The Book of Common Prayer
The Anglican Regula


How do Anglicans most characteristically do theology? They do it liturgically, and The Book of Common Prayer is our Summa Theologica.... We are dyed‑in‑the‑wool liturgical theologians. We say, if you cannot dramatize your theology in liturgy for living...then forget it! Since 1549 and through all of our checkered history, as Anglicanism has matured and reached the ends of the earth, the dearly beloved BCP has been our manual of devotion and our missionary handbook....


Yes, if you really want to catch Anglicanism in the very act of doing theology, go to one of their worship services, bringing all your wits and senses with you.

from "How an Anglican does Theology" in Lutheran Episcopal Dialogue




The vital principle, tragically missed by both modern liturgists and their critics, is that, like the [Benedictine] Regula, the Book of Common Prayer is not a list of Church services but an ascetical system for Christian living in all of its minutiae.


To the 17th‑ or indeed 19th‑ century layman the Prayer Book was not a shiny volume to be borrowed from a church shelf on entering and carefully replaced on leaving. It was a beloved and battered personal possession, a life‑long companion and guide, to be carried from church to kitchen, to parlor, to bedside table; equally adaptable for liturgy, personal devotion, and family prayer: the symbol of a domestic spirituality‑-full homely divinitie.

from "The Anglican Spiritual Tradition" by Martin Thornton

in The Anglican Tradition, Richard Holloway, ed., 1984




"There is none like unto it," said David of old when he asked, "give me the sword of Goliath of Gath;" and even so the Churchman, with a natural enthusiasm, declares as he handles his Book of Common Prayer. It is the pride and glory of the Anglican Church, enriched with a thousand associations and entwined with the remembrances of our own individual experiences. In its words we are baptized into the Kingdom of Grace; according to its forms holy hands are laid upon us; with its ritual we receive the consecrated elements, "the Body and Blood" of our Redeemer; with its formula we are united to the wife of our heart; with its benediction our bodies are committed to the dust! It is the companion of our devotions and the guide of our faith, and speaks in words of unfaltering trust and confidence. 'Plant', it has been well said, 'a Prayer Book, and a Churchman will grow up.'

from Our Prayer Book, 1890