I am convinced the hardest thing about any spiritual discipline is beginning. Whether it is prayer, fasting, reading Scripture, etc. it is taking the first step in developing the habit that remains the most difficult.
Lent is a time for taking on a new discipline and starting a family oratory is an activity in which the entire family participates. But where to start, and how? The 1928 Book of Common Prayer’s Family Prayer section provides “A Shorter Form” version of morning and evening prayer that consist of three short prayers.
After regular use of the “Shorter Form,” the family can advance to the full Family Prayer version of morning and evening prayer (which are longer and found just prior to the “Shorter Form.”). Finally, as the family’s children grow in age the full versions of morning and evening prayer can be used, along with incorporating the church catechism and 39 Articles of Religion. Essentially, the beauty of the oratory is gradual catechesis of the family.
Personally, my wife and I have a toddler so the Shorter Form is perfect for us. However, we take the liberty of doing not only the Lord’s Prayer, but also singing the Doxology and reciting the Apostle’s Creed. Within a matter of a couple of weeks our toddler has learned the Doxology and is slowing catching on to the Lord’s Prayer and Apostle’s Creed.
A renewed Anglicanism will require a new generation who understand their faith and are disciplined in the habit of common prayer. The path to such a renewal begins within the home when fathers and mothers turn their house into an altar of prayer.