Morning Prayer in 20 Steps
Morning Prayer is a wonderful way to begin the day. It's not difficult to manage, once you've been through it once or twice. It's great to do with 150 people, ten people, two, or alone with the Lord.
Below is a step-by-step outline for you to follow. Don't let the details bog you down. Once you do it a couple of times, it will begin to flow.
Some tips before you begin:
- Don't rush. If there is a time constraint, take the liberty to leave out the canticles or just read only the daily Psalms.
- Relish the words. Take your time. Ruminate on what you're praying and saying to the Lord.
- When you pray/read plural pronouns like "we" or "our" when you are going through the service alone, realize that others elsewhere are praying the Office with you and you are joining your voice with a long line of Christian prayers to God.
- Come to the scripture readings with open hearts and minds. Come to the Bible believing that God is speaking through his living Word to you.
- You can find the daily scripture readings and canticles at this site.
- The regular use of Morning Prayer will give you structure and insight for the purpose of strengthening your inner life. Commit to doing it for a week, become familiar with the flow, and trust the Holy Spirit to meet you in the prayers and scripture.
- If you do not have a copy of the Book of Common Prayer, click here for an online version.
Morning Prayer begins on page 75 in the Book of Common Prayer.
1) To start the service, go through and say, pray, or meditate on any of the verses which appear on pages 75, 76, 77, and 78. They are organized according to the liturgical seasons.
2) Begin the service on page 79 with the Confession of Sin. Take a few moments before to acknowledge your need for grace. Then pray:
Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.
3) Pray the Prayer of Absolution, realizing that God's forgiveness is declared over you in Christ.
Almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you all your sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen you in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep you in eternal life.
4) After the Confession, consider God's great mercy and his desire to forgive you your sins.
5) Then move to a posture of praise. Pray the Invitatory on page 80: "Lord, open our lips/And our mouth shall proclaim your praise."
6) Read the Psalm for today. The first Psalm is for the Morning. The second is for the Evening.
7) After reading/praying the Psalm, move on to page 82 and pray one or more of the Canticles. Christ our Passover—the Pascha Nostrum—is below:
Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us;
therefore let us keep the feast,
not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil,
but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Alleluia.
Christ being raised from the dead will never die again;
death no longer has dominion over him.
The death that he died, he died to sin, once for all;
but the life he lives, he lives to God.
So also consider yourselves dead to sin, and alive to God in Jesus Christ our Lord. Alleluia.
Christ has been raised from the dead,
the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
For since by a man came death,
by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.
For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. Alleluia.
8) Then move on to page 84 and read the lesson for the day from the Old Testament.
9) After hearing God's Word in the Old Testament, respond in worship by reciting another canticle. Pick any from pages 85–96.
10) Then read the New Testament reading.
11) Then read the gospel reading for the day.
12) Recite one more canticