Timing Our Services

UPDATED August 5, 2011

This blog contains Christian prayer services marking the passage of time in the course of your day: Morning and Evening Prayer according to the use of The Episcopal Church in the United States, along with Midday and Latenight Prayer from both the U.S. and New Zealand.

We welcome people from all denominations (or none) from all over the world.

This blog, The Daily Office West, is timed for the Western Hemisphere. Our other blog, The Daily Office East, is timed for Asia and the East. See it here.

Whatever time you’re on, the right service is available.

We keep these blogs because they offer features our main site can’t: e-mail subscriptions, RSS feeds and comments.

Our main site offers features these blogs do not: podcasts and videos, as well as feature articles.

We think, altogether, we’re meeting most people’s needs most of the time. But if you know ways to improve what we do, please tell us. We’re not the world’s greatest computer whizzes; we barely know an app from a map. Please share your expertise.

We hope our blogs are the ultimate in convenience, accessible by all kinds of devices. It is our aim to be Your Online Chapel of Ease™.

Thank you for coming. God loves it when you pray—not because God needs to hear how great s/he is, but because praying opens the human soul to more loving relationships.

Josh Thomas
Lay Vicar

22 Responses to Timing Our Services

  1. June says:

    This explanation is a nice addition Josh. When I first began reading it I couldn’t help but think of the wisdom of the verses in Scripture that say something about the day and night being the same to the Lord. It’s nice knowing that there are always faithful people reading the Scriptures, praying and growing in faith.

    And yes, I think it would be nice to have Noon Prayer and Compline on your site.

    Blessings and Peace in Christ,
    June

    Like

  2. josh says:

    Today for the first time we posted Noonday here at about 11 a.m. Central Time (U.S.A.). We will also try posting Latenight (Compline) tonight. This is an experiment until Advent 1. We’d appreciate your feedback; just leave a comment, “Kilroy Was Here.”

    We also posted Noonday on Facebook for the first time today, thanks to a reader’s suggestion. We’ll see how that goes too.

    Thanks for praying with us.

    Like

  3. Ben says:

    I appreciate the noonday and compline prayers added. Thank you!
    Ben

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  4. nbftrek says:

    thanks for your site, I use the alternate site b/c it works for me. thanks again.

    Like

  5. Lisa says:

    I would love to have noon and late night prayers added!

    Like

    • josh says:

      Recently a commenter expressed disappointment that with the Noonday and Latenight services, there were never any changes; she read the same psalms, lessons and prayers week after week. I replied that Midday and Compline have no lectionary, aren’t intended to be major services, but are more about turning to God at those times of day.

      In the U.S. Prayer Book a person can memorize Noonday because in fact it doesn’t change. So the point is what to do when you find yourself thinking of God at lunchtime.

      You won’t find any excitement in these services, but you will always be better for saying them. They’re very brief; you’re soon to go to lunch or you’re about to go to bed.

      Evangelical visitors sometimes complain about having canned prayers; they’ve been taught that one’s own poor effusions are somehow better than written and service-tested prayers because extemporaneous praying is “from the heart” and written prayers are not. This is nonsense, unless you think that reciting the Lord’s Own Prayer is a waste of time; it is, after all, written down in Matthew and Luke. Jesus taught us how to pray by giving us a sublime text. Does repetition of it bore you, or do you recognize in it a summation of all we need to know in approaching God?

      God enjoys both the canned and the spontaneous. One leads to the other; both are necessary. What the catholic religion provides in the lesser services of the Daily Office is a framework to get you started when you don’t know what to say. And it gives us a discipline, sorely lacking in those who only pray when moved “from the heart,” for engaging the Divine whether we feel like it or not.

      The Daily Office is about a schedule. That’s why we say it’s a discipline. The word comes from “disciple,” you know.

      When I was at General Seminary 35 years ago as a layman, the 1928 Prayer Book provided very few variations; only two services, Morning and Evening, just a one-year cycle of Psalms and Lessons, and only four approved Canticles. In evening we said the Magnificat and the Nunc every time. Same old same old? (The 1979 Book has a two-year cycle of Bible reading, a 50% increase, and far more Canticles, all of which serve to allay boredom.) And yet the effect of singing the same songs every night back then in the Chapel of the Good Shepherd only deepened my faith. The Songs of Mary and Simeon got into my body, my muscles and bones, brain and heart from repetition, so that I could begin to understand and love them.

