Crucifix Praying
the
Hours

Many faithful Christians have found it helpful to remember God by praying at regular times during the day. These prayers, taken from the Book of Common Prayer, follow the general form of "Praying the Hours" as they have developed over the millenia. See history

Lauds (When you wake up)

Glory be to thee, Lord God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Prime (When you get out of bed)

A Collect for Grace
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us in safety to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Terce (Mid-morning)

A Collect for Guidance
O heavenly Father, in whom we live and move and have our being: We humbly pray thee so to guide and govern us by thy Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our life we may not forget thee, but may remember that we are ever walking in thy sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Sext (Noon)

Blessed Savior, at this hour you hung upon the cross, stretching out your loving arms: Grant that all the peoples of the earth may look to you and be saved; for your tender mercies' sake. Amen.

Nones (Mid-afternoon)

Savior of the world, by your cross and precious blood you have redeemed us; Save us and help us, we humbly beseech you, O Lord.

Vespers (Early evening)

O Gracious Light: Phos hilaron

O gracious Light,
pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!

Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing thy praises, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Thou art worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O Son of God, O Giver of life,
and to be glorified though all the worlds.

Compline (At bedtime)

A Collect for Aid against Perils
Be our light in the darkness, O Lord, and in your great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of your only Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping; that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace.

Mattins (When sleep is difficult)

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give thine angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for thy love's sake. Amen.

Song of Simeon

Lord, you now have set your servant free *
to go in peace as you have promised;

For these eyes of mine have seen the Savior, *
whom you have prepared for all the world to see:

A Light to enlighten the nations, *
and the glory of your people Israel.


A Brief history of Praying the Hours
(From the Catholic Encyclopedia at
http://www.newadvent.org/
The custom of reciting prayers at certain hours of the day or night goes back to the Jews, from whom Christians have borrowed it. In the Psalms we find expressions like: "I will meditate on thee in the morning"; "I rose at midnight to give praise to thee"; "Evening and morning, and at noon I will speak and declare: and he shall hear my voice"; "Seven times a day I have given praise to thee"; etc. (Cf. "Jewish Encyclopedia", X, 164-171, s. v. "Prayer"). The Apostles observed the Jewish custom of praying at midnight, terce, sext, none (Acts, x, 3, 9; xvi, 25; etc.). The Christian prayer of that time consisted of almost the same elements as the Jewish: recital or chanting of psalms, reading of the Old Testament, to which was soon added reading of the Gospels, Acts, and Epistles, and at times canticles composed or improvised by the assistants. "Gloria in excelsis" and the "Te decet laus" are apparently vestiges of these primitive inspirations. At present the elements composing the Divine Office seem more numerous, but they are derived, by gradual changes, from the primitive elements. As appears from the texts of Acts cited above, the first Christians preserved the custom of going to the Temple at the hour of prayer. But they had also their reunions or synaxes in private houses for the celebration of the Eucharist and for sermons and exhortations. But the Eucharistic synaxis soon entailed other prayers; the custom of going to the Temple disappeared; and the abuses of the Judaizing party forced the Christians to separate more distinctly from the Jews and their practices and worship. Thenceforth the Christian liturgy rarely borrowed from Judaism.


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