The Daily Offices
Where do these services come from?
Anglican spirituality has its roots in the Benedictine tradition. One emphasis of our Reformers was the greater integration of the active life (working in the world) and the contemplative life (prayer and contemplation of God) – we are to be monastics living in the world, surrounding our active life with a discipline of prayer and contemplation.
Archbishop Cranmer took six of the seven traditional offices (still) said by monks and nuns (lauds, matins, prime, terce, sext, nones, and compline) and combined them into two daily offices – morning and evening prayer. This pattern of two daily services also harkens back to our Old Testament roots with the worship at the Temple in Jerusalem – the offering of incense, sacrifice of a lamb, and the lifting up of hands in prayer at sunrise and sunset.
Why do we do them?
The Offices are about the sanctification of time and help us, to the “habitual, continual awareness of our life as being plainly in the presence of the Father, in every instant and in every circumstance, and a steadfast willing of the will of God” (R. Crouse). The outward discipline of prayer helps towards a state of Christian maturity where we find ourselves praying at all times (Eph 6:18) and where our hearts have become a house of prayer (Matt 21:13). Our tradition requires the spiritual disciplines of the Daily Offices (Morning and Evening Prayer) of its clergy and commends it to all people in addition to time for private prayer and contemplation and regular Holy Communion.
What are they like?
The offices are simple said services taking about 25 minutes during the week: we begin with confession; then read psalms; hear God’s Word read; and lift up the chaplaincy, the wider Church, and the world in prayer and give thanks. If you follow the daily pattern, you will read through the Psalms once a month, the Old Testament once a year, the New Testament letters twice and the Gospels about four times each year. This immersion, day by day, month by month, year by year, in the Bible stories and prophesies and songs forms us and enlivens our appreciation of the readings of Scripture we hear on Sundays. The daily office can also be helpful as a prelude and aid in entering into a time of deeper contemplative prayer.
The order of service for Morning and Evening Prayer are found in the Church of England’s Book of Common Prayer (Traditional) or Common Worship Book (Contemporary).
Many find it encouraging and helpful in maintaining this discipline to join with a friend to meet once or twice daily to pray the offices together or with others at the local church (see above for times).
The daily readings are found here. Or to pray the Daily Offices (Morning and Evening Prayer) on your own you can purchase a Book of Common Prayer or a Common Worship Book or use the links in the following table to say the service online for free (which include the prayers and readings):
|Book of Common Prayer (traditional):
|Common Worship (contemporary):
Night Prayer (Compline)
|Helpful apps for your phone (to say the daily offices wherever you are):
|Daily Prayer: Official Common Worship App
from the C of E
It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High:
To show forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night.