02 November 2008

Treasury of Daily Prayer

The book is outstanding and beautifully done. An incredible amount of work went into collecting and assembling the materials that make this Treasury a genuine treasure of the Word of God. The selection of Psalms and hymns and writings, as well as the careful crafting and collating of collects, all assigned to serve and support the readings of Holy Scripture appointed to each day, is really nothing short of astounding. The loving care with which this was put together in a book to be proud of is evident from cover to cover. Heartfelt thanks to CPH, to the editor and his crew, for so faithfully serving the Church with this new prayer book.

The seven things I like best about the Treasure of Daily Prayer are:

(1.) It is simple and straightforward to use within the home and family.

(2.) The material appointed for each day is manageable and self-contained in the same place within the book.

(3.) The full scope of Holy Scripture is covered in the course of the year.

(4.) The seasonal contours of the Church Year are followed and respected.

(5.) The sanctoral cycle is fully represented and richly supported.

(6.) The Psalmody, hymnody, writing and collect for each day work together in harmony with the Scripture readings, so that devotion is directed by that Word of God as the foundation.

(7.) The Lenten catecheses on the six chief parts.

It is my hope and prayer that families, in particular, will each purchase a copy (or copies) of the Treasury, and will not only own it but use it on a regular basis within the home. In this, the Name of the Lord will be glorified, His Gospel will have free course among us, faith will be strengthened and increased, and the sweet incense of prayer will ascend to the Father in Christ.


Paul McCain said...

Here is a nice summary of the Treasury of Daily Prayer as provided on the Facebook discussion group devoted to it:

Concordia Publishing House's Treasury of Daily Prayer is a comprehensive all-in-one Lutheran resource for intentional daily devotions. The chief benefit of this resource is that everything for daily prayer and meditation on God’s Word is available in a single book, with all the "propers" for each day provided together in the same place in the book.

The heart of Treasury of Daily Prayer is the Daily Lectionary developed for Lutheran Service Book. Each day’s section will contain: (1) the full text of the two Scripture readings. Using this plan nearly all of the New Testament, and about a third of the Old Testament, is read each year. (2) Psalmody and (3) Hymnody that captures the content, subject or theme of the appointed readings. (4) A devotional writing from a church father or the Lutheran Confessions; (5) on the days where a feast, festival, or commemoration falls, a brief biography of the person (or event) being commemorated is included. (6) Finally, a brief prayer that collects the thoughts and themes that are seen in the day, especially the New Testament Reading.

Treasury of Daily Prayer is designed to be equally useful for individuals, families, and small groups with the inclusion of the four brief orders of Daily Prayer for Families and Individuals. In addition, for those who choose to use them, the orders for prayer from Lutheran Service Book are included in the center of the volume.

In addition to the Daily Readings and Writing and the Orders of Daily Prayer, the book contains a section of daily and occasional prayers, the Litany, the common canticles of the Church, Luther’s Small Catechism, all 150 Psalms, and several other resources for daily prayer an piety.

William Weedon said...

What I find fascinating is that you and I like it for totally different reasons! I like it for providing a complete breviary (to which the services were not at all incidental but absolutely necessary). I'm happy it can be used in a simpler way, but that doesn't interest me much at all. I'm interested in using it for encouraging the disciplined praying of the Office. To basically make Weedon and Stuckwisch happy for covering two distinctly different bases and doing so in the same volume - I'd say it's a miracle! :)

Paul McCain said...

"Miracles never cease" and "With God, nothing is impossible."

: )

Now, if there was something we could do that would make it so that everyone, every day, prayed as they ought or should or could....there you would really have a best-seller.

But because we do not, we continue to say, "Lord, teach us to pray."

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

Dear Brother Weedon, it is a marvelous thing, indeed, that the Treasury of Daily Prayer is able to serve such diverse uses. That is a credit to the editor.

I really am delighted that you and others are able to use the book as a breviary in praying the daily offices; I'm just not sure what you mean by that, exactly. I know what the offices are, of course. But how does the TDP work for that purpose? I find it hard to imagine that you have copies on hand for an entire congregation; nor does it seem necessary, when, presumably, you have the LSB available for the use of any and all who may be in attendance. The Psalter is a problem in that regard, I realize, since almost a third of it is missing in the LSB. So perhaps that is the main point. But are you repeating the same readings at Matins and Vespers each day? Or using one in the morning and the other at night? When do you read the writing, since it usually picks up on one or the other reading, but typically won't tie into both?

I'm not sure what you mean when you say that using the TDP in a simpler way does not interest you at all. Perhaps you have a means already in place for encouraging your members to pray daily in their homes and families. In my opinion, as you know, this is one of the most important things that ought to be happening, and I don't think the Church has done such a good job in helping to make it so. That is why I am so pleased by the form the TDP has taken; because I believe it really can make a difference in this way.

