A Prayer Book for the 21st Century

A Prayer Book for the 21st Century


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For thousands of years men and women found meaning and a deep sense of belonging though faith in God. But today, traditional images of God (as an all-powerful father figure) and much standard prayer and worship language are no longer plausible for many believers. Yet the hunger to know - and communicate with - the Sacred in some form remains strong. In this unique prayer book John McQuiston, bestselling author of Always We Begin Again, provides morning and evening devotions for two weeks, plus complete Morning and Evening Prayer services, along with a Service of Commemoration for Our Union. All use a language for and about God that reflects contemporary understandings of God and God's actions in the universe. This pocket-sized devotional is an excellent resource for individuals and congregations who are seeking to worship in a language that acknowledges today's realities and theology.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780819219749
Publisher: Church Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date: 03/01/2004
Pages: 142
Sales rank: 747,803
Product dimensions: 7.81(w) x 5.06(h) x 0.35(d)

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By John McQuiston II

Church Publishing Incorporated

Copyright © 2004 John McQuiston II
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-8192-1974-9




    We have faith that the whole of reality is God relating to God,
    That we are to God as a wave is to the sea.
    God is the thinker and the thought,
    The force of gravity,
    The wind on the waters,

    The process of change,
    The air we breathe,
    The water we drink,
    The bread we eat.

    God is the nameless origin of names,
    Acting in all that is,
    Evolving and changing,
    Uncreated, Ultimate, Unfathomable,

    From whom all things proceed,
    Of which all things are,
    To which all things return.

    God is the universe that has no edge,
    The morning dew and the center of the sun,
    God between us,
    God beyond us,
    God breathes us.

    Rising, increasing, changing,
    The great miracle and enigma,
    Outside all categories,
    The relationship of all relationships,
    The medium of all communication,
    The cause of love and love itself.
    God in ourselves, our souls and bodies.

    God is the source of time and endless time itself.
    God is the present moment,
    The Now that never ceases to be,
    Infinite in all directions.

    God fills the universe,
    And the kingdom of God is within us.
    If we could conceive all the worlds that exist,
    They would be less than God's kingdom,
    The place of freedom from place,
    The time of freedom from time.

    God is the smile on a loved one's face,
    The gift of friendship,
    The shared laughter that brightens the day,
    Compassion and care offered during tragedy and joy.
    God is the sleeping spirit of Christ present in every heart,
    Ready to rise from the dead in each act of loving-kindness.

    We trust that if we have true humility,
    Which is the courage to abandon self-concern and fear,
    We will experience the joy of self-transcendence,
    And the peace that passes all understanding.

    For the Holy is always with us, if we will awake to it.
    It is the unwavering, constant embrace.
    It is not a state of being.
    It is not a state of mind.
    It is that within which all states come and go.
    For there are no words to describe the Presence,
    It is the words we speak,
    The sky we breathe,
    The world we see,
    The eyes through which we see,
    And the eternal awareness behind our eyes.

    Week One

    Sunday Morning

    The Morning Greeting

    How lovely is this, your dwelling place,
    Mystery of mysteries.
    How I long for awareness of your company.
    How I rejoice when I feel your companionship.
    The sparrow finds his home in you,
    The swallow builds her nest in your branches
    Where she may lay her young in your arms.
    Blessed are those who are aware

    That they dwell in you,
    For they fill their days with peace.
    A minute awake to your presence
    Is better than a thousand days alone.
    Psalm 84

    A Reading from Scripture

    For I am sure that neither death, nor life,
    Nor angels, nor principalities,
    Nor things present, nor things to come,
    Nor powers, nor height, nor depth,
    Nor anything else in all creation,
    Can separate us from the love of God.
    Romans 8:38–39

    A Meditation

    "Your enjoyment of the world is never right,
    Till every morning you awake in Heaven."
    Thomas Traherne

    The Concluding Prayer

    Enveloping spirit,
    We thank you for this priceless day, which will never come again.
    Through it, you offer us
    The opportunity to fill it with compassion and joy.
    Help us to trust in your unfolding grace
    And transcend self-concern,
    So that at this very moment, and throughout this day,
    We may live fearlessly and generate loving-kindness,
    And thereby experience the only true wealth,
    That of life in you.

