“And so I insist—and God backs me up on this—that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd.”Ephesians 4: 17 (The Message)
Welcome to Daily Prayer through St Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians.
This Lent, God is challenging us to think about what it means to be the Church. Twelve months ago, our Lent Daily Prayer was based on the Book of Nehemiah, a book which details a construction project. This year, we are looking at how we can build ourselves and build each other up in faith. How can a diverse group of people remain united in what they are doing? What do each of us need to be doing in order to strengthen the Church? We are looking for answers to these questions in an ancient letter, written from a prison in Rome and sent to a city in Turkey nearly 2000 years ago. In order to give a bit more context, on Saturdays and Sundays the readings will not be from the Book of Ephesians, but from other parts of the New Testament which relate to Ephesus.
Why study the Book of Ephesians?
Christians in Ephesus felt like they were a minority group. The city was a great religious centre, but not for Christians, for in Ephesus was the Temple of Artemis, the goddess of hunting. This huge temple was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and made the city famous and wealthy as people flocked from far and wide both as pilgrims and traders. To be a Christian in Ephesus was to stand against this idolatry – something that would see you ridiculed and persecuted. So how should they live? Paul gives them lots of advice – and much of this remains relevant for us living our lives in 21st Century Britain.
How to use the liturgy.
This set of prayers and readings are primarily for your own personal use – to attempt to seek God on your own every day for 47 days from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. It can also be used in small groups. There will be scheduled “Daily Prayer” times at church each day during Lent for those who wish to pray these prayers together. For those praying on your own, set aside a short time each day to say it – you may wish to light a candle to emphasise the “specialness” of the time. There are 47 days of readings. Liturgy works best when said very slowly and thoughtfully.
- There are four sections to the liturgy which are said every day. (Opening sentences, declaration of faith, canticle and blessing.)
- The “canticle” can be said or sung.
- Each day has its own three Bible readings, one of which is a short section from St Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians. The other two readings are there to pick up on the themes of the day’s Ephesians reading.
- Each day has its own “thought for the day”, a 30 second sermon which brings together some thoughts from the Ephesians passage and challenges us in our lives today. These have been written by 12 different people from St Boniface Church.
- There are 7 daily meditations – one for each day of the week you are praying. These are passages through which God has challenged us as a church in the past.
- Each prayer time begins and ends with the “sign of the cross” prayer. If you wish you can also sign yourself with the cross whilst saying this (touching your forehead, your chest and each shoulder with your right hand).
- There is a time of prayers for self and others. During this time you can bring your own personal prayers to God and also pray for our church, our community and the world.
- There is also a list of local shops and organisations which we can pray for, either systematically or by choosing at random each day.
The daily liturgy can be found HERE