Wednesday, March 13, 2013

"O Lord, open my lips" -- The Daily Office: Part the Second

"In his Word, the Father invites us to pray with all 'freedom and confidence' (Eph. 3:12). The prayer forms of the daily office, litanies and collects are not merely the vehicles of the Christian's prayer; they are also instructors that cement the believer to the Word of the Lord and tutor the faithful in that conversation with God, which is prayer. The Evangelical Lutheran Church is a grateful recipient of these ancient forms, which have their roots in the scriptures." -- John T. Pless, "Lutheran Worship: History and Practice (c) 1993

So into the church I walk, my copy of the LSB (Lutheran Service Book) in hand. Pastor Warner leads me up to the front of the sanctuary with his copy of the LSB and the TDP (Treasury of Daily Prayer) and takes me through Matins, step by step, answering my questions as we went along. O the richness I encountered! Pastor Warner also showed me how a person can use the TDP in tandem with Matins, or any of the Daily Offices, in the LSB. In fact, if all you have is the TDP, you can still enjoy the Daily Office because it is contained within the center of it.

So what is the Daily Office? It's not all too dissimilar to a daily church service, in fact, it is. A number of Lutheran congregations will have Matins in the morning and Vespers in the evening, different from Divine Service in several ways, a big one being that there is no communion. It's a set order of service of scripture and prayer through sung and spoken Word. What's nice, is that you can enjoy the daily office at home, at the office, in the car while traveling. It can be used with your family, a small group of people gathered around the Word, or even as an individual.

With the routine of my life I am able to arrive at work early, shut the door to my classroom, and enjoy the order of Matins from the Daily Office. "But how does that work Leif? Don't you need the music to sing to? Not all of us are music teachers, Leif. What if I can't sing? And how do I know what Scripture readings to use?" Great questions. I'll give you a rundown of what I do:

I take the scripture readings straight from the TDP, which is set up with the 1 year daily lectionary. Today is Wednesday of the 4th week of Lent, so this morning I turned to page 118 in the TDP, which has the heading of "Wednesday -- Lent 4". When it's time for the psalm reading, I read the psalm listed, the O.T. and N.T. readings, I read the O.T. and N.T. When it's time for the collect (prayer), pray the prayer of the day listed.  The TDP is avaible in hardcopy, e-reader format and is available in app form called Pray Now. "What if I don't have a copy of TDP?" No problem. Turn to page 299 in the LSB and you'll find the daily lectionary, which will give you O.T. and N.T. readings for each day to open to in your Bible. On page 304 you'll find a table of psalms for daily prayer that you can use for the psalm readings.

If you're a bit of a techie, like myself, here are some great options. For the readings, check out, which has the daily lectionary, complete with O.T. and N.T. readings and the collect of the day. Just click on the current day on the calendar listed and it will give you the readings on the right side of the screen. You're also able to choose which Bible translation you want. One thing it does not have is the psalm reading. Another great option, for both computer and smartphone users, is It's quite similar to, however, if you're using your smartphone you have the option of it reading the text to you. Good stuff.

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"But what about the singing?" Not to worry, we've got an for that. Christ Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls, SD, has posted MP3s of the congregation chanting and singing the different orders within the Daily Office. You can click play next to the section you're in and play it straight from the site. If you want, you can even download them to use while away from the internet. Another option is to use the CD "Morning and Evening: the Music of Lutheran Daily Prayer" available through Concordia Publishing House.

For the season of Lent, my wife suggested that if I wanted to, she'd be willing to "try one of those chant things" with our evening readings from the TDP. So we've been doing either Vespers or Compline (close of the day, before bed). One night a week we do Vespers as a family with our 1 year old son and 3 1/2 year old twin daughters. The girls will ask "Can we pray where we have the singing?" Yes, it's possible for children to be a part of this, though, please don't use my kids as the average. At the age of 3 they were praying the Lord's Prayer and reciting the Apostle's kids aren't exactly...normal....  They seem to catch on quickly. They don't know all the music or all the words, but they know how to and do follow. One of the things we've been working on with them is the concept of reverence. I think this has been helping to establish that concept with them.

I can't express how grateful I am for these daily orders of service. I wish I would have found them sooner. I appreciate the order to daily reading and prayer. I appreciate the reverence used within them as we approach the readings of God's Word, and the reverence in which we respond to what we have just received. Some days, besides Sunday morning worship, the Daily Office is the only order to the chaos of my family's day.

A thing to keep in mind: Don't make a Law out of what I've just said. I'm not saying that this is the way things must be done, though, I would strongly encourage you to spend time daily in scripture reading and prayer as is possible for you. These are merely examples of how you can incorporate these rich daily prayer offices into your daily routine of life.

Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

1 comment:

  1. Very good. Thanks for praising the benefits of the Daily Office.