Oremus got its start in November 1993 on the Anglican listserv. After a few weeks of particularly acrimonious arguing, Steve Benner proposed that community could be restored by praying in common. Simon Kershaw joined in to help out. Oremus has been posted daily more or less ever since.
For a number of years in the 2010s, the format and content had remained relatively static, but the COVID-19 crisis gave Steve a new opportunity and impetus to reinvent Oremus as a blog. He has been posting new content to the blog daily since March 2020.
Structure: Oremus follows the classical structure used by Christians in their daily prayer, where we encounter God’s word in the Psalms and Scripture readings, sing God’s praises in hymns and canticles, and offer our prayers for others, culminating in the Lord’s Prayer.
A major change in Oremus from its previous format is the inclusion of music and visuals.
The office opens with an antiphon, currently taken from Simple English Propers by Adam Bartlett. This choice has been made because almost all of the antiphons have been recorded and published online.
This is followed by an opening prayer, currently the Collect for Purity, prayed by generations of Anglicans and others at the beginning of the Communion service. But it functions well as a centering prayer at the start of daily prayer.
The preces or opening sentences follow, where God’s help is called upon so that we may offer our praise and we respond with the Gloria Patri in praise of the Holy Trinity. A hymn follows.
This is followed by the psalms of the day. Oremus follows Thomas Cranmer’s cycle covering the entire Psalter in sequence over 30 days. To keep the portion manageable, however, we only use either the Morning or Evening portions in any given month. (Even months use the Evening portions, while odd months use the Morning portions.) This way, each day, we are praying in solidarity with thousands, maybe even millions of Christians around the world using Cranmer’s simple 30-day cycle.
The lectionary is currently an experimental one. It is a three-year cycle designed to complement the Revised Common Lectionary, but in a more sequential, fulsome manner than the schema offered by RCL Daily Readings. Often, we are reading books ahead of their appointed place in the Sunday lectionary and we read much more of the books than is possible on Sunday mornings.
It is hoped that this lectionary might be considered for future use by Anglican churches as they consider further revisions of the common prayer life.
The readings are punctuated with music: two hymns and a canticle. The canticles were selected from a variety of sources available online and reflect a rather eclectic taste in sacred music.
The prayers follow: first, with general intercessions, then the Lord’s Prayer, a concluding collect, and the closing sentences.