My love for the Prayer Book began in very early childhood, before I could read – when I could only listen to it. Of course, it was the only book used then. Later, when I could read, during long, boring sermons I would read it and specially loved the instructions – for instance, those to priests for giving holy communion in time of pestilence. That conjured up pictures in my childish mind of the priest walking with the sacred vessels through the almost deserted village, almost certainly to become ill himself; or the prayers for when in danger on the sea, knowing that they would have been read by everyone on board, and the ship would almost certainly founder.
There is so much history, romance, and great beauty in it. And the prayers like the General ThanksÂgiving and the prayers after comÂmunÂion are so superb that they meet my need in praying much better than my own words do, and I still use them in private prayer.
I enjoy services in other denomÂinations, like those of the Reformed Church, or going to a Roman Catholic mass with a friend – but what is essential to me is an atmosÂphere of devotion and concentration on God. If there’s a great deal of happy-clappy singing and anÂnounceÂments of birthdays, and so on, I can see that it binds people together, but I don’t personally find it’s useful to me. I want silence, so I can concentrate on God – not just talking to him and giving him a list of my requirements.