As far as the daily offices are concerned, I think it is meet, right and salutary for pastors and their parishes to be praying these regularly, every day if possible. However, it is always going to be a privileged few who are able to attend and participate. That has always been the case, from the early church to the present day. For most members, attempting to be on hand for daily prayer, even once each day, would be burdensome and would likely conflict with their primary stations in life. Yet, the faithful should still be encouraged to pray the Word of God each and every day; and parents (fathers especially) have a duty to be praying with their children as a primary means of catechesis. That can be a difficult and daunting task, frankly, for many fathers and mothers, and there simply haven't been great resources for supporting them in it. Simple devotional resources lack the substance and integrity that ought to characterize daily catechesis and prayer; whereas other prayer books are too complex and too demanding for families to follow and use with confidence.

That fathers should be teaching their households to pray (by praying with them) is firmly a part of our Lutheran confession of the Christian faith and life. But we have not done as well facilitating the practice of daily prayer in the home as we have done in other areas. The Treasury of Daily Prayer could be a major step in the right direction. So, while I do rejoice that you (and others) are able to employ it for daily offices in and with your congregation(s), I remain very interested in the promise it holds for the daily prayer of Christian families in their own homes. And I give thanks for the "miracle" that enables the TDP to do both.

William Weedon said...

Dear Brother,

The simple way to use it for the Offices (either prayed privately or in small groups) is laid out quite nicely in one of the introductions. Psalms divided through the month; OT for Matins; NT for Vespers; A brief glance through the Writing indicates whether it should be read at Matins or Vespers; at the end of the Office, on a commemoration, feast, or festival, that section can be read at Matins and the Collect for the day right afterward (quite like in BPB).

Yes, I too have been encouraging folks to purchase the TDP on the grounds that it can be used in families or for private devotions (we've been publishing the lectionary for years in our bulletins); but I also have several folks who DO pray the Office and were specifically looking forward to TDP facilitating that - which is truly does.


Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

Well, okay, that's simple enough, and again, I'm glad it works well for the daily office. We've been using the daily lectionary (with the commemorations, too) at our weekly Vespers and Evening Prayer (on Mondays and Wednesdays) for several years now. The writing and the collect of the day make nice additions to that usage, as well.

What I still don't understand -- and it's not a problem; I just don't understand -- is why it's necessary to have the orders of Matins and Vespers, etc., in the Treasury of Daily Prayer. How is that any simpler than using the LSB? Most of the people who are praying Matins or Vespers together don't need to have the propers of the day in front of them, other than the Psalm and the hymn (which are also found in the LSB, albeit except for a third of the Psalms). So, if the officiant has a copy of the TDP, and he and everyone else has a copy of the LSB, doesn't that serve the purpose nicely? Or am I missing something that should be obvious to me?

I'm not trying to be difficult, my friend. I'm simply trying to get a sense of how this works for you. I admire the fact that you've been able to regularize the daily office in your parish. That is something I would love to do, but I honestly don't know how I would pull it off. At Emmaus we pray Vespers on Monday nights and Evening Prayer on Wednesday nights, as I've said. We typically have a few dozen folks at each of those offices, which is wonderful, but we'd never be able to sustain that over the entire week, every day. That is why I have focused on encouraging the families of my parish to pray together in their homes. I've been putting together my own version of Brother Bender's "Congregation at Prayer" since 2004, and that has worked pretty well. Many of the members make use of that, to some degree or another.

Ah, well, I appreciate your responses, as your time permits. But thanks already for your input, and for your faithful example.

Paul McCain said...

Rick, if I may, I remain puzzled at your puzzlement.

The Treasury of Daily Prayer, as the introductory material makes clear, is specifically designed for use by individuals, alone, by themselves, as they pray daily, even as it may easily be used in the home, among families. It is not an "either/or" situation.

While I recognize the Commission on Worship's, or perhaps some members of the CoW's vision for a book for daily prayer was that it be for the family, the vision, scope and intent of Treasury of Daily Prayer expands upon the CoW's original concepts, greatly improves upon them, adds to them and has now provided a book more useful, to more people, in more situations and contexts: "individuals, families and small groups."

Can you help me better understand the puzzlement here?

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

Well, Paul, I guess I don't understand your question. You keep telling me that the TDP, as published by CPH, is intended for a variety of situations -- and I continue to acknowledge that, and to express my appreciation for that. Where have I argued? I've only stated, on the one hand, that I am personally most grateful for the benefits it provides to the home and family. Am I not entitled to that sense of gratitude? Can I not simply rejoice in that advantage it provides?

As for my puzzlement, on the other hand, I am only asking why it seems such a helpful thing -- as it clearly does, not only to you but to Pastor Weedon and to other dear friends and colleauges -- but I am asking why it seems so helpful to have the orders of Matins and Vespers, etc., in the TDP. I don't see the advantage there, because I don't see how it actually serves or benefits that "small group" practice. Other than the officiant, everyone else who may be participating would have all they need ready at hand in the LSB (except for a third of the Psalms; that is one advantage I see in the TDP, but that doesn't pertain to the orders of Matins and Vespers). It isn't necessary for every participant to have all the propers in hand; nor does it seem as feasible or likely, to me, that all the participants could afford to own their own copy of the TDP, as compared to the LSB. So, how is it particularly helpful to the praying of the offices to have the orders of those offices in the TDP? I'm not questioning the usage, I'm inquiring as to the benefit of having the offices in the book. Unless, instead of a small gathering of the congregation, your talking about a single person, or a couple of persons, who actually sing through Matins or Vespers together in a place where the LSBs aren't available. That I can understand, but that strikes me as a privileged few indeed.

