July 6, 2015

Getting to Know the Daily Office

The beautiful worship of the Episcopal Church can be a bit daunting for newcomers, especially those coming from nonliturgical traditions. But oh, once you get the hang of it, warmed by the inspiration, peace and teaching of our common prayers and calendar, it’s hard to imagine worship any other way.

There is another beautiful tradition of prayer, not weekly, but daily. It’s right there in the beginning of our Book of Common Prayer (starting on page 37), yet its treasures are undiscovered by many. Happily, there are many clergy and lay leaders intentionally encouraging people to give the Daily Office a try, and helping them get started.

The Rev. Ryan R. Whitley of St. George’s Episcopal Church in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, has written a fun and easy-to-understand Daily Office Tutorial.  Acknowledging that the Daily Office might seem a bit complicated and time-consuming, St. George’s web site reminds us that it is part of our Anglican heritage to be in a global community of daily prayer: 

“These services are easily learned and intended to be prayed by lay persons and clergy alike, alone or corporately, said or sung, as often as you like. When you take the time to pray the Daily Office, remember those who did not have the time or opportunity to pray it that day in the knowledge that when you do not have the time or opportunity, it is being prayed on your behalf as well.”

If your church is not currently offering such instruction, there are many on-line opportunities to learn about and actually participate in the global Daily Office prayer. Google “how to pray the daily office” and you may be amazed how many sources you find. For instance, DailyOffice.org provides a Daily Office blog for both Western and Eastern hemispheres. 

One of my favorite sites adds music to Morning and Evening Prayer. Founded by a Silicon Valley technical editor, The Mission of St. Clare includes hymns and responses “to make the web site experience as close to going to a physical church as possible.” 

Many Episcopalians realize the heart-changing power of a daily discipline of prayer and Bible reading. Does your parish provide teaching about the Daily Office? Encouraging people to get to know the Daily Office could help renew and deepen spirituality within your congregation.

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