Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Prayer Book

Prayer-Book. The full title of the English Prayer-book shows that, besides furnishing forms of "Common Prayer" (i.e. Morning and Evening Prayer), it is. intended to satisfy the other requirements of public worship and secure the due celebration of the various rites and offices of the Church. It is, in fact, a compilation, the different parts of which fulfil the functions of the Breviary, Missal, Pontifical, and Manual or "Prymer" on which they are severally based. The task of adapting these works of Catholic devotion to the needs of Protestant congregations was undertaken by the English reformers, under the lead of Cranmer, in the last years of Henry VIII.'s reign. The first outcome of their efforts was a translation of the'Litany, revised by Cranmer in 1544. This again appeared in English, together with the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and sundry Canticles and Collects, in the "King's Prymer" of 1545. After the death of Henry VIII. the work of forming an English Prayer-book was carried on with increased energy and zeal. The "Order of Communion" (1548), a temporary production adapted to the administration of the sacraments in both kinds, which was now for the first time enjoined, was speedily followed by the First Prayer-book of Edward VI. (1549), containing all the services of the Church in a revised form. Although the First Prayer-book was received with general favour, the influence of Bucer, Peter Martyr, and other foreigners of Calvinistic views, soon caused a demand for further changes. Reverence for antiquity was wholly absent from the minds of those who drew up the Second Prayerbook of Edward VI. (1552); their sole desire was to approximate as closely as possible to the teaching of Geneva. Most of the differences between the present Prayer-book and that of 1549 are due to alterations made at this period. The point to which a return was made after the accession of Elizabeth was not so far from that of 1552 as might perhaps have been anticipated. At the Hampton Court Conference (1604) a form was adopted which was nearly the same as that now in use. Few changes were made beyond the addition of certain thanksgiving prayers and the latter part of the Catechism. "Laud's Prayer-book," which in some points returned to the First Prayerbook of Edward VI., was introduced into Scotland in 1637, but the attempt to enforce its use led to a revolution. Under the Commonwealth the use of the English Prayer-book, whether in public or private, was made a penal offence. As a result of the Savoy Conference (1661), a discussion between twelve bishops and twelve Presbyterians, some further alterations were made, but they all showed the predominance of the ecclesiastical party. The use of the ravised Prayer-book, which was now reduced tc. the form in which we possess it, was enjoined by the Act of Uniformity in 1662. The "Sealed Books" or printed copies preserved at all cathedrals, in the Law Courts at Westminster, and in the Tower of London, remain the standard for determining the genuine text. The attempt to introduce further modifications in 1689 was opposed by Convocation and fell to the ground.