17 December 2012

A Question for Readers

My buddy Chris asked an interesting question about how many Lutheran parishes or people actually use the Daily Office. So I'm curious:

Do you use Treasury or PrayNow to pray the Daily Office or at least part of it?
Do you use Brotherhood Prayer Book to pray the Daily Office or at least part of it?
If so, what do you use and how do you pray it?

Anyone care to share a bit of the nuts and bolts of their personal use of these or other resources, and whether your parish offers any chance for regular participation in the Daily Office?

During the school year, Matins is sung on Wednesdays at Trinity-St. Paul Lutheran School and during Advent and Lent either Vespers or Evening Prayer is prayed on Wednesday evenings. At the International Center of the LCMS, either Matins or Morning Prayer is usually prayed publicly on Mondays and Fridays, and sometimes on other days. Evening Prayer is offered when there is a special group meeting there that late (and during Missionary Orientation we usually have daily Evening Prayer).

I personally pray Matins and Vespers from PrayNow or Treasury; sometimes, I pull out Brotherhood Prayer Book just for the joy of it, and use that too.

Your turn.


Josh Hanson said...

I try to use the TDP/PrayNow for either Vespers or Compline at least a few days a week when I don't fall asleep on the couch first. On Wednesday nights at our parish, we typically use a shortened form of the Divine Service, but during Advent, we've been using Evening Prayer.

SKPeterson said...

I use the LSB Daily Prayer for Individuals and Families with Portals of Prayer as my devotional. Right now I only do the Morning prayer regularly, but I'm working on making Evening and Close of the Day more regular. I then follow the suggested prayers for the day in Portals and in the LSB selecting from the prayers available on pgs. 305 - 318. On Saturdays I switch the order and doe the Lord's Prayer, Creed and Versicles from Responsive Prayer 2, while on Sundays I insert the Litany prior to the Lord's Prayer.

Chris Jones said...

I don't pray the Office regularly during the year, but during Lent I pray Lauds and Compline.

I use Winfred Douglas's edition of the Monastic Diurnal (published by Lancelot Andrewes Press) -- once an Anglo-Catholic, always an Anglo-Catholic, I guess.

Brian P Westgate said...

I use the Brotherhood Prayer Book for my daily prayers at the church.

Matthew said...

I'm without a call right now, and my church doesn't use any of the offices, but in my personal devotions I use Matins almost every morning with readings from the TDP.

Timothy C. Schenks said...

I've found the Kindle version of Treasury difficult to navigate (flipping back and forth between multiple pages is extremely difficult) so I tend to just use its daily readings accompanied by HT Reflections. I used to use the lamininated "Daily Prayer for Individuals and Families" from the Lutheran Service Book, which we've also used in the past at our congregation for elders and council meetings, as well as stocking them in our narthex for members to take home for family devotions.

organistsandra said...

At the beginning of 2011 I started using the journal that goes with the Lutheran Study Bible. With this one reads the Bible in two years, a chapter or 2 per day along with the notes at the bottom of the pages. After reflecting and writing, there is a prayer. Writing in a journal was new to me, is often hard, and takes time, but now when I hear or read a Bible passage it's meaningful to go back and see what struck me last time I thought on that passage. I won't quite finish in two years - looks like I'll finish in February. The journal has been helpful enough that it's finally gotten me to start a prayer journal of sorts - basically a list of people I want to pray for regularly, along with specific needs.

When we do family devotions, we use TDP, but that's sadly a bit hit and miss.

David Clapper said...

I use the TDP: Matins with the 2 LSB Lectionary lessons; Vespers with the LW Daily Lectionary lesson. I use the 30-day Psalm cycle. I would like to pray Compline on a daily basis but haven't worked that in yet.

When I have a chance (usually on weekends) I pray the Litany after lunch.

One "nuts and bolts" item - I sing the Offices and the Psalms. I've found that helpful for memorization. Although I read music, I used the "Daily Prayer" CD to cement them into my head.

Rebekah said...

I find the resource to which I always return for personal use is Loehe's Seed-Grains of Prayer.

William Weedon said...

