Shield > Devotionals >

Daily Office

Daily Office Readings

The Daily Office are daily services for the morning and evening that are read by individuals either privately as daily devotionals or as commonual devotions in a church or other worship setting. The main purpose of the daily office is remembrance, thanksgiving, and praise.

It has its roots in Jewish tradition of praying privately at 9 am, 12 noon, and 3pm. In addition, Jews gather in syngogues to receite the Shema prayer (Hear, O Israel, the LORD is our God; the LORD is one) morning and evening.

In the Christian church under Constantine (288 - 337 AD) the Jewish tradition evolved into morning and evening services called lauds and vespers, and many people routinely joined together for these services. Also during this period, monks in minastries developed their own form of the daily office. In addition to lauds and vespers, the monastic form included matins (at midnight or cockcrow), prime (the first hour), terce (the third hour), sext (the sixth hour), none (the ninth hour), and compline (at bedtime). By the late middle ages, the Daily Office was seen as the responsibility of the monks and clergy rather than an occasion for participation by all in the prayers of the community throughout the day. After the Anglican Reformation, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556) reduced the eight monastic offices to the two services of Morning and Evening Prayer. These services were printed in the first edition of the Book of Common Prayer and are intended for use by all members of the church.

Each office consists of a collect, one or two scripture readings, prayers, psalms, canticles, the Apostles' Creed, a confession of sins, and petitions. The scripture readings are organized into a 2-year cycle of readings, called a Lectionary, that covers most of the Bible (this is different than the Sunday Lectionary, which covers the Bible in a 3-year cycle). All of the pslams are recited every seven weeks.

For online access to the Daily Office consult the sites below.

Noonday Prayer and Compline

In addition to the Daily Offices of Morning and Eveing Prayer, the Episcopal Church has Prayer services for use at Noon and before bedtime. The bedtime service is called Compline.

Daily Devotions for Individuals and Families

In addition to Daily Morning Prayer and Daily Evening Prayer, the Book of Common Prayer includes other daily devotional services called "Daily Devotions for Individuals and Families". These devotions follow the basic structure of the Daily Office but are intended to be used by a single person or their family - see pages 137-140 of the Book of Common Prayer or use these links from the Mission of St. Clare web site.