      Lord, now lettest thy servant depart in peace, *
      according to thy word.
      For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, *
      which thou hast prepared before the face of all people,
      To be a light to lighten the Gentiles, *
      and to be the glory of thy people Israel.

      I learned to love the Nunc of Simeon by singing it every night.

      So if you’re bored by the repetition of great faith, it might be time to examine your attention span. Faith is not TV.

      If you want scripture day by day, do Morning and Evening Prayer; if you need maximum discipleing (and don’t we all), do Midday and Compline too. The Office is about the passage of time; that is, turning frequently to God whether we feel like it or not.

      It doesn’t take many hours to turn us away from God, or much effort to turn us back to the Holy One. All we have to do is mind the clock, and God will refresh our soul every time.

      From this discipline comes the effusions of the heart. Neglect it and all you have are occasional impulses whenever they happen to arrive.++

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  6. bill says:

    Thank you for your efforts and yes, I do like having noonday and compline services available. God bless you.

    Like

    • josh says:

      Thanks, Bill. I hope my comment above wasn’t too severe; God welcomes everyone, day or night, from anywhere, whether they pray four times a day, forty times a day or once in a lifetime.

      Regularity does benefit us, though, and so does repetition. For me, the Noonday service asks God to bless us at work and help us make it through till quitting time. Compline calms and centers us, thanking God before we go to bed.

      Merry Christmas, everyone.

      Josh

      Like

  7. Matt says:

    Thanks for your spirited defense of “repetitive” prayer (http://dailyoffice.wordpress.com/timing-our-services/#comment-9488). It cleared up some confusion on my part about why we pray the same thing over and over!

    Like

    • josh says:

      You’re welcome, buddy. Happy New Year!

      Tomorrow will be one of our heaviest traffic days, as people pray for peace and prosperity and better times. Plus we have our own original, non-Prayer Book Collect for the New Year, which people seem to like.

      Like

  8. leesa says:

    I have just started following the Daily Office. It has been so uplifting. I use the readings for the day as a personal prayer…..reading the verses as they are, and then putting them into a line by line conversational prayer. This is something I did when I was younger and involved in a ministry. I can feel the time spent beginning to redirecting my daily thoughts. Thank you for making this so easy to find. The sensitivity that you put into your choice of pictures is also a blessing. I noticed that yesterday the prayers were posted at a different time. Again today the morning prayer has not been posted as of yet. It is 9:55 a.m. where I am. It is because of the “traffic on the internet”? Are the posts just not showing up yet?

    leesa

    Like

    • josh says:

      Ah, Leesa, you’ve caught us in a mistake. The lateness of Morning Prayer today was our fault.

      Prompt postings depend on 3 things: reliable electricity, reliable service from the webhost and punctuality by me. This time I failed. You’d think after five years I’d never forget, but I do. I pray your forgiveness and God’s.

      Your approach to the Office sounds wonderful. Sometimes we get so intent on “getting through it” that we don’t slow down enough to absorb the readings and prayers. Still, any and every approach to God is a blessing.

      Josh

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  9. leesa says:

    This is such a wonderful service, to provide this daily office on-line. For me personally a mistake did not enter into the equation…..more of a curiosity. I found what I needed by waiting. I learned from the waiting and seeking. Isaiah 55:11 jumped immediately to my mind and I know the word I needed this morning to change my course came in a timely way. Bless you for your good work today. I trust God will bless you in the new year.
    My forgiveness and thankfulness is yours.

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  10. Letha says:

    Josh, Just a note to say how the office is blessing my life and those that I have shared it with. I have started to use the prayers from the office in meetings or gatherings and have been encouraged by the reception of these into our baptist live. Bless you for your faithfulness to provide this resource at our fingertips!

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    • josh says:

      Letha, I wish my mentor Howard Galley could see this message (maybe he can in heaven). He was the General Editor of this prayer book back in the ’70s. It was a major change from the previous one, but he knew that the prayers and services would enrich the lives of millions in all kinds of places, from all different traditions. That’s exactly how it’s worked out.

      I post the prayers because he and other mentors taught me how; it’s my way of fulfilling the Great Commission. Yes, I’m catholic, but I’m also evangelical; that’s how Episcopalians are.

      Stay in touch.

      Josh

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  11. Patrick says:

    I just wanted to add how much I am blessed by this site. I have been reading it now for a few weeks and it has really drawn be close to the Lord. I feel compelled to share a simple but powerful thing that just happened. It was getting late and I hadn’t read the evening or late night prayer. I was feeling tired and was just going to go into bed and not read and pray tonight. A friend of mine sent me a text mssg with a scripture that the Lord had put on his heart in his personal prayer tonite. It was in reference to a conversation we had had earlier today. He does not know anything about the Daily Office or this site. He just sent me a reference to Psalm 103:15-18. I looked it up and read it. Its hard to explain, but I immediately felt compelled to read the Evening Prayer, with a strong feeling that that Psalm would be there and that I would be sharing it back with my friend. Imagine how awesome it was to scroll down and see Psalm 103 as the very first reading of the night. Praise God. He is truly at work within and among us all. Thanks for your work on this site. God Bless. Patrick.

    Like

    • josh says:

      Patrick,

      What a happy coincidence – or more.

      Ps. 103:15-18

      Our days are like the grass; *
      we flourish like a flower of the field;
      When the wind goes over it, it is gone, *
      and its place shall know it no more.
      But the merciful goodness of the LORD endures for ever on those who fear him, *
      and his righteousness on children’s children;
      On those who keep his covenant *
      and remember his commandments and do them.

      josh

      Like

  12. Sue says:

    Thank you for posting the prayers here… I particularly like being able to use the New Zealand prayerbook some of the time for midday and compline, as the language is so beautiful!

    What wonderful work you do here–and I loved your explanation about the relevance of set prayers. When the prayers of our hearts are groans that are beyond words, it helps to pray words that are familiar and comforting.

    Like many, the winter lack of light triggers depression for me. The discipline of the daily office was a way for me to hang on to hope. Bless you.

    Like

    • josh says:

      Sue,

      My spiritual director is like that about sunshine; my issue is cold temperatures. Fortunately winter’s almost over, Easter’s coming soon and we all get to feel better!

      The dailyness of the Office is a constant source of refreshment if we let it be. I’m enjoying the daily collects for Lent; this is the first year we’ve offered them. It’s meant more typing but they’re good prayers.

      josh

      Like

  13. Steven says:

    Dear Josh,
    Would you consider adding the preamble to confession, confession, and the absolution for lay readers to Morning and Evening Prayer?
    The peace of the LORD be with you.

    Like

  14. josh says:

    Steven,

    I love your request. But the preamble is a bit problematical, with its appeal to “let us kneel in silence.” People aren’t going to do that in front of their computers, Kindles and iPhones.

    It is a beautiful piece of writing, however, full of faith and truth, so we will reproduce it right now.

    “Dearly beloved, we have come together in the presence of Almighty God our heavenly father, to set forth his praise, to hear his holy Word, and to ask, for ourselves and on behalf of others, those things that are necessary for our life and our salvation. And so that we may prepare ourselves in heart and mind to worship him, let us kneel in silence, and with penitent and obedient hearts confess our sins, that we may obtain forgiveness by his infinite goodness and mercy.

    CONFESSION OF SIN

    “Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.

    “Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us all our sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen us in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life. Amen.”

    Let me remind all visitors that in the season after Pentecost we make this confession every Friday, both morning and evening. In Advent we confess every Wednesday and Friday. During Christmas and Epiphany we abandon confession entirely; the same with Easter season, when confession is forbidden. During Lent we confess our sins every day but Sunday.

    It’s my belief that this is a good scheme to guide our souls to God.

    We are sinners; there’s no evading that fact. But we’re also loved and forgiven, and people today don’t need to get hammered over the head about our sinfulness when it’s all over the TV.

    As your Vicar I commend the practice of private confession with a priest; it does a body good. Do not feel ashamed; just bring your sins to God so s/he can love you through them. Every priest is put on earth to hear your laments and pronounce your forgiveness; that’s half of why they exist, so avail yourself of the grace God offers you.

    We are a people of blessing.

    Josh Thomas
    Founder of This Site

    Like

  15. Donna says:

    Thank you

    Like

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