Daily Prayer

About the Daily Office

Prayers said at particular times of the day are a part of many religious traditions; setting aside regular times to focus on the divine presence helps the faithful to practice an awareness of that presence at all times. Early Christians, steeped in Jewish temple and synagogue rites, developed a rich daily cycle of prayer services (the Divine Office, or Liturgy of the Hours) built around the singing of the Psalms, forming a complement to the weekly celebration of the Eucharist.

These services are still part of Christian practice. The Anglican Churches have an especially strong tradition of praying – often singing – the Office, and St. David’s has, until recent events, offered Daily Morning and Evening Prayer and a chorally sung Sunday Compline.

The Offices are ideally prayed in community, though in practice they can be, and often are, prayed by individuals (who still form a community, albeit one dispersed in time and/or space!). Today, when physical gatherings are largely impossible, both individual prayer and that offered by groups connected by the Internet can be rich resources for the spiritual life.

St. David’s has developed several different ways to help you pray the Office:

  • Sunday sung Morning Prayer (podcast, sung by cantor) more platforms coming soon!
  • Sunday sung Compline (webcast, sung by choir)
  • Wednesday spoken Evening Prayer (Zoom)
  • Compline to learn to pray (sing) on your own, daily or anytime (podcast, sung by cantor) coming soon!

About Morning Prayer

Daily Morning Prayer is the first service in the Book of Common Prayer (page 37 / 75) and the ideal beginning to every day and every week.

The main components of the service as provided here are:

  • the Invitatory Psalm (95). the Psalms appointed for the occasion,
  • a Lesson appointed for the occasion (in this case, usually from the Gospels, since the Sunday Office has its own semi-continuous cycle of Gospel readings),
  • the Song of Zechariah,
  • Prayers, some fixed and some appointed for the occasion,
  • a Hymn for the season or feast,
  • The Psalms and Song of Zechariah are bookended with antiphons reflecting some theme of the reading or of the occasion.

St. David’s offers Morning Prayer for each Sunday, sung by a cantor to traditional chant, for you to listen to and pray with on Sunday or at any time during the week. 

About Evening Prayer

Daily Evening Prayer (Book of Common Prayer, page 61 / 115) has a similar structure to Daily Morning Prayer. Like Morning Prayer, it can also be sung, and when sung elaborately it is often known as Evensong (an older name for the service).

The main components of the service as thus offered are:

  • Confession of Sin
  • ‘O gracious Light’, an early Christian hymn
  • the Psalms appointed for the occasion
  • two Lessons (Scripture readings) appointed for the occasion, followed respectively by
  • the Song of Mary (Luke 1.46–55) and Song of Simeon (Luke 2.29–32)
  • the Apostles’ Creed
  • Prayers, some fixed and some appointed for the occasion, including
  • Prayers for the persons and concerns listed on the parish prayer list, with opportunity for free intercession
  • Concluding prayers

Currently St. David’s offers spoken Evening Prayer on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. via Zoom, with a special emphasis on prayers for the parish. Join worship leaders for Rite II Wednesday Evening Prayer. Once you register, the Zoom link will be provided in your confirmation email. The weekly booklet is also available for download on the website (column on the left).

About Compline

Compline is the last of the daily Offices (the round of services of psalmody and prayer in the traditional liturgy of the Western Church), sung before retiring for the evening.

Compline (Book of Common Prayer, page 127), so named from the Latin verb meaning ‘to fulfil or complete’, has its origins in the bedtime prayers of early Christians living in community. At first it was prayed by individuals in their own rooms; later it was formalized and sung together in church. St. David’s offers Compline sung by a chamber choir every Sunday at 8:00 pm, enriched by one or two a cappella anthems.

The service as sung at St. David’s consists mainly of the following:

  • Confession of Sin
  • Psalmody
  • a short Lesson (Scripture reading)
  • a Hymn related to night-time or the season or feast
  • a Responsory (a certain form of chant)
  • Prayers
  • The Song of Simeon (Luke 2.29–32)
  • an Anthem

The Psalms and Song of Simeon are bookended with antiphons reflecting some theme of the reading or of the occasion. Compline at St. David’s is often preceded by another anthem, here called the Orison.

Since 1986, this short, meditative service has been offered on Sundays by the St. David’s Compline Choir. This small ensemble of experienced singers, led for some 30 years by Dr. David Stevens, director of music, sings Gregorian chant, Elizabethan and Tudor motets, and a variety of contemporary hymns. It is live-streamed on Facebook and on stdave.org.