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The Daily Office Tutorial, part IV: Noonday Prayer

October 20, 2010

If you’ve read through and prayed the services of Morning and Evening Prayer a few times now, you realize how easy it actually is once you get into the pattern of it.  So, are you ready for the next step?  The Order of Service for Noonday is a delightful, brief, and effective midday prayer, perfect for use at your desk, over lunch, or perhaps just during a quick break.

Got your BCP’s handy?  You won’t need a Bible for this short service.

The Daily Office Tutorial, part IV
Noonday Prayer

 

This is arguably the shortest and easiest prayer service in the 1979 Daily Office – it practically reads straight through.  Turn with me to p. 103 in your BCP’s and let us pray.

 

1.  Opening Words These are identical to the opening words from Evening Prayer and are likewise followed by the Gloria Patri, adding the “Alleluia” if not in Lent.

 

2.  A Hymn Right below the Gloria Patri, you’ll see a rubric which indicates a suitable hymn may be sung here.  If you’re not singing the office you may skip right over this.  Alternatively, you may recite the traditional noonday prayer hymn, the text of which does not appear in the BCP.  Lucky for you, I have it right here:

O God of truth, O Lord of might,
Who order’st time and change aright,
Bright’ning the morn with golden gleams,
Kindling the noonday’s fiery beams.

Extinguish thou each sinful fire,
And banish every ill desire:
And while thou keep’st the body whole,
Shed forth thy peace upon the soul.

Almighty Father, hear our cry,
Through Jesus Christ our Lord most high,
Who, with the Holy Ghost and thee,
Doth live and reign eternally.  Amen.

 

3.  The Psalm Still on p. 103, you’ll see the rubric that says one or more of the following psalms is said, and it gives a few options for alternate psalms as well.  Looking at p. 103-105 you’ll see that three psalms or portions thereof are printed for you: Psalm 119: 105-112, Psalm 121, and Psalm 126.  Go ahead and select one of those to pray.  At the end of the Psalm, just like always in the Daily Office, the Gloria Patri is said.  You should not be at the bottom of p. 105.

 

4.  Passage of Scripture At the bottom of p. 105, the rubric instructs you that one of the following passages of Scripture is said.  There’s one on the bottom of p. 105, and two on the top of p. 106 from which to choose.  Again, even if you’re by yourself, go ahead and say the People’s response: Thanks be to God.

 

5.  Silence After the passage of Scripture is read, shhhhh!  (A short comment or homily may be preached here if this Office is being prayed in church or on a retreat or something, but preaching to oneself over lunch is generally not recommended.)  Then, when you’re ready to move on…

 

6.  The Prayers The prayers begin on p. 106 with the the tri-fold Kyrie: Lord, have mercy.  Christ, have mercy.  Lord, have mercy.  The italicized middle part – Christ, have mercy. – would be the people’s response if more than one of you are praying together.

Then is said the Lord’s Prayer.  Be careful!  In the Noonday Prayer office, they truncate the familiar doxological ending: “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.”  If you’re praying this is a group and everyone else is paying attention except you, you’ll feel like a Roman Catholic at an Episcopal service.  If you really want to say it, go ahead, God will still be praised.  If you want to know why the ending was removed, ask your priest.

An invitation to prayer follows – again, even if by yourself, go ahead and say this.  Remember, you may be physically by yourself, but you are joining countless others in the praying of the service.

Then, on p. 107,  you have a choice of one of four collects.  Pick your favorite, or cycle through them.  If desired, the Collect of the Day may be said instead.

Penultimately, intercessions or thanksgivings may be offered.  Take advantage of this time to pray for anything or anyone who’s been on your mind and your heart.  Don’t forget anything troubling you’re going through either!

Finally, the service concludes with the standard blessing – Let us bless the Lord.  Thanks be to God.

 

That’s it, Noonday Prayer!  Try it today at lunchtime, it’ll take you all of five minutes!

 

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