08 August 2006

LSB and the Daily Office

Breviaries are notoriously complex. Lots of page turning to get where you're supposed to be. Praying the Office from the Church's hymnals has not been much easier, truthfully. LSB, however, has taken strides toward making the praying of the Daily Office out of the hymnbook to be relatively painless venture. You're able to concentrate on praying instead of "where am I supposed to be now?"

Some observations, regarding Matins, Vespers and Compline (no comments yet on Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer).

First, the Orders for Matins and Vespers are very simple, easy to follow, and beautiful (set with Anglican Chant for the most part, though a Gregorian psalm tone is used for the Magnificat in Vespers as in LW).

Second, LSB provides a very helpful chart for Psalm singing on page 304. This chart does not include the entire Psalter, but only the Psalms that are included in LSB itself, but it does cover all of those (106 of the Psalms are included in the pew edition, if my counting is correct). For most of the year, a four week rotation holds; but there are special Psalms assigned to Lent, to Easter, to Advent, and to Christmas.

Third, the LSB psalm tones provide a few new ones, but many of the tones that we've become familiar with from LW/LBW and from HS98. The pointing of the Psalms is somewhat cleaner than in LW (no distinction between two syllable and three syllable ending). Very singable, and as throughout the hymnal, a clean type-face that is a joy to read. Psalm tones are not pre-assigned to individual psalms, which would make teaching the tones fairly easy: pick one or two tones and keep working on them until the congregation has them mastered, then add a few more.

Fourth, the LSB provides a daily lectionary: two readings of about 15-30 verses a day each, one from the Old Testament and one from the New. These readings follow a basic lectio continua approach, and the tradition of reading certain books during certain seasons of the Church year (Genesis read in Lent, for example).

Fifth, the LSB provides an outstanding selection of collects for all sorts and conditions of men that can be prayed after the Collect of the Day at the conclusion of the Daily Office (13 pages of them).

Sixth, the Order of Compline, carried forward essentially unchanged from LW (except for the placing of the Office Hymn immediately after the Psalmody - a feature that is consistent across the Offices now), is also a joy to pray and sing.

All in all, the LSB is a remarkably complete work for praying the Daily Office either in corporate or individual settings. The book continues to surprise and delight with its thoroughness and yet ease of use.


Eric said...

I just received my copy yesterday... I love it... It's a very beautiful book too.

In the prayers (I don't have it in front of me, so I can't remember the proper title of the section) there are parenthetical numbers at the end of the prayers. Can you tell me what those mean?

Also, I was given to understand that this Service Book included Luther's Baptismal "Flood Prayer." I haven't been able to find it yet. Is it in the pew edition?

Thanks in advance for your time, and thank you for sharing your enthusiasm and insights in regard to this wonderful new resource.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the kind words. I suspect that the numbers will be referenced in the Desk editions, telling where the prayers come from. Some of them are ancient; some are written recently.

About the flood prayer, yes, it is on page. 268-269 in the Baptismal rite. It will also be featured in the Easter Vigil, but that is not in the pew edition.


Anonymous said...


Do you know if there will be a "home" edition? If not, would you advice just getting the LSB?

Also, love your site. I wish we had more pastors like you around.

Greg B

William Weedon said...

Dear Greg,

Thanks for the kind words. The pew edition is the home edition unless you want to fork out the extra dough for the personal edition ($40 vs. $18.50 - same stuff, nicer cover). If you play the piano or have someone in the family who does, the pew edition is the way to go because it stays open in a way that the personal edition won't. For use in the home, the pew edition also includes orders of prayer for morning, noon, evening and night. Very, very helpful. Also the Catechism!


Ryan Markel said...

(disclaimer: I work for CPH. In the music department.)

Thanks for the kind words, William (and others). This is a very exciting project launch and though I've only been with the music department for seven months, I'm extremely excited to be present for the rollout and use of LSB.

The numbers in parentheses next to each collect (even those within the context of a service) are simply numbers to identify specific collects. IIRC, last I asked, there wasn't a whole lot of consensus on how they were going to be used, but that they were definitely inserted so that they could be of future use and reference. I'll have to check with the editor this week.

Couple of notes: the final prayer in the list of prayers for Compline is a beautiful piece of work. It was originally the collect for Holy Saturday in LW, and as such didn't get much use. It's nice to see it pushed into a more commonly used service.

The "Daily Prayers" for individuals and families in the forepart of LSB are wonderful for use as a devotional tool. My family has already been using them and have found them to be a joy and a right way to greet the day and retire to sleep.

The "gift editions" are still in pre-order, but they should be available before the end of the month (or so I have been told; not my department). My pew edition is going on the piano rack in our new home, while I do plan on buying a personal edition (the bonded-leather one) to bring with me to church and use in services. The personal edition is also slightly downsized, so if reading the text is going to be an issue, the pew edition is the way to go - and the point about it staying open is quite valid.

David Clapper said...

Mr. Markel & Pr. Weedon,

At some point there was a plan to produce a 2-volume "breviary" (on the order of "For All the Saints") as part of the LSB "family". Is this still in the plan? (I realize that it's not necessarily feasible for the initial rollout, but it would be nice ...)


William Weedon said...


I've been waiting for info on that myself. I know that Dr. Stuckwisch was working on it a few years ago, but it is noticeably absent from the promotional materials.

Ryan Markel said...

Such a volume - from what I remember of conversation at the last workshop - is still left in the planning stages while the core portions of LSB are being finished and prepped for release.

The plans to complete such a work and put it on an official release schedule aren't apparent right now, and I honestly don't know any more about it. My personal (and unofficial) guess would be that such a product would be a minimum of two years away at this point.

Chaz said...

I prayed the office from LSB as I was coming home from the train. It was incredibly simple.

A guy across the hall from me works for the bindery that bound and did the embossing and gold leaf on LSB.

He noticed me praying from it and couldn't have been happier.

Ryan Markel said...

I checked with Peter (the editor) earlier today, and have the following insights:

The collect numbering scheme will be used to index every collect in the (ahem) collection in the Altar Book for quick reference.

There are no plans for the "breviary," as you put it, at the moment. I seem to remember the Commission saying at the workshop that such a document was being considered, but not officially announced or planned at this point - and Peter says that's about right.

There are ample prayers in the Altar Book and the Pew Edition, and there will be more still in the Pastoral Care Companion, which is coming out next year.

Markthelutheran said...

If you are looking for a Breviary you should consider purchasing "The Brotherhood Prayer Book" produced by The Lutheran Liturgical Prayer Brotherhood.

This breviary was edited by a couple of young LCMS pastors in Michigan. It is a complete breviary with all of the daily offices and the complete psalter. The book is well laid-out and easy to navigate for the most part. However, this breviary is challenging in that it uses Jacobian English and is all set to Gregorian Chant tones.

I just purchased my copy and have found it to be a good personal resource. The prayer book draws upon extensive Lutheran resources and uses the Lectionary from Lutheran Service Book. In a way it can serve as an advanced companion breviary to LSB.

I hope that CPH does eventually produce a complete companion breviary to LSB. I think there is growing interest in reviving such structure prayer practices.

William Weedon said...


Yup, it's a great book. I've cited from it frequently on the Blog. But I believe that the LSB actually provides a great "breviary" in the pew edition. It's a super book for praying the daily office.