This is an ancient practice that uses daily prayers to mark the times of the day. For Anglicans, this generally comes in the form of the two main offices of Daily Morning Prayer and Daily Evening Prayer. They may be led by lay people and are said communally or individually. Other offices as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) include Noonday Prayer and Compline (an office said before going to sleep).
The Purpose of the Daily Office: The sanctification of time – a reminder that all time is sacred since all time belongs to God and the sanctification of the individual – a way to draw a person closer to God.
“The idea of some set form of Office…is based on a realistic assessment of human beings and of our prayer potential. We do not always pray with spontaneity and ease, nor should our prayer depend on the way we feel. Prayer which is so based on feelings is unstable and lacks depth. The Office is a form of prayer which is independent of our feelings, though, of course it is often accompanied by, and arouses, deep feelings and emotion.” Kenneth Leech, True Prayer, p. 187-188
How to Pray the Daily Office
Some Tips for Saying the Office
Mark pages before beginning to avoid losing concentration
Appropriate to have others read the lessons
Begin and end with at least 30 seconds of silence: use to focus thoughts on praise of God
Speak office aloud in a reverent but not overly slow way.
Develop your own system of prayer positions (i.e. will you stand for Canticles, Kneel for Prayer, etc.)
Try not to worry too much about the meanings of obscure passages (You can take notes to ask questions later)
Stick to the text: don’t add in lists of intercessions or extemporary praises. These are important but are best kept separate
Stick with your Office Book: don’t change systems of prayer, but stick with one until it becomes “second nature” to you.
Morning Prayer (p 537-60)
Opening Sentence: Choose 1 from those listed, special sentences provided for seasons (optional)
Confession and Absolution: Generally omitted in private worship
The Invitatory (p.42)
Opening Canticle: Venite or Jubilate in ordinary time, Christ Our Passover in Easter Week. Full version of Psalm 95 (p. 724) used in Lent
Psalms. Use assigned Psalms from Daily Office Lectionary (p. 936-1001). Daily Office Lectionary Year One is used in odd numbered calendar years; Year Two is for even numbered calendar years. The First set of Psalms assigned for each day are said at Morning Prayer. Special Psalms and Lessons are provided for Holy Days. Each Psalm is followed by the Gloria Patri (p.46).
First Lesson: Old Testament Lesson from Daily Office Lectionary.
Old Testament Canticle: Choose one or use the Canticle assigned to the day of the week on p. 144.
Second Lesson: Epistle Lesson from Daily Office Lectionary.
New Testament Canticle: Choose one or use the Canticle assigned to the day of the week on p. 144.
Apostles Creed (p.53)
The Prayers: (p.54). Use either Suffrages A or B
The Collect of the Day: Use the Collect for the Week (p. 155-185) or of the Day on Holy Days (185-194) (optional)
Collect: Choose one from those provided on p. 56-57. Note special collects for some days of week (Friday-Sunday)
Collect for Mission: Use one of three collects on p. 57-58.
General Thanksgiving and/or Prayer of Chrysostom (optional)
Let us Bless the Lord (p. 59)
Grace or other Closing Sentence (p. 59-60) (optional)
Evening Prayer (p. 61-73)
Procedure is the same as above Except:
Opening Canticle is always Phos Hilarion (p. 64)
Lesson: One to three lessons may be used; often it’s just the gospel.
Canticle: Magnificat (p. 65) or Nunc Dimittis (p. 66)