Archbishop Thomas Cranmer first introduced the Book of Common Prayer to the Church of England nearly five hundred years ago; 1549 to be exact. If you've ever pledged to be faithful to someone "till death do us part," mourned to the words "earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust," or hoped for "peace in our time," you've been shaped by Cranmer's cadences, perhaps without knowing it.
The most basic explanation for the Book of Common Prayer is the book is used as a worship tool. The Book of Common Prayer (BCP) contains service orders for morning prayer, evening prayer, communion, baptism, confirmation, marriage, prayers for the sick and a funeral service. The book also contains the full book of Psalms from the Bible.
For Episcopalians and many others, the Book of Common Prayer is a treasure house of personal devotion, strength and encouragement. To being using your BCP, refer to the Calendar on page 31, which gives the seasons and the major feast days throughout the year. Locate the Prayer Book office you wish to use. Rite I is written in "traditional" language; Rite 2 is in "contemporary" language.
You will also want to know the appointed Psalm for the day and Bible reading. Here is a website to help you keep track. Note: We are currently in Year C. Check with your local parish if you are unsure.