    Sunday Evening

    The Words of Assurance

    To whom will you liken God?
    What image could you contrive?
    Who could be the equal of the Divine?
    Lift up your eyes and look.
    Who made the stars?
    Isaiah 40

    A Reading from Scripture

    Great is our God above all gods.
    For who is able to comprehend God,
    Since the heaven and heaven of heavens,
    Cannot contain the mystery of our being?
    2 Chronicles 2:5–6

    A Reading

    I came forth from beyond this world,
    And I covered the earth like a mist.
    I had my tent in the heights,
    And my throne in the clouds.
    Over the sea and the earth I searched for rest,
    And looked to see where I might pitch my tent.
    Then I pitched my tent in humankind.
    Now I am like a vine putting out graceful shoots,
    Approach me and take your fill of my fruits.
    They who eat of me will hunger no more,
    Whoever drinks of me will thirst no more.
    From eternity I came,
    And for eternity I will remain.
    Ecclesiasticus 24

    The Concluding Prayer

    Infinite reality,
    Unending in time,
    Unending in every direction,
    You surround us,
    You pervade us.
    Everywhere we look,
    There you are.
    We swim in a sea that is made of you.
    Our every cell is made of you.
    Lift every concern from our hearts,
    For we are filled with your being.
    Give us awareness that always and everywhere,
    We rest in you,
    Now and forever.

    Monday Morning

    The Promise for the Morning

    I will lift the stone from your heart,
    And a new spirit I will put within you.
    Ezekiel 36:26

    Morning Invocation

    Sing a new song,
    Rejoice in our days,
    And dance in praise.
    For the Timeless is present in every moment,
    And takes pleasure in our joy.
    Psalm 149


    Make a joyful noise,
    Serve with gladness,
    Respond with song.
    For Life is holy.
    The Divine Mystery has made us,
    And not we ourselves.
    We are God's people, creatures of the Infinite.
    Live this day with pleasure,
    And be thankful,
    For the embrace of the Eternal
    Endures to all generations.
    Psalm 100

    The Concluding Prayer

    Where I am,
    You are.
    What I feel,
    You feel.
    What I think,
    You think.
    So transparent is my unity with you
    That my eye and your eye
    Are one eye and one seeing
    And one knowing and one loving.
    In awe I confess:
    That what I do,
    You do.
    Assist me this day to be worthy
    Of you.

    Monday Evening

    The Evening Psalm

    The wind is your messenger,
    The clouds are your chariots.
    The earth rests in you,
    And springs gush from your mountains.
    The cedars of Lebanon you planted,
    In them, the birds settle in their nests.
    The wild goats roam your mountains.
    In the rocky crags, badgers hide.
    You made the moon to tell the seasons.
    While you bring darkness on,
    The lions seek their prey.
    The vast expanse of ocean
    Teems with countless life.
    All creatures exist in you.
    What endless variety you are.
    Psalm 104

    The Concluding Prayer

    You unfold this world from another dimension,
    Each moment you bring all of creation into being,
    Again and again we receive your gifts.
    Mystery at the center of all,
    Your universe is a daily miracle.
    Endow us now, at the end of the day
    With the sense of your presence.
    Bestow on us peace as we prepare to rest,
    And bring us into awareness
    That we are part of your timeless kingdom,
    Now and forever.

    Tuesday Morning

    The Morning Greeting

    Omnipresent Consciousness,
    You look out through my eyes
    And the eyes of friends and family.
    You know when I sit
    And when I rise,
    You discern my thoughts.
    You are acquainted with all my ways.
    Before a word is on my tongue,
    You know it.
    You surround me behind and before,
    My hands themselves are yours.
    Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    It is too high,
    I cannot attain it.
    Where shall I go from your spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
    If I ascend into the sky, you are there.
    If I lie in the grave, you are there.
    If I take the wings of the morning
    Or dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
    Even there you shall lead me.
    If I say, "Let darkness cover me,
    Let the light be night,"
    The darkness is not dark to you,
    The night is as bright as the day.
    For you knit me together in my mother's womb,
    Fearful and wonderful is your nature.
    You formed the days for me,
    When there were no days.
    Psalm 139

    The Concluding Prayer

    Eternal Progression,
    You, who express me at this instant,
    Open my heart during this day.
    Help me to be continuously thankful,
    And to share your love with all I touch this day.
    For I seek to fully trust in your grace.
    Therefore, without reservation, as this day begins,
    I let go of the cares of the world,
    And gratefully and joyfully accept
    The overwhelming gift of being.

