Praying The Daily Office

Praying The Daily Office

John Haralson   •   March 9, 2017

Praying the Daily Office

This post is part of a series on becoming a people of prayer. During the season of Lent, the leadership at Grace is inviting our congregation into committing to morning and evening prayer using the prayer book Seeking God’s Face in the morning and the Prayer of Examen in the evening.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.”
Colossians 3:16

Believe it or not, we’re not the first generation of Christians trying to figure out how to deepen and grow our relationship with God. There have been (literally!) millions of faithful men, women, and children who have walked with God over the centuries. And, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, these people have developed tools that can be enormously helpful to us as 21st century Seattleites trying to live faithfully with God.

One such gift that our mothers and fathers in the faith have given us is the Daily Office. 

In the book of Acts, the earliest Christians continued the Jewish practice of praying at appointed times of the day and night (9am, noon, etc.). In addition to regularly praying the Psalms and reading Old Testament passages at set times, the early Christians added readings from the gospels and the epistles in the New Testament. 

Over the years, this tradition has been further refined and developed, most notably by Benedict in the 6th century and by the Church of England in the 16th century. This ancient way of praying is often referred to as praying the Daily Office (or praying the Hours). It’s called the Daily Office because prayer is work. It requires commitment and discipline. It means praying even when you don’t feel like it. Just like we all must do our work (in our jobs, our homes, at our schools) even when we don’t feel like it, we must also learn how to pray even when we don’t necessarily want to.

At the same time, however, it is important to remember that like all good work, praying the Office yields good fruit. God loves meeting with his people, and when we set apart time to be with him, he graciously blesses us.

During Lent this year, we are inviting men, women, and children from our congregation to enter into a form of the Daily Office by committing to morning and evening prayer. In the morning, we will be using the book Seeking God’s Face. It is a Reformed take on the Daily Office, and has assigned Scripture readings and prayers for each day. In addition, it has a fair amount of “blank space” for silence and reflection. In our constantly moving and distracted culture, committing to a daily time of prayer and quiet is a wonderful act of holy resistance. 

I am excited about this for many reasons. First, I hope that this will be a benefit to our individual prayer lives. We all struggle to pray, and the Daily Office is a great resource that will help us to pray more regularly and more richly. And, second, I look forward to seeing how God will work in our lives as we intentionally seek him during this season of Lent. 

Warmly in Christ,