The Daily Office + Part Four: Give it a Try
If you want to use the Daily Office in your own life, it’s best to use it along with some version of the Four Hours (which I discussed in the previous post). For instance, you could read a Daily Office reading during Evening Prayer with your family. You could read one psalm in the morning. If you want to keep it very simple, just look for today’s Gospel reading. Read that, say a prayer, and you’re done. The Lord loves you and wants to speak to you through his Word.
If you decide to read the Daily Office every day, please don’t feel the need to “make up” a part that you miss. Sure, if you’re in the middle of an unfamiliar story and you’ve missed something important (wait, how did that guy become King of Israel?), go back to it. Otherwise, don’t bother. The purpose of reading the Daily Office is to hear a fresh from the Lord. Let him speak to you through one of the readings. This isn’t school, you don’t get extra credit with Jesus for reading more Bible passages. Let it go.
There are a couple of really cool things about reading the Daily Office. Following the Daily Office keeps you grounded in the Church Year. For instance, in Lent the readings have Lenten themes. During Christmas the readings are all about the coming of Christ. The other thing that I love is that you’re reading with Anglicans around the world. Thousands upon thousands, maybe millions of people are reading that particular passage of scripture today in Kenya, Hawaii, Thailand, and Wales. That blows me away.
So where do you find the Daily Office? The best place to find it is on the internet, or through an app on your smartphone. The easiest place to read it without any the prayer material is www.esvbible.org/devotions/bcp/ My favorite Daily Office smartphone app is called “Lectionary” from “Crushed Red Pepper.” It has the Sunday morning Lectionary as well as the Daily Office readings. Several Anglican churches provide the readings on their websites, newsletters, or weekly bulletins. You could theoretically find the readings in the back of the Book of Common Prayer 1979, beginning on page 933. However, no one I know can figure that weird system out, so just stick to the websites and smartphone apps if you can.
Because the human brain is designed for patterns, the best thing is to find one thing you like and do your best to stick with it for a while. Perhaps you start by reading the Gospel lesson and saying the Lord’s Prayer after lunch every day. That would be amazing. Maybe it will become like brushing your teeth, just something you do. Even the smallest changes can give you a sense of the Spirit’s presence in your daily life. Remember that Christ is always more present than you are. He’s always ready to be with you, no matter what.
Editor’s Note: If you’d like to try out the Daily Office for yourself, check out the Rookie Anglican Daily Office Booklet.
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