Thy Kingdom Come: Day 2

Since ancient times, believers have set aside specific times of each day at which to pray. It’s a way to give rhythm to our day, inviting God to be a constant part of our daily lives and observe St Paul’s encouragement to ‘pray without ceasing.’

Traditionally, priests and religious, such as monks and nuns, have kept seven of these ‘Hours,’ but for many Christians worldwide, the major hours have been:

  • Morning Prayer – on waking or near the start of the day
  • Evening Prayer – late afternoon or early evening (churches and cathedrals typically observe this anywhere between 3pm and 6pm)
  • Compline or Night Prayer – at night, usually not long before going to bed

We sometimes call this pattern of prayer the Divine Office (literally a ‘godly duty’) or simply Daily Prayer. You don’t have to pray every office, and you may find it helpful to begin developing a daily habit of prayer by keeping just one or two, such as Compline, at the very end of the day. It’s something you can pray on your own or with others. In Prescot, we encourage you to join us on our Facebook page, when we broadcast a live service of Night Prayer at 9.30pm each day.

Some parts of each office:

  • Psalms – readings from the Old Testament book of Psalms, an ancient collection of prayers and hymns
  • Scripture – at Morning and Evening Prayer two readings, from both the Old and New Testaments
  • Responsory – a ‘call and response’ type of prayer, where you may say both parts yourself or, in a group, have a leader speak and the group read the responses together
  • Canticles – a hymn or piece of poetry, usually from the Bible, such as the Song of Zechariah (the Benedictus, Luke 1.68-79) at Morning Prayer or the Song of Mary (the Magnificat, Luke 1.46-55) at Evening Prayer
  • Intercessions & Thanksgiving – prayers for ourselves & others, which may vary depending on our needs
  • Collect – a prayer that sum up all our prayers for the day, often reflecting the theme of a holy day or saint’s day
  • The Lord’s Prayer – the prayer Jesus himself taught us, beginning, ‘Our Father, who art in heaven’ (read it here)
  • Blessing – a final prayer asking God to bless and remain with us

Download the Daily Prayer app

On Day 2 of Thy Kingdom Come, we are encouraging you to pray one or more of the offices. In the Church of England, we use the book Common Worship: Daily Prayer, but you don’t need your own copy. You can follow the words or listen to a recording on the Church of England website, or download the free Daily Prayer mobile app from the App Store (for Apple) or Google Play (for Android), depending on your device.

Join others online for Daily Prayer

We’ll be sharing the three main offices on the Prescot Parish Facebook page today. You don’t need a Facebook account simply to listen and pray along:

  • 9am Morning Prayer, live from the Lady Chapel of Liverpool Cathedral
  • 5.30pm Evening Prayer, live from the Lady Chapel of Liverpool Cathedral
  • 9.30pm Compline, or Night Prayer, a live broadcast led by our own David Kernick each night

Tips for praying Daily Prayer

  • Find a place where you feel relaxed and undistracted
  • If you don’t have a quiet place, create your own inner place of quiet – close your eyes if you need to, and take a few deep breaths to settle yourself in preparation
  • Sit or kneel in whatever way feels comfortable
  • Create a prayer space by lighting a candle or placing a religious image in front of you, as a focal point to help you keep your attention on God
  • You may speak out loud, under your breath or simply follow the words in silence
  • Take your time
  • Intercessions and thanksgiving are a chance for you to bring before God the things that are on your mind. There are no rules to what words you use, if any. You may find the following general topics helpful, however:
    • Thank God for the good things, however big or small
    • Pray for the Church, both worldwide and locally
    • Pray for all in positions of power and authority
    • Pray for people in your community
    • Pray for the wider world – national and international issues
    • Pray for all who are sick and who care for them
    • Pray for the souls of all who have died, and for all who mourn them