    Tuesday Evening

    The Words of Assurance for Evening

    The Never-ending is my light and my salvation:
    Whom shall I fear?
    The Eternal within me is the strength of my life:
    Of whom shall I be afraid?
    Though a host should encamp against me,
    My heart shall not tremble.
    Though war should rise up in opposition to me,
    In the embrace of the Unlimited will I be confident.
    When my father and mother forsake me,
    The Source of all will fill me up.
    In the midst of my enemies, the Comforter shall envelope me.
    I will be of good courage because the Infinite is in me.
    Psalm 27

    The Concluding Prayer

    Incomprehensible Mystery,
    Here in this instant and always,
    Deep within our being,
    From the dust of stars
    You brought us into existence,
    And provided this day.
    From the moment of birth,
    You have sheltered us from death.
    As night falls,
    Help us, in your grace,
    To be thankful,
    And to make our lives worthy of your gifts.

    Wednesday Morning

    The Promise

    Fear not, for I am with thee.
    Isaiah 43:5

    A Morning Canticle

    Before the oldest of my works,
    From the timeless I was.
    Before the earth came into being,
    Before the mountains were settled,
    Before the beginning,
    I was there.
    There were no springs to gush forth,
    Yet I was there.
    There were no mountains,
    Yet I was there.
    My delight is in you day after day,
    And through you I am at play.
    I delight in the children of all people.
    Happy are those who keep my ways,
    For those who find me find life.
    Proverbs 8

    A Meditation

    In life we are in grace.
    In every moment and in every place
    We live suspended in the web of Divinity of which we are made,
    Therefore, we leave our fears and concerns behind,
    And place our complete trust in the Infinite.
    We rest in the never-ending embrace.
    We merge our spirits with your spirit
    And with one another in the mystical delight in our world.
    We call forth from within ourselves the spirit of the Christ
    Of forgiveness and unconditional compassion,
    We offer Christ's kindness to one another.

    The Concluding Prayer

    Inexhaustible Unity,
    Your origin is our origin,
    We are an outpouring of your grace.
    Therefore, as we begin this day,
    We place our complete trust in you.
    Help us to merge our spirits with your spirit,
    To live as you live,
    Without the need for justification,
    To live life as an end and not a means,
    And to find within ourselves
    Christ's empathy, resurrected and incarnate,
    In this place and time.
    So that today, unreservedly,
    We may offer care and compassion
    To every person with whom we come in contact.

    Wednesday Evening

    The Words of Assurance

    Jesus said:
    The kingdom of God is not found by observation:
    We cannot say, look here! Or look there!
    For the kingdom of God is within you.
    Luke 17:20–21

    A Meditation

    Limitless center of our being,
    You are our refuge and strength,
    Therefore we will not fear.
    Though the earth be moved,
    Though the mountains are carried into the sea.
    You are the river in which every stream is joined,
    The beyond in our midst
    From which we can never be parted.
    People rage, kingdoms are destroyed,
    But when we open ourselves to you, all that is earthly melts away.
    Then our conflicts shall cease, and our weapons will be broken.


Excerpted from A PRAYER BOOK by John McQuiston II. Copyright © 2004 by John McQuiston II. Excerpted by permission of Church Publishing Incorporated.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents



Foreword by Marcus Borg          


An Expression of Faith          

A Cycle of Daily Offices: Week One          

A Cycle of Daily Offices: Week Two          

A Service of Morning Prayer          

A Service of Evening Prayer          

A Memorial Service in Thanksgiving for the Life of One Departed          

A Service of Commemoration for Our Union          



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