Incidentally, I am not aware that the Commission on Worship (per se) ever had anything to do with developing the idea of a prayer book; except to lend its official authority to the work of the Lectionary Committee on the Lutheran Hymnal Project. To my knowledge, the only thing the Commission on Worship ever did with that idea was to shelve it, and then, thankfully, to give it away to CPH.

Since it seems important to you, let me acknowledge again that, yes indeed, CPH has outdone itself, and has certainly outdone the Lectionary Committee, in exceeding every expectation and providing a most excellent prayer book, the likes of which none of us could ever have hoped or dreamed.

William Weedon said...

I think I see where the confusion is coming in: I do pray Matins and Vespers daily - often in the Church, but sometimes at home - and usually I am the only one there (well, the only visible one!). It is enormously handy to have everything in one book and not to have to juggle books; it eases concentration on "where" and focuses it on prayer. It's a great resource that way - and having the orders right in the book, I turn to them and use them. Yes, they are long since memorized, but I find it helpful to read aloud the words from the page itself. Does that make more sense? When I think of "two books" I always remember the rather wretched experience of worshipping with the Episcopalians - I could never get used to that!

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

Thanks, Brother Weedon. That answers my question very well. I was not picturing an individual praying Matins and Vespers by himself; I can see where having everything in the same book would be quite useful to that purpose.

So, there you go. Mystery solved, and miracle intact. Very cool.

Paul McCain said...

Rick, ok, mystery solved. I was not aware you were unaware that Treasury encourages folks to use Matins and Vespers as their personal order of prayer during the day, individually, alone, since the vast majority of our folks are not able to gather in congregations to pray the daily offices.

Now I get it.

Cool, indeed.

Monkey Laughs said...

I am really anxious to see this book now! Are you planning to use it as a replacement for Daily Catechesis On the Way, or a supplement to it (or vice-versa). From the sounds of it, the book essentially provides everything that you have been printing out from week to week. That would be very cool!

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

Hey, Zach, nice to hear from you.

I've not decided, yet, the way in which the Treasury will coordinate with the Daily Catechesis on the Way. I'm not going to stop doing the Daily Catechesis, but you're right, there are similarities and some overlap between it and the new TDP. On days when Mom prays Daily Catechesis with the younger children as part of the school schedule, I'll probably just use the Treasury for prayer following supper. On the weekends, I'm thinking I'll combine aspects of the Daily Catechesis with the materials in the Treasury. At Emmaus, we'll continue to use the Daily Catechesis at Vespers and Evening Prayer.

The main difference is that Daily Catechesis emphasizes particular texts throughout the week, rooted in the Sunday propers. So there is a Psalm of the week, a Verse of the week, a portion of the Catechism, a hymn of the week, a collect of the week, and special petitions pertaining to our own congregation and extended families. Then there's also the information looking forward to the coming Sunday, including the hymns that will be sung in the Divine Service and synopses of the three appointed Readings. All of these weekly materials contribute to the catechetical culture of the congregation, and I would not want to give that up. There's simply no way that all of that could be included in a published book.

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

Here is what the general editor, Rev. Scot Kinnaman, wrote in the Introduction to the Treasury of Daily Prayer:

"Some users of this Treasury will be blessed by association with a congregation that prays daily the offices of Matins or Vespers, or both. The majority of users will be using the book in small groups, in families, or individually. While some certainly will enjoy using orders such as Matins and Vespers in these smaller settings, or even individually, for others it may not be comfortable or practical. Therefore we have also included the briefer devotions of Daily Prayer for Individuals and Families" (TDP, xi).

And here is what I said in the Preface, which the editor asked me to write for the Treasury:

"The goal and purpose of this book is that ordinary, everday Christians are encouraged and assisted in the daily exercise of their faith, firmly grounded in God's Word and expressed in prayer" (TDP, xxi).

Perhaps that description should have been amended or corrected, with respect to the "goal and purpose" of the book. It does, however, describe precisely the intention with which the daily lectionary was formed from the ground up. In fact, the character, arrangement and approach of the daily lectionary cannot be understood apart from the fact that it was developed for the "goal and purpose" of putting together a prayer book for the home and family. Happily, that intention was preserved intact, while miraculously accommodating several other goals and purposes, as well, including the personal praying of Matins and Vespers and the corporate prayer of the parish.

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

If I were going to add an eighth "favorite thing" about the TDP, it would be those gorgeous daily prayers for the Christian, for each day of the week, on pages 1306-1309. Those are magnificent.