The Daily Office
Morning & Evening Prayer
How to Pray the Daily Office
Morning & Evening Prayer is an important part of the Anglican spiritual tradition with a rich history that is beneficial to us even today both for our prayer and for reading the majority of scripture. For much of the history of the Anglican tradition, clergy have been expected to pray both morning and evening prayer either privately or publicly, unless prevented from doing so by legitimate cause. At Grace Church, Evening Prayer is said publicly in the chancel of the church on Tuesdays through Fridays.
The ancient church carried on the Jewish tradition of praying at certain hours of the day. In particular, a schedule and set form of prayer developed in the monastic tradition that eventually came to include eight offices, often contained in a book called a breviary: Matins (very early morning), Lauds (sunrise), Prime (6am), Terce (9am), Sext (noon), None (3pm), Vespers (6pm), and Compline (before bed). Because this rigorous monastic form of prayer was not practical for an average person, and because the first Anglicans wanted to provide a structure of the Daily Office that was practical for every Christian, these hours were simplified into Morning & Evening Prayer (sometimes called Matins and Vespers). It is not difficult to pray the Daily Office, but it does take some time learning. It is highly encouraged to use a physical copy of The Book of Common Prayer, instructions for which are provided below, though the easiest thing to do is to use the Daily Office online.
Online Daily Office: There are many online versions of the Daily Office, but we reccomend St. Bede's Breviary which does all the work of finding that day's psalms and scriptures and prayers for you, and also has many options for customizing if you are adventurous.
Transitioning from Online to The Book of Common Prayer and Bible: It is fervently recommended by Grace Church that Anglicans pray with The Book of Common Prayer (BCP) in hand. From the time of the Apostles we Christians have been a people of the book, and there is something significant about holding the physical object in one's hands, a book that is used for nothing other than the scripture and prayer. With the BCP and Bible in hand may we "read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest" the words of God (BCP, 236). The Offices begin on page 35 of the BCP, and can be said in either Rite I (traditional language) or Rite II (contemporary language. A lectionary containing appointed readings and psalms is found on page 933 of the BCP. If one wishes, combination BCPs and Bibles, or books containing the readings already laid out for the officiant can be purchased online.