Thanks to all who responded here and in private emails. Taft in his magisterial work on the Liturgy of the Hours in East and West, notes that in the West the pattern of "private recitation" sort of took over and what had been originally thought of by all Christians as the daily obligation to gather in church and sing morning praise and offer evensong came to be thought of more and more as a private act of devotion mostly limited to the clergy. In that regard, I find it of particular interest that in Magdeburg, the daily office continued in church with no hint of any private recitation that I can find; and the Mass was observed not daily but on the Lord's Day, Tuesday, and Thursday (and of course on feasts, which were not sparse).

Anonymous said...

Our church (St Athanasius Lutheran, Vienna VA) has morning prayer on the web, at 7am Eastern Time Monday through Friday. The readings are from the Treasury, I follow along with PrayNow. Intercessory prayers conclude the service.

All are welcome to join in at


Tapani Simojoki said...

I use Matins from TDP (almost) daily. I occasionally use TBPB, mainly for the Psalm prayers, and more occasionally Saint Dunstan's Psalter (from Lancelot Andrewes Press). I use the Psalm tones from the latter.
As a congregation, we sing Vespers in our Advent and Lent mid-week services.

Unknown said...

Fr. Weedon,

Thanks for posting this for your reading community to address.

As I expected (I'm sorry to say), not one of your respondents said that the church which he or she attends does not, even on occasion, offer Vespers or even Matins on Sundays or feast days. It's great to see people make use of them privately, but I don't think that even private devotions will increase unless the churches try to teach its parishioners that these are important and lead by example.

Why do Lutheran churches not have Vespers on Saturday/Sunday nights or Matins prior to Liturgy? Is it because there's more work from the pastor? Is that the only reason? Or is it because these offices are too Roman in character?

Those questions I would REALLY like answered.--Chris

William Weedon said...


I suspect the reason is similar to why it is rarely offered in Roman Churches. In the West (as Taft narrates) it long ago became more of a private than a public offering (hence, the existence of the Breviary as a private prayer book); and in most Lutheran Churches with Saturday services, it is (again as in Roman Churches), the Mass that is offered. At St. Paul's we offered the Divine Service three times over the weekend.

Standard practice at the time of the Reformation and for a long while afterwards, of course, was that Vespers was offered each Saturday even in the village churches and with it the opportunity for private confession.

Chris Jones said...

Why do Lutheran churches not have Vespers on Saturday/Sunday nights or Matins prior to Liturgy?

It is not just Lutheran Churches. Very few Churches of any denomination or confession make extensive use of the Office. It is certainly not the case that it would be "too Roman in character"; most (almost all) Roman Catholic parishes offer Mass daily, but I have never seen a Catholic parish that served Matins and Vespers on anything like a regular basis.

Nor is the reason "more work for the pastor"; there is in fact no need for the Office to be led by an ordained pastor. If any parish (Lutheran or otherwise) wanted to have the daily office on a regular basis, they could set up a rotation of people, both clerical and lay, to lead the service.

The only Church, in my experience, which serves the Office in parishes on a regular basis is the Orthodox Church. Parishes in the Slavic tradition serve Vespers or Vigil (which is Vespers followed by Matins) on Saturday evenings, and parishes in the Byzantine tradition (i.e. Greeks and Arabs) serve Matins before Liturgy on Sunday mornings. A few Orthodox parishes serve Vespers one or more evenings during the week; most do not.

In the end the answer to your question is that Lutheran parishes (and Roman, and Anglican, etc.) do not use the Office because they choose not to, presumably because they do not find value in it.

Chris said...


If the Lutheran churches (and other churches of the Western RIte) find no value in it, then there is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.

William Weedon said...

I suspect that the answer is not that they find no value in them; but rather that they are unaware of the treasure they have in them...

Chris Jones said...

unaware of the treasure

Perhaps so. But it is still a problem to be addressed. It occurs to me that, in your current call, you are in a unique position to address it (by heightening awareness, if nothing else).

William Weedon said...

Absolutely, Chris. Unpacking the treasure, helping folks to rejoice in the gift of their very own heritage as Lutheran (and so Western Catholic) Christians is key. So, for example, when the Campus Ministry Conference unfolds in a couple weeks, the entire framework? The Daily Office! Similarly, back at the International Conference on the Lutheran Confession, what shaped the daily worship? The Daily Office! It's a small beginning, but it's a beginning: help them to know it, then they'll love it!