Prayer & Faith Resources
Liturgy of the Hours
Pray without ceasing
The Liturgy of the Hours (also known as the Divine Office) is the richest single prayer resource of the Christian Church. The Liturgy of the Hours consists primarily of psalms supplemented by hymns and readings, to be prayed throughout the day. Together with the Mass, it constitutes the official public prayer life of the Church.
The Liturgy of the Hours is the prayer of the whole People of God. His members participate according to their own places in the Church and the circumstances of their lives. The laity, too, are encouraged to recite the divine office either with the priests, among themselves or individually.
The early Christians continued the Jewish practice of reciting prayers at certain hours of the day or night. In the Psalms are found expressions like "in the morning I offer you my prayer"; "At midnight I will rise and thank you" ; "Evening, morning and at noon I will cry and lament"; "Seven times a day I praise you." The Apostles observed the Jewish custom of praying at the third, sixth and ninth hour and at midnight.
It has existed from the earliest times to fulfill the Lord's command to pray without ceasing.
The Daily Structure of the Liturgy of the Hours:
Initiatory ~ The opening prayer of the Office and is prayed before morning prayer
Morning Prayer (Lauds) ~ Prayed at sunrise or in the early morning
Daytime Prayer (Terce, Sext, None) ~ Prayed at a time most convenient for the individual:
Evening Prayer (Vespers) ~ Prayed in the late afternoon or early evening
Night Prayer (Compline) ~ Usually prayed just before going to bed
Office of Readings (Matins, Vigils) ~ This is the only hour which does not have a designated time because of people's varied schedules. This includes a meditative reflection on Scripture and the writings of great spiritual authors.