Schedule of worship
Pray the Daily Office online:
“The Daily Office” or “the Liturgy of the Hours” is the historic Christian system of “fixed-hour prayer” (that is, praying at set times throughout the day)—a rhythm characteristic of all three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The basic principle is, in essence, no different from observing set meal-times in a family, or regular date-nights with a partner; discipline is a healthy ingredient in any relationship—be it with God or a human being, with your pet or your garden. Set times of prayer carried over into Christianity from Judaism, and The Acts of the Apostles tells of the disciples of Jesus “going up to the temple at the time for prayer” (3:1).
These earliest Christians were simply observing the fixed-hours of worship common to Judaism, and the practice continued throughout the life of the early Church. The Psalmist declared “seven times a day I praise you” (119:164), and Christians followed suit, offering set prayers anywhere from two (common for householders) to eight (as in Benedictine monasticism) times daily. Stopping consciously in this way throughout the day was a way of calling oneself back to awareness and into praise. Never could you “fall asleep” for too long, living always between times of prayer, prayer gradually coming to permeate the whole of your day.
The Daily Office continues as the central prayer practice of the Anglican/Episcopal tradition, and our Book of Common Prayer (pp. 74-135) provides forms for four prayer-times—morning, noonday, evening, and nighttime, with Morning and Evening Prayer understood as primary or principal offices. In addition, it offers abbreviated forms of the Office under the heading "Daily Devotions for Families and Individuals" (pp. 136-140). Significantly, these prayers are corporate; not private devotions to be offered in any form or anytime, but set, shared prayers that bind Christians together across distance and through time, as we stop together to sanctify the day.
Scripture is read daily during the morning and evening Offices, cycling through almost the entirety of the Hebrew Bible every two years, the New Testament annually, and the book of Psalms every seven weeks. In this way, we don't simply "study" Scripture, but pray it, forming in ourselves a "scriptural imagination" and engaging the texts of the Bible well beyond what we would hear in the Sunday lectionary alone.
Members of St. Gregory's currently gather twice a week to pray the Daily Office together: Evening Prayer on Thursdays at 5:00 pm and Morning Prayer on Fridays at 8:00. In addition, a number of parishioners pray the Office daily at home, either as an occasional or a regular practice. Ask around church if you'd like to learn more, or find someone to discuss the Scripture readings of the day with! For a helpful and in-depth introduction to this practice you might read Robert Benson’s In Constant Prayer or Grace at This Time: Praying the Daily Office by C. W. McPherson.