Design Your Own Mormon Liturgy — Lord’s Prayer and the Magnificat

My wife and I have off and on been following the daily prayers and readings of The Benedictine Handbook, which has a two week long rotation of Psalms, scripture readings, and prayers to recite every morning and every night. We have greatly enjoyed this practice, and it seems to suit our spiritual needs better (we’re just not good at the whole uniquely individualistic American Protestant thing) and so we want to continue it, but with a bit more of a Mormon feel.

So I’ve set out to write my own Mormon liturgy that we could follow, and could use some of the advice and input all y’all might have.

Two of the most striking and famous aspects about Catholic liturgy is the Lord’s Prayer and the Magnificat (also known as the Canticle of the Blessed Virgin Mary). Both are scriptural recitations (Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 1:46-55 respectively), the first a template prayer offered by the Savior in the Gospels, and the other a prayer offered by Mary upon learning of the Incarnation of Jesus. Both are beautiful and rich in spiritual meaning. In the Benedictine tradition, the Lord’s Prayer is recited at every session, both morning and night, and each day’s ending is punctuated at the end with a recitation of the beautiful Magnificat. Over the months, my wife and I have gotten to know and love these two beautiful passages of scripture.

Which got me thinking — when writing a Mormon liturgy, would I use the Lord’s Prayer and the Magnificat? Or are there more “Mormon” versions of such passages? In the Mormon tradition, the Lord’s Prayer is repeated in the Book of Mormon (with some interesting changes), but rarely ever talked about or recited. In fact, when looking up where the Lord’s Prayer might be in the LDS Bible Dictionary entry for “Prayer,” the Lord’s Prayer is not even mentioned, let alone the scripture reference given. It’s often seen as a trapping of the “old Christianity” that we departed from; I’ve even heard (sadly) some Mormons talk about its recitation as a false tradition. Meanwhile, we believe in the Virgin Mary, and she’s one of the few women ever named by name in the Book of Mormon, yet our devotion to the Blessed Mother is quite pitiful compared to both our Catholic and Protestant siblings.

What call would you make when writing a Mormon liturgy? Would you keep the Lord’s Prayer and the Magnificat, paying homage to these two great passages of scripture, or would you choose a more “Mormon-y” scripture to replace them, to keep in stride with our tradition of modern revelation and pouring new wine into new skins?

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6 Comments

Filed under life stories, religion, wordsmithing

6 responses to “Design Your Own Mormon Liturgy — Lord’s Prayer and the Magnificat

  1. Cory

    The only Mormon liturgy I can think about set forth in the BOM is the blessings for the sacrament. I personally enjoy the Lord’s Prayer (but I am a bit biased). I was raised using a few different old school child’s prayers before meals and before bedtime. I enjoyed them because they were comfortable and gave me a guide for how to pray. Let me know if you come up with anything good 🙂

    • Ted

      I agree with your sentiment of the Lord’s Prayer. I think it’s quite a pity we don’t incorporate it more often into our Mormon discourse and culture.

  2. dteeps

    If we are talking about liturgy as something that we recite often, I think the Family Proclamation would be considered Mormon liturgy. It is certainly recited and quoted often enough.

    • Ted

      It’s true. Though we don’t really recite it in any kind of official, liturgical way. Cory is pretty correct where the Sacrament prayers (and some of the priesthood ordinance prayers, like baptism, the endowment, and sealings) are the only real liturgy we have, which is kind of sad, in my opinion.

  3. Chelle

    I think you should look at it with a different perspective. I recall reciting the atricles of faith OFTEN as a kid to memorize them, and the Credo in the Catholic mass is almost exactly the same as the first and fourth articles of faith. The word “liturgy” means the TEXT of what is said or sung at church. It is not any ordinances. So, in essence, ALL the hymns and scriptures, conference talks etc., can all be considered liturgy.
    We also recited the young woman’s theme EVERY Sunday. My former stake president also had all the preisthood recite Doctrine and Covenants 121 every time they met for a priesthood meeting. None of these are prayers, or ordinances. And the point of not reciting a prayer is because you are supposed to speak from your heart. That develops and deepens the personal relationship with your Heavenly Father, more than any written prayer. And my father had his entire family memorize a new scripture every month, by reciting it daily, both morning and night. ( He chose what he thought was best.) And then there is seminary’s scripture mastery scriptures we had to memorize. I do not think any of our religion is a shame. I think if you look for coorlations with what you want, you will find them.

  4. Raquel Bello

    This is one I designed myself, and may be of good help!

    ~*~*~*~

    A SCRIPTURE DEVOTION
    (A method of praying with the Scriptures)

    ~*~

    1.  SENTENCES
    [Recite one or some sentences from any of the Scriptures.]

    BEHOLD, the Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love. (2 Nephi 1:15)

    FOR my soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them. (2 Nephi 4:15a)

    WHEREFORE, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life. (2 Nephi 31:20)

    AND behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God. (Mosiah 2:17)

    YEA, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever. (Alma 37:36)

    COUNSEL with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day. (Alma 37:37)

    ~*~

    [If time and preference permits, here a HYMN may be sung.]

    ~*~

    2.  PSALM(S)
    [Recite a Psalm from the Old Testament.]

    ~*~

    3.  LESSON
    [Read a brief passage or a chapter from the Scriptures, time permitting, followed by silence.]

    ~*~

    4.  CANTICLE
    [One may recite a Canticle, or any other poetic passage of the Scriptures.]

    Canticle of Hannah (1 Samuel 2:1b-10)
    Canticle of Jonah (Jonah 2:2-9)
    Canticle of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:10-14)

    Canticle of Mary (Luke 1:46-55)
    Canticle of Zechariah (Luke 1:68-79)
    Canticle of Simeon (Luke 2:29-32)

    Canticle of Nephi (2 Nephi 4:16-35)
    Canticle of King Benjamin (Mosiah 3:3-8)
    Canticle of Zenos (Alma 33:4-11)

    ~*~

    5.  PRAYER
    [Close with prayer.]

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