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Praying The Bible (Part 1)

Daily Office

It is still a good time to make (and keep) a resolution.

There are two ways that spring to my mind to pray the Bible, to use the Bible as prayer, to use the Word of God to relate to God: the first is the Daily Office.

The Daily Office is the praying of the Psalms and biblical canticles – it usually includes a hymn, reading, prayers, and the Lord’s Prayer.

This way of praying the Bible has many other names: the Breviary, The Liturgy of the Hours, the Divine Office, the Prayer of the Church,…

You can find versions of this way of praying in the Online Chapel. There are apps and websites. And people who follow this discipline will be only too happy to help you. Those who are ordained often vow to pray the Daily Office and will usually be thrilled to help.

Just because clergy pray the Office, don’t think this is a practice more for clergy – quite the opposite! This is a lay movement. No priest required.

Begin simple. Pray as you can. It can, at first, seem daunting and complicated. Start in a simple way. And don’t feel guilty if you miss a prayer time – that is part of the beauty of the practice: knowing that other Christians are praying right around the world. You are joining them. And if you miss a prayer time, the praying continues.

I use Benedictine Daily Prayer. There is a facebook group around that. It follows the approach of the Rule of St Benedict – followed by monasteries and many beyond monastery walls. [For those of you interested in the Benedictine Daily Prayer, again – start simply, don’t use all the options for saints and seasons, don’t start with all the offices of the day, and here is an introduction by Roger Sessions].

In the comments, tell us about your experience of praying the Divine Office.

This continues yesterday’s post. I will pick up a second way to pray the Bible next week.

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3 thoughts on “Praying The Bible (Part 1)”

  1. I recently read something Fr Michael Casey OCSO of Tarrawarra Abbey wrote regarding the Office, which largely expresses my own experience of this prayer over several decades: “The Liturgy of the Hours can have a powerful effect on all areas of personal life and monastic observance. [Not limited to monastic observance, in my experience. MD] Not only that, fruitful liturgical participation imparts a deep sense of joy and fulfilment. For this to happen it needs to maintain its specificity. The daily Office does not have the same rhythm as the meditation or silent prayer which are its complements. It is full of words and keeps moving according to a set pattern. Sometimes we have to leave ourselves behind and run to keep up with it. There is not much room for spontaneity, the liturgy is formative rather than expressive. At the same time the Opus Dei is not to be reduced to instruction or homiletics. Its specific effect is to move us into a certain quietness of heart which in turn leads into a zone of prayerful attentiveness to the presence of Christ. From that encounter anything may happen.”

  2. My reply above is from Michael Casey OCSO, “Monasticism and Liturgy: Seven Principles”, in Tjurunga: An Australasian Benedictine Review ((N0.91, 2018) 19

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