In my last post, I promised to detail some resources I've found helpful in learning to pray the Daily Office. If you're wondering what prompted this post, I suggest you start there. Don't worry, this article isn't going anywhere. It will be here when you get back!
As I mentioned before, there are a number of solid resources that can help us pray the Daily Office and get us started in this ancient-but-still-foreign-to-many practice of regular prayer. Though there are resources from across the spectrum of liturgical Christian traditions, I am deliberately limiting these recommendations to those in the Lutheran and Anglican traditions. The ones discussed here are all appropriate for those outside of those traditions, however, and offer a great starting point for any Christian wanting to develop a habit of regular daily prayer.
All you'll need to get started is the list of daily readings, your bible, and an order for prayer. For those who want to get going with the minimum amount of preparation, I wholeheartedly recommend Anglican Compass and their Daily Office Booklet. Using this booklet, which is updated several times per year, and your bible, you'll be ready to go. Regardless of which resources you choose, I highly recommend visiting and reading their posts on the Daily Office--what it is and how to pray it. Let's go!
Daily Bible Readings / Daily Lectionary
Without a doubt, the most widespread daily lectionary of bible readings is the one found in the Book of Common Prayer. It is used across the spectrum of Christian denominations and provides a solid starting point for daily bible readings from the Old Testament, the Psalms, and the New Testament. It cycles every two years and goes through almost the entire New Testament each year and the majority of the Old Testament over two years. While no daily reading plan is perfect, this is one of my favorites because of its widespread usage. Thankfully, this list of readings is provided free and can be found many places online. Three of the easiest places to find these readings are:
The Daily Office Lectionary: readings listed and provided in ESV translation by calendar date.
The Lectionary Page: readings listed and provided in NRSV translation by calendar date.
Daily Office Lectionary: readings listed here directly from the Book of Common Prayer. Here you'll need to figure out what week we're in in the church year first.
Bonus. Sanctus.org: this site uses the daily readings from the LCMS' Lutheran Service Book, which is a one-year series. It is not as widely used as the Book of Common Prayer's lectionary, but it is very good.
Daily Liturgies / Orders for Prayer
There are two flavors of daily liturgies represented here, Lutheran and Anglican. The Lutheran order for prayer tends to be a bit simpler, but both are pretty similar. I have included both the traditional Matins (morning prayer) order and a simplified order for Family Prayer from both traditions. All the resources here can also be found in the Book of Common Prayer and pretty must any Lutheran hymnal.
Lutheran Matins (from the North American Lutheran Church)
Lutheran Family Prayer (from Lutheran Church Missouri Synod/Concordia Publishing House)
Anglican Matins (from Anglican Compass)
Anglican Family Prayer (from the Anglican Church in North America's new prayer book)
All-in-One Books / Breviaries
As an alternative to juggling several resources, there are a couple of fantastic all-in-one books, called Breviaries, that I definitely recommend. These are a bit of an investment but include the Psalms, all the required bible readings (printed), liturgies / orders of worship, and usually some additional prayer resources. Having the bible readings printed in order for each day is very convenient, though you're limited to the translation used by the publisher, and I personally don't like the separation from the bible I feel when using a breviary. That said, here are two fantastic ones to consider:
Treasury of Daily Prayer: published the LCMS, this is a single volume containing everything you need for daily prayer. It uses the one-year daily lectionary from the Lutheran Service Book and the ESV bible translation.
For All the Saints: published by the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, this set contains four smaller books and uses the 2-year daily lectionary from the Book of Common Prayer and the RSV bible translation.
I hope these resources provide a good starting point for your adventure into daily praying with the Church around the world.
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