THE DAILY OFFICES 

(Morning and Evening Prayer)

 

  

Anglican spirituality has its roots in the Benedictine tradition.  One insight of our Reformers is that the active life (working in the world) and the contemplative life (prayer and contemplation of God) can be held together – we can 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 and the lifting up of hands in prayer at sunrise and sunset. 

 

The Offices are about the sanctification of time and help us, as Fr. Crouse has said, 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.”    Our tradition commends to all people the spiritual disciplines of the Daily Offices (Morning and Evening Prayer)  as well as time for private prayer and contemplation and regular Holy Communion.  

 

The offices are simplified services taking about 20 to 25 minutes during the week: reading psalms; hearing God’s Word read; and lifting up the parishes, the Church, and the world in prayer and giving thanks.    The order of service for Morning and Evening Prayer are found on pages 1-24 of the Book of Common Prayer or online at the Prayer Book Society of Canada's site -  Morning Prayer or Evening Prayer.

 

If you would like to say the offices at home, you can find the Bible lessons in a table at the front of the Prayer Book (pp. xvi to xlvii), or in the weekly bulletin insert ("a week at prayer") - or go to the daily lessons webpage and click on the appropriate Sunday.

 

Sometimes it is helpful in maintaining this discipline to join with a friend to meet once or twice daily to pray the offices together.