Daily Prayer - My Journey

I pray daily. As an Anglican, I began my habit of liturgical daily prayer with Evening Prayer from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; later adding Morning Prayer and Compline as well. I enjoy the language and liturgy of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer Offices. I love attending Choral Evensong at church and regularly attended weekly BCP Evening Prayer when I lived in parishes that had an Evening Prayer service. However, Morning and Evening Prayer in the Book of Common Prayer share a lot of the same material and, aside from the psalms and lessons, very little of the Offices changes day to day or season to season. I found that a daily diet of Morning and Evening Prayer became repetitive and tedious, resulting in my prayer life suffering. I would struggle to remain committed to daily prayer and sooner or later it would fizzle out. Multiple times I would return to the habit but would only sustain it for a few months, weeks, or days before stopping again.

This led me to explore other Offices, searching for one that would sustain my daily prayer. In my explorations I settled on The Divine Office (The Liturgy of the Hours According to the Roman Rite, published by Collins). Initially I purchased a copy of the single volume Daily Prayer, which contains the majority of the full Divine Office, the only omission being the Office of Readings. And I began by reading the General Instruction on the Liturgy of the Hours found at the front of the book, then started praying Morning Prayer (Lauds) and Evening Prayer (Vespers).

For me, using The Divine Office prayer was actually prayer, rather than rote recitation. I looked forward to putting everything down for prayer at each Office. I happily prayed each Office each day. I soon added Prayer During the Day and Night Prayer (Compline) and quickly moved to the three volume set of The Divine Office, containing the entirety of the Office, so I could also add the Office of Readings.

This is not to say that using The Divine Office is easy. There is certainly a learning curve when it comes to using and navigating The Divine Office. I still have the occasional day where I need to sit down and work out the pages that I will need to flip to for the Offices that day. But I found that the careful placement of ribbons and the use of simple guide cards helped in the early days.

I made the change to using The Divine Office in Advent 2020. I have since prayed the Divine Office daily. It has not become rote recitation. It has not fizzled out. It changes each Hour and day and reflects the church season. With The Divine Office I know which Office I am praying; I know which season the Church is in. I continue to pray daily.

Written April 2021, Revised January 2022