The Book of Common Prayer
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    The Anglican Service Book


Concerning the Psalter

    The Psalter used in this book is that of the American Book of Common Prayer 1928. A version of the Psalter in the Great Bible of 1539, itself an adaptation of Miles Coverdale's translation of 1535, it is essentially the same translation used in Anglican Churches around the world.
    The Psalter was the prayer book of the old Israel. As such our Lord used it for his own prayer. He did this most dramatically when he was on the cross, and began to pray Psalm 22: "My God, my God ... why hast thou forsaken me?". For this reason, if for no other, the Psalter is the first prayer book of the Church.
    There are many ways of praying the psalms. Most importantly they are hymnody: they are meant to be sung. Jews, and Christians throughout most of their history, considered the psalms, like all of Scripture, too important to be prayed in an ordinary speaking voice. It is one of the blessings of liturgical renewal that more and more parishes have begun to learn and practice the singing of psalms. The psalms may be sung or said antiphonally by verse, responsorially with the cantor or lector reciting the verses, responsively between minister and people, or in unison. The early Church added the Trinitarian doxology "Glory be to the Father ... " to place the psalms in the context of Christian prayer.
    The Psalms satisfy a great variety of prayer needs. There is considerable benefit to praying the psalms through in course (e.g. Morning Prayer, Day One ... ); thereby touching upon all of the human condition. Specific psalms may be memorized until they become a permanent part of one's prayer life and a support of the architecture of the soul. Psalm 63 is a traditional morning prayer; Psalm 141 for the evening. The Penitential Psalms are 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, and 143. Psalms 43, 84, 122, and 130 are appropriate before receiving Holy Communion. Some people find Psalm 68 an excellent way to pray through anger.



The 1928 Psalter  


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