Join us for Daily Morning Prayer with Eucharist, Monday - Friday, 7 - 7:30 am, at our Prayer and Ministry Center: Second Floor of 3908b Bell St. KCMO 64111.
The Daily Office in the Book of Common Prayer is an abbreviated rule of prayer taken from the ancient monastic tradition. The Roman Empire was organized into precise slices of time.
In each town and city, the forum bell would ring to mark the beginning of each day (6 am or prime), noon for lunch, 3 pm calling citizens back to work, and at the close of markets, 6 pm. Clement (c.150-215AD) and Origin (c.185-254) assumed Christian prayers in the morning and night—besides if possible the little hours (9,12,3). After Constantine’s conversion, such prayers would take place in basilicas and cathedrals. As monks and nuns devoted themselves to lives of prayer they used the following pattern:
1. Vigils (Midnight through Prime) The night watch - Matins - "At midnight I will rise and praise you." Psalm 119:62
2. Lauds ( 3 am) The coming of the light
"O God, You are my God, early will I seek You!" Psalm 63
3. Prime (1st hour - 6 am) New beginnings - sunrise
"To You I pray, O Lord; in the morning You hear my voice!" Psalm 5
4. Terce (3rd hour - 9 am) Blessing ... before noon -
"Take not Your Holy Spirit from me." Psalm 51
5. Sext (6th hour or noon) Fervor and commitment - Midday Prayer - "There they crucified Him... It was now about the sixth hour" Luke 23: 33,44
6. None (9th hour - 3 pm) Shadows grow longer - Afternoon Prayer - "And at the ninth hour...Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last."
Mark 15: 34,37
7. Vespers (end of day, sunset, 6 pm) Lighting the lamps - Evening Prayer - "Let the lifting up of my hands be an evening sacrifice." Psalm 141
8. Compline (before retiring, 9 pm) Completing the Circle - Night Prayer - "In Peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety." Psalm 4
Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws. Psalm 119:164
Thomas Cranmer, the chief architect of the Book of Common Prayer, wanted to make the Daily Office more accessible to mainstream society and to offer it in the language of the people. Up to the English Reformation, in Western Christendom, all services were held in Latin. It’s hard to imagine the sheer radical nature of such a shift.
The Daily Office came to be divided up into two sections, morning and evening prayer. The Book of Common Prayer’s Daily Office readings are found on pages 934 – 1001 and the prayer services for Morning and Evening Prayer are found on pages 37 – 146. Also, see the link below for Morning and Evening Prayer Services.