The Daily Office
Developing a devotional habit that can transform your life.
See BCP (The Book of Common Prayer), p 13;
The Holy Eucharist, the principal act of Christian worship on the Lord’and other major Feasts, and Daily Morning and Evening Prayer, as set forth in this Book, are the regular services appointed for public worship in this Church.
"Office" from the Latin "officium" or duty. It feels pretty "duteous" until it becomes a good habit. Then it feels like a joy and a surrender and a vital part of daily nourishment.
The Daily Office – that is the daily public prayer of the Church – has its roots in the ancient Jewish practice of marking the rhythm of the day (especially rising with the sunrise and winding down with the sunset) with prayers at fixed hours. We know from the Acts of the Apostles that the earliest Christians continued this practice (Acts 2:42 – 3:1).
In subsequent centuries of faithful practice, with the development of monasticism, the daily round of Christian prayer grew in structure and complexity. It included psalm singing, hymnody, and readings from scripture. It was elaborated in some orders to seven or more times a day.
In 1549, the 1st Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England was published and included services of Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer – in English rather than Latin – with elements from the monastic rites, but drastically simplified for use by the common person and in ordinary parish churches. Since that time, these services have provided spiritual nourishment for parishes, small groups, meeting regularly or occasionally, and for individuals praying alone (but in communion).
The "Shape" of the Offices:
† A seasonal opening sentence of Scripture and confession of sin (optional)
† An invitatory psalm or other song, used as a "call to worship"
† The psalm or psalms appointed for the day.
† Readings from the Bible appointed for the day, with each reading followed by a canticle (song of praise, usually biblical)
† The Apostles’ Creed
† The Lord’s Prayer and others prayers (called collects)
† Open prayer (thanksgiving, petition, and intercession)
† Concluding prayers (optional).
The shorter Noonday and Compline (bedtime) offices follow a similar, but abbreviated, pattern.
† Be realistic about how much time you will take.
† Be regular about where you pray.
† Focus, breathe.
† Simplify the rite. You can add on later.
† Use bookmarks.
† Use silence.
† Use music.
† Come to Wednesday Evening Prayer sometimes to remind yourself that you never pray the Office alone!
Check out the "rubrics" (directions) on pages 141 – 145 of the Book of Common Prayer.
The Book of Common Prayer may be ordered.
1979 Book of Common Prayer, Economy (Imitation green leather bound; 4" X 6"),. $14.00.
1979 Book of Common Prayer Readers Edition (6"X 8.5" – (Hardcover) $24.00.
1979 Book of Common Prayer, Personal Edition, Blue Genuine Leather (Leather Bound) $38.00
The Book of Common Prayer - Parish Economy Edition Black (Hardcover) 7.8" x 5.5" – pew size: $17.00.
40 Days: The Daily Office for Lent (Paperback) by Frank Tedeschi (Editor) (Author), Containing the Daily Office (from the B.C.P. and the Psalms and appointed Bible readings for Lent). $ 13.00.
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