A few days ago, a second book arrived from the United Kingdom, the 1940 BBC prayer book Each Returning Day.
Four years had passed since the first BBC service book for the broadcast Daily Service, New Every Morning, and with those years the beginning of World War II. The new book was intended to be a supplement, but it served broader needs. The slim preface, written by F. A. Iremonger suggested its usefulness as a resource for private, family and congregational worship, though it was not specifically authorized in Anglican churches. Each days prayers were not meant to be comprehensive, but part of a monthly cycle, following. My own copy seems to have been the property of a Birmingham congregationalist minister, R. R. Osborn, who himself broadcast the Daily Service from time to time. My copy has those little pencil marks that ministers add to make the book more useful, and to keep from repeating prayers.
The tone is more patriotic, but not as much as I would have expected for a wartime supplement. As Dean Iremonger put it: “To pray about nothing but the war and their relatives may lead, in times of loss or distress — as it did frequently in the last war — to a revulsion against all religion; and for these in particular several sets of prayers are included which have no direct connexion with the war, but which may deepen and develop the sense of union with God through prayer.”
Because it’s hard to find here are the thirty daily services. (For months with thirty-one days, “it is suggested that any set of prayers be used which may be of special relevance at the time.”)
- For Faith in God
- For the King and the Royal Family
- For a New World
- For our Children
- For the Unemployed
- For Rulers and Statesman
- For the Grace of Perseverance
- For the Church of Christ
- For the British Empire
- For a Quiet Mind
- For all Workers, especially those engaged in war-work
- For the Forces of the Crown
- For those who Mourn
- For Courage
- For our Enemies
- For the High Court of Parliament
- For the Gift of Sympathy
- For the Spread of Christ’s Kingdom
- For the Spirit of Service
- For those at Sea
- For Peace
- For our Nation
- For the Sick and Wounded
- For the Protection of Almighty God
- For our Homes
- For the Spirit of Sacrifice
- For Chaplains, Doctors, and Nurses
- For Absent Friends
- For the Love of God
- For the Fallen in Battle, and all Departed Souls
Unlike the first book, this one does not have hymn suggestions, the hymns, psalms and a reading from scripture is noted in the Radio Times listing for the service.
Indeed, the form is spare. An opening sentence, a versicle and response, a brief themed call to prayer, a few appropriate collects, and a notion for use of additional prayers and the Grace.
The appendix has those additional prayers, including the hoary Book of Common Prayer’s collect “for all conditions of men” and the General Thanksgiving; these also show up in the Universalist prayer books, and are worthy for use as-is or in modern editions.