Monday, July 28, 2008

3 Reasons to Pray the Daily Office

The Daily Office combines set prayers, the praying of Psalms and reading of scripture into a daily pattern of prayer. For a number of years I have been following this approach as a method of personal prayer. In the last month I have been praying the Office with my wife. This has been a terrific develop in both of our prayer lives by the way.

Here are three reasons to pray the Daily Office:

1. It's Historic. For most of Christian history all of the church has prayed this way and for all of Christian history most to the church has prayed this way. The Daily Office is rooted in the first century Jewish synagogue tradition. If one prays the Daily Office, one will pray in a manner similar to the way Jesus prayed.

2. It's Easy. One of the most difficult aspects of a regular prayer life is simply doing it. The Daily Office is easy to follow and easy to do. It is especially easy when done in a group setting. This adds a measure of accountability to the practice.

3. It's Sound. Praying the Psalms and praying set prayers written throughout the centuries of Church history makes sure my praying is sound doctrinally and not subject to the whims of my momentary feelings. This is not to say that extemporaneous prayer is bad or unimportant -- in fact the version of the Daily Office my wife and I use includes space for this kind of praying and we fill it in with extemporaneous prayers for friends, family, church etc. But the extemporaneous prayers are rooted in solid biblical prayers. As an example, every morning we pray the Prayer of Mary from the gospel of Luke. This prayer praises God by remembering his great acts of salvation in Israel that have come to fruition in Mary's life. By praying this prayer we remember central biblical themes before the Lord in an act of worship.

Does anyone have any other reasons to add to this list?


+ Alan said...

Good stuff. I might also say that when one prays the Office, one is praying with the whole Church (theoretically). We can all be facing in the same direction, praying the same things - powerful concept.

For me it has been a constant tool of focus - keeping my head on straight in the midst of all kinds of wind blowing here and there.

Makes me think of that liturgical prayer seminar we did not long back. I'll have to re-post the link to those mp3's - helpful discussions I think.

Peter said...

Yeah -- that would be a great re-post.

Anonymous said...

Great thoughts. Just curious - what version of the daily office do you use? Do you still use Celebrating Common Prayer? Hope things are going well.

Peter said...

Yep -- still use CCP.

liturgy said...

Yes I'm with +Alan
shifting the focus from the individual to the church/the body of Christ praying
and so in the Daily Office we are drawn into praying in Christ.

Cool blog
Hope you'll pop by mine
with a strong focus on the Daily Office.

If you link - let me know so I link back.


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