“The Liturgy of the Hours, also known as the Divine Office…is the daily prayer of the Church, marking the hours of each day and sanctifying the day with prayer. The Hours are a meditative dialogue on the mystery of Christ, using scripture and prayer,” USCCB tells us. Praying the Liturgy of the Hours is a great way to exercise the priesthood we are all baptized into. After all, its form flows from and into the Mass.
Here are 5 ways praying at least one of the hours per day will change your life:
1. You’ll get to know Scripture better
The Liturgy of the Hours is steeped in Scripture! Each hour has verses from the Psalms, a canticle from the Epistle or Book of Revelation, a reading from Scripture, and recitation of the Lord’s Prayer. Morning Prayer also includes the Benedictus (Canticle of Zechariah) and Evening Prayer includes the Magnificat (Canticle of Mary). There is also the Office of Readings for each day. So much Scripture!
2. It will keep you in the presence of God all day long
When you’re praying periodically throughout the day, it is easier to keep yourself in the presence of God even when you’re not sitting down to pray. The more you give to Him purposefully, the more you will make a habit of remembering His constant presence.
3. You’ll be in sync with the Liturgical Year
The Liturgy of the Hours follows the Liturgical Year and has antiphons or Psalms and readings picked out specifically for that time of year. In the middle of Lent? You’ll be in the desert with Christ while praying the Liturgy of the Hours. Celebrating the joy of Christmas? Liturgy of the Hours will be right there with you. Not sure where you are? Liturgy of the Hours will orient you!
4. You’ll learn about the saints
The Liturgy of the Hours also commemorates major (and sometimes more obscure!) feast days of saints. On their memorials and feasts, you’ll pray Psalms, readings, and prayers that remind you of their life. It also gives a little background on each saint or feast so that you can know about the major players of the faith. Ever heard of the Seven Founders of the Order of Servites or Saint Pancras? Now you will!
5. It will bring a rhythm to your life
Each of the six hours of the Liturgy of the Hours are prayed every three hours– at 6am, 9am, 12pm, 3pm, 6pm, and 9pm. Praying this way will naturally bring a rhythm to your life. You will start to see yourself completing tasks in a more rhythmic way and in time to pray each of the hours. Perhaps you will find yourself wanting those moments of silent prayer to bring breaks to the day and refresh your soul. You may even fall into a better sleep routine and get better sleep! Don’t worry if you can’t pray the hours exactly on time. Just stopping periodically throughout the day for prayer is a beautiful thing!
How do you start praying the Liturgy of the Hours?
The Liturgy of the Hours is the universal prayer of the Church. It is so beautiful to be connected with God in such a purposeful way throughout the day. Want to get started? Pick up a copy of Christian Prayer! If apps are more your speed, check out Unversalis’s app. Another great app that includes other Catholic prayers, readings, and novenas is Laudate– find it on Google Play here or for your iPhone here.