (2 Chronicles 7:13–15; Psalms 31; 46:10–11; Luke 18:9–14; Philippians 4:4–7)
241. What prayers should you learn as a part of your rule of prayer?
After learning the Lord’s Prayer, I should next aim to learn certain psalms (such as Psalms 23; 51; 95; 100; 150) and prayers from the Daily Office. These prayers will ground me in the Christian tradition of prayer and teach me how to pray in my own words.
242. What should you remember when prayers seem to go unanswered?
I should be certain that God always hears my prayers and answers them by his wisdom, in his own time and manner, for my good, and for his glory. (Psalm 37:3–9; Isaiah 55; Habakkuk 3:17–19; Luke 18:1–8; James 4:2–3; 1 John 5:14–15)
243. How should you pray in times of suffering?
I should pray trusting in the sufficiency of God’s grace and in joyful assurance that “suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame.” (Romans 5:3–5; see also Job 23; Psalm 22; John 12:23–26; 2 Corinthians 1:3–5; 1 Peter 4:12–19)
244. What is liturgy?
Liturgy is an established pattern or form for the worship of God by God’s people. The liturgy leads us in the remembrance of God’s mighty acts and unites us in grateful response. (Exodus 15:1–21; Psalm 118; Luke 22:14–20; 1 Corinthians 11:23–26)
245. Why do Anglicans worship with a structured liturgy?
Anglicans worship with a structured liturgy because it embodies biblical patterns of worship, fosters reverence and love for God, deepens faith in Jesus Christ, and is in continuity with the practices of Israel and the Early Church. (Numbers 6:22–27; Deuteronomy 12:8–14; Psalm 96; Acts 2:42–47; Revelation 15; Didache 8–10)
246. Does structured liturgy inhibit sincere and vibrant worship?
No. A structured liturgy provides sincere worshipers biblical language and forms that train our hearts for worship. Liturgy enables us to worship God joyfully and with one voice. (2 Samuel 6:1–4; 2 Chronicles 29; Psalm 68:24–33; 1 Corinthians 14:26–33, 39–40; Revelation 7:9–8:5)
247. What is the role of Scripture in the Prayer Book?
The Book of Common Prayer is saturated with the Scriptures, organizing and orchestrating them for worship. It helps us to pray together in words God himself has given us, with order, beauty, joy, deep devotion, and great dignity. (Exodus 34:5–8; 1 Chronicles 29:10–13; Psalms 96:9; 118; Matthew 21:1–11; Revelation 7:9–12)
248. How does the Book of Common Prayer organize corporate worship?
The Prayer Book orders our daily, weekly, and seasonal prayer and worship. It also provides liturgies for significant events of life. (Leviticus 23:1–24:9; Psalm 90; John 2:1–12; 1 Corinthians 15:1–11)
249. What is the Daily Office?
The Daily Office includes the services of Morning and Evening Prayer. In them we confess our sins and receive absolution, hear God’s Word and praise him with psalms, and offer the Church’s thanksgivings and prayers. (Psalms 5; 63; Daniel 6:10; Mark 1:35)
250. How is the Daily Office observed?
The Daily Office is primarily designed for corporate prayer. It may also be used by individuals or families, in public or in private, in whole or in part. (Psalm 22:22–27; Acts 10:9–16; Hebrews 10:24–25; Revelation 7:9–12)
251. Why do we pray the Daily Office?
We pray the Daily Office because, by it, we learn the Scriptures, join with the Church in prayer, mark our days with praise to God, and sanctify our time. (Joshua 1:6–9; Psalms 92; 119:97; Acts 10:1–8; 1 Timothy 2:1–7)
Toward a Rule of Life
252. What is a rule of life?
A rule of life is a discipline by which I order my worship, work, and leisure as a pleasing sacrifice to God. (Deuteronomy 6:1–9; Psalm 103; John 15:1–15; Romans 12:1–2; Colossians 3:12–17)
253. Why do you need a rule of life?
I need a rule of life because my fallen nature is disordered, distracted, and self-centered. A rule of life helps me to resist sin and establish godly habits, through which the Holy Spirit will increasingly conform me to the image of Christ. (Psalms 73; 86:11–13; Proverbs 3; 1 Corinthians 9:23–27; Colossians 3:1–4; 1 Peter 1:13–19)
254. What is included in a rule of life?
In addition to Scripture, prayer, and worship, a rule of life includes witness, service, self-denial, and faithful stewardship of my time, money, and possessions. (Deuteronomy 5:28–33; Psalm 141; Matthew 5:13–16; 6:19–24; Mark 8:27–38; 1 Peter 4:10–11)
255. Why is prayer an essential part of a rule of life?
Through prayer, I rely upon God for strength, wisdom, and humility to sustain and guide me in my rule of life. Without the love of God and the power of his Spirit, I will not attain to the fullness of Christ. (Job 28:12–28; Psalm 143; Romans 8:26–30)