celtic crossThe Daily Office (Daily Order of Prayer) can be said anywhere, but, for Morning and Evening Prayer, it is recommended that a quiet place, as free from interruptions as possible, is chosen. Our lives are usually too full of noise, so this is the ideal moment of the day to experience real silence.

Starting and ending

Daily Office Prayers are best begun and ended with a period of reflective silence; and by affirming that the prayers are said in ‘the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.’

Sources

The words of the Daily Office are drawn from a variety of sources, such as St Patrick’s Breastplate, Teresa’s Bookmark, Columba’s Blessing, etc – and from Psalm 27 for Morning Prayer, Psalm 90 for Midday Prayer and Psalm 130 for Evening Prayer.

Scripture readings and meditations

Morning and Evening Prayer should include scripture readings, meditations and prayers. Selected scriptures should be short and time should be allowed after each reading for its meaning to filter down from the head to the heart, and to seek the significance of each for that day.

The meditation for the day may be obtained from various resources, such as the Upper Room daily devotionals, The Daily Bread, the Bible Reading Plans from NavPress, from the book “This Day, a Wesleyan Way of Prayer” or from the Northumbria Community. You may have your favorite devotional book that you use each year. Some people may read a Psalm, the chapter of Proverbs for the day, and/or a short portion from the gospels. The important point is that a time of silence and reflection should be allowed for new insights to develop in the mind and heart before moving on. Some find that the mornings tend to be too rushed for lengthy silences and that this can best wait till evening prayer. The important thing is to find a rhythm that works for you.

Intercessory Prayer

After the scripture readings and meditations, there is an opportunity to pray whatever is on your mind and heart, offering to God the concerns of the day, your personal needs and prayers for other people. A ‘prayer basket’ or ‘prayer pot’ may be used from which are selected three names for holding up before God. The basket or prayer pot contains slips of paper on which have been written the names of folk to be remembered in prayer. (It is of course important that names are added and removed regularly as circumstances change.) The selected slips may be placed where they can be seen from time to time during the day, or carried around, as a reminder for continued prayer.

Midday Prayer

This is specially devised for use in the middle of a busy working day. For this reason it is short, and can be prayed in the time it takes to boil a kettle, especially if committed to memory. Some find it helpful to make a point of saying it while moving around (while preparing lunch for instance) as a reminder to pray as we work and work as we pray.

Others find it a welcome opportunity to withdraw from the tensions and busyness of the day to spend some time quiet and alone with God, putting the day’s work into a different perspective.

Midday Prayer retains the ‘thee and ‘thou’ forms of speech. This may seem unfamiliar to the many who are used only to modern language, but it is a deliberate attempt to highlight the contemporary relevance of the treasure of prayer from long ago.


Evening Prayer

Evening Prayer gives us a time at the end of the day to reflect on our walk with the Lord during that day, to center our thoughts and hearts on the Lord through scripture reading, listening to worship music and prayer. The Celtic Evening Prayer includes a poetic Expression of Faith.

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In part, adapted from How to Use Daily Office from the Northumbria Community.

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