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Daily Office - Morning and Evening Prayer

The Daily Office is an ancient way to pray and read the Bible throughout the week. Modeled on the daily rhythms of sunrise and sunset, this simple and flexible schedule of Bible readings and prayers follows the Church’s annual calendar, from Advent to Pentecost and beyond.

How It Works

To follow the Daily Office, most at Christ Church use the Book of Common Prayer (1979). Although each part of the book provides instructions for a group and leader to pray together, you can easily adapt these guides for individual or family use. You can do morning or evening prayer in as little as five minutes, but the whole routine could take up to 30-60 minutes a day, roughly the amount of time it takes to give the body a good workout.

  • Each “service” opens with short scripture readings, then moves on to a few psalms.
  • The two-year “daily lectionary” schedule at the back of the book shows you which psalms to read for morning or evening prayer.
  • Some services include a time of confession, which you may want to use at the end of the day.
  • The daily lectionary also provides short readings from the Old Testament, Gospels and New Testament that you can divide between morning and evening prayer as you see fit.
  • Morning and evening prayer close with several options for fixed prayer (such as the Lord’s prayer) and provide a time for “free” prayer, intercession and so on.

The first time through the Book of Common Prayer, it helps to have a pastor walk you through the major sections and suggest which places you might want to tab or put a marker in. You can also download a Daily Office app.

Other Ways to Use the Book

Although the Book of Common Prayer puts the most emphasis on morning and evening prayer, some pray as many as eight times a day - every three hours. You might consider trying a more frequent schedule during a season like Advent or Lent.

Simple plan

“Evening, morning, and noon I cry out to you.” (Psalm 55:17)

  • Morning Prayer: Breakfast
  • Midday Prayer: Lunch
  • Evening Prayer: Dinner
  • Night Prayer: Bedtime

Ancient practice

“Seven times a day I will praise you.” (Psalm 119:164)

  • Matins, Midnight
  • Lauds: 3 a.m.
  • Prime: 6 a.m.
  • Terce: 9 a.m.
  • Sext: Noon
  • None: 3 p.m.
  • Vespers: 6 p.m.
  • Compline: 9 p.m

Praying the Psalms

Originally developed as songs, the Psalms form the heart of the Bible and of the Daily Office. The Psalms were Jesus and the apostles’ Book of Common Prayer.

  • When possible, read, chant or sing the Psalms aloud.
  • In corporate prayer, it is best for the leader (or half of the group) to pray the odd verses and the rest of group to pray the even verses.
  • The daily lectionary will take you through all 150 psalms every few months.

Use the following schedule to pray through every Psalm once a month.

  • Day 1: Morning prayer - Psalms 1,2,3,4,5; evening prayer - Psalms 6,7,8
  • Day 2: MP - 9, 10, 11; EP - 12, 13, 14
  • Day 3: MP - 15, 16, 17; EP - 18
  • Day 4: MP - 19, 20, 21; EP - 22, 23
  • Day 5: MP - 24, 25, 26; EP - 27, 28, 29
  • Day 6: MP - 30, 31; EP - 32, 33, 34
  • Day 7: MP - 35, 36; EP - 37
  • Day 8: MP - 38, 39, 40; EP - 41, 42, 43
  • Day 9: MP - 44, 45, 46; EP - 47, 48, 49
  • Day 10: MP - 50, 51, 52; EP - 53, 54, 55
  • Day 11: MP - 56, 57, 58; EP - 59, 60, 61
  • Day 12: MP - 62, 63, 64; EP - 65, 66, 67
  • Day 13: MP - 68; EP - 69, 70
  • Day 14: MP - 71, 72; EP - 73, 74
  • Day 15: MP - 75, 76, 77; EP - 78
  • Day 16: MP - 79, 80, 81; EP - 82, 83, 84, 85
  • Day 17: MP - 86, 87, 88; EP - 89
  • Day 18: MP - 90, 91, 92; EP - 93, 94
  • Day 19: MP - 95, 96, 97; EP - 98, 99, 100, 101
  • Day 20: MP - 102, 103; EP - 104
  • Day 21: MP - 105; EP - 106
  • Day 22: MP - 107; EP - 108, 109
  • Day 23: MP - 110, 111, 112, 113; EP - 114,115
  • Day 24: MP - 116, 117, 118; EP - 119:1-32
  • Day 25: MP - 119:33-75; EP - 119:73-104
  • Day 26: MP - 119:105-144; EP - 119:145-176
  • Day 27: MP - 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125; EP - 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131
  • Day 28: MP - 132, 133, 134, 135; EP - 136, 137, 138
  • Day 29: MP - 139, 140; EP - 141, 142, 143
  • Day 30: MP - 144, 145, 146; EP - 147, 148, 149, 150
  • Day 31: MP - Pray your favorite Psalms; EP - Pray your favorite Psalms
It is an ancient tradition to sing or say the Gloria Patri after each Psalm, in order to contextualize it to our eternal Triune God and to remind us that the Psalms point to Jesus who prays the Psalms through his people:

“Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end, Amen.”

Pastoral Counsel

Pray in community

The Daily Office will be difficult to sustain over a lifetime unless there is a committed group within your church that is devoted to doing this together, whether present in body or in spirit.

Pray out loud

Even if you speak inaudibly, always pray and read aloud. This will help you to keep awake (as Jesus said, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”), to hear it twice (as St. Augustine said, “He who sings prays twice.”), and to remember that you are speaking to the “Other.” This may feel strange at first, but after a while you will wonder why you ever tried to read silently.

Pray the minimums

If you find yourself short on time, it is best to allow at least the Psalms, creed and Lord’s Prayer to lead you into a few moments of meditation, thanksgiving, and intercession before God.

Pray the Jesus Prayer

You may want to begin prayer with a few minutes of this ancient prayer that is rooted in the Gospels, inhaling silently, then praying on the exhale: “Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” You may want to end your time in prayer by changing the pronoun: “Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on us.”

Pray with a view to Scripture reflection

You may want to take time during morning or evening prayer, or perhaps during your lunch break, your commute, or your nightly routine to do extended reflection on one or two of the Psalms or other Scripture passages you read for the day. Ask your pastor for a good study Bible or suggested commentaries on particular Biblical books.

Pray the Lectio Divina

The Lectio Divina - “divine reading” or “spiritual reading” - is an ancient Christian practice of slow, contemplative readings of Scripture as a means to union with God. It developed out of a desire to profitably read the Bible with thoughtfulness, consistency, and prayer. The four steps are as follows: 1) read, 2) meditate, 3) pray, 4) contemplate. Ask your pastor for instruction on how to do the Lectio Divina.