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How to Use the Treasury of Daily Prayer for Family Devotions

November 27th, 2008
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The Reverend Doctor Richard Stuckwisch, who contributed so much to the formation of the daily lectionary that is the heart of the Treasury of Daily Prayer, and who was one of the "fathers" of the concepts leading to the development of the Treasury, has some excellent advice on how the Treasury of Daily Prayer may be used for family devotions.

Thank you, Dr. Stuckwisch, for your many helpful contributions to the
Treasury. Your work and efforts are, by God's rich grace and blessing,
now bearing the fruit of a rich harvest of deeper devotion to, and
meditation on, God's Word. Thanks be to God!

Obviously, every family may choose best how much of the daily readings to use for the family, some may find the attempt to read all the lessons to be too much, and others may wish to supplement what is provided in the Treasury with other devotional materials of their choice. The Treasury itself provides a number of options for daily orders of prayer, from the most simple, to the full richness of Matins or Vespers. Dr. Stuckwisch has been blessed with a very large family, so he speaks from rich experience with family devotions.  Here then is Dr. Stuckwisch's advice.

"For those fathers and mothers who desire to use the Treasury of Daily Prayer
with their children, perhaps around the family table following a meal,
here is a simple approach that I and my wife have found useful in
praying with our children. It enables the participation of the whole
family, even the littler children, without difficulty.

Those members of the family who are able to read will typically have their own copies of the Lutheran Service Book
in hand. For their benefit, I indicate ahead of time the Psalm that
we'll be praying together, as well as the hymn of the day, both of
which they bookmark.

We begin with the familiar opening
versicles and responses, and the Gloria Patri, as in Matins and
Vespers: "O Lord, open my lips," etc. Everyone can do this from memory.

Then
we pray together the Psalm of the day, either speaking in unison or
responsively, verse-by-verse; or chanting the Psalm by the same tone we
are using for the season at Emmaus.

I read the appointed
Readings of the day, from the Old Testament and the New Testament, each
followed by the familiar versicle and response, again as in Matins and
Vespers: "O Lord, have mercy upon us," etc.

After the Readings
of Holy Scripture, I then read the "Writing" provided for the day,
which usually comments on one or the other of the Readings. Note that I
am simply following the propers as provided and laid out for each day
in the Treasury for Daily Prayer.

We sing together the Hymnody appointed for the day. Here is where the LSB comes in handy, since we usually sing more of the hymn than the single stanza indicated in the Treasury;
plus, it helps to have the musical notation in front of us. The
children love to sing hymns together, so that is always a high point of
our daily prayer and catechesis.

Following the hymn, we pray in
this manner: Invocation, Apostles' Creed, a three-fold Kyrie, the Our
Father, then the Prayer of the Day as provided in the Treasury of Daily Prayer. At that point, I turn to the "Daily Prayer for the Christian" (TDP,
pages 1306-09) for the general prayer prescribed for the pertinent day
of the week. Those weekly prayers are one of the best and most
beautiful provisions of the book.

If there are special
intercessions to be made for our family, friends or congregation, I
lead the family in those. We conclude with the Morning or Evening
Prayer, then the Benedicamus and Benediction, again as in Matins and
Vespers. We know these basic components by heart, so there is no need
for us to look them up or have them in front of us.

Now, on days when there is a commemoration to observe, I often save mention of that till the end. The Treasury
provides an informational paragraph on each commemoration at the end of
the propers for its day, so it is convenient to read that paragraph at
the conclusion of our family prayers. Sometimes, though, I find it more
useful to read about the commemoration either after the Readings or
after the Hymnody. Typically, the Writing of the day comes from the
commemorated saint, and it is nice to have some awareness of that
before hearing his words. Similarly, the Prayer of the Day usually
incorporates some reference to the commemoration, in which case it is
beneficial to know something about the person so remembered prior to
praying.

As I have said, this simple approach has worked well for our family. It takes advantage of the straightforward way in which the Treasury of Daily Prayer
is arranged and organized. It is not the only way to make good use of
the book, but it is one way to facilitate a family's devotion.

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