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'Alexa, open the Prayer Book': Book of Common Prayer now on Alexa

by Tola Mbakwe

Amazon's Alexa can now recite the 1662 version of the Book of Common Prayer. 

It's the first time prayers and services by the 16th century Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, will be spoken by a digital smart speaker.

The prayers won't be read in the voice of Alexa, but have been recorded by priests from the Church of St John the Evangelist in Cambridge.

The new feature is known as the Cambridge Prayer Book, as it was developed by the Cambridge Bibles team at Cambridge University Press. 

Amazon Alexa users can launch the readings by saying: "Alexa, open the Cambridge Prayer Book" or you can ask for one function by saying: "Alexa, ask Cambridge…"

Cambridge University Press said in a statement: "Once inside, you can take part in the full Morning or Evening Prayer services, or even components of these services such as the Lord's Prayer. 

"You can also hear more about the Book of Common Prayer and its creator, Thomas Cranmer, or information about Cambridge University Press and Cambridge Bibles."

The 1662 Book of Common Prayer is the official liturgy of the Church of England and remains key to Anglican worship. The Church said it's "loved for the beauty of its language and its services are widely used."

Bob Groser, a director at Cambridge Bibles at Cambridge University Press, told The Times: “There are prayer readings available on smart speakers, but we wanted to make available this traditional liturgy, the liturgy of Thomas Cranmer that has influenced so much of our literature and culture and which is known and loved by so many.”

He added that the project took on a "real sense of urgency as the pandemic had closed churches".

Here is a list of what you can ask the Cambridge Prayer Book:

  • Say Morning Prayer
  • Say Evening Prayer
  • Pray the Lord's Prayer
  • Give me the Apostles' Creed
  • Recite the Grace
  • Tell me more about the history of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer
  • I'd like to learn about Thomas Cranmer
  • I want to know more about Cambridge Bibles
  • Tell me about Cambridge University Press

Listen to Premier's interview with Prudence Dailey from the Prayer Book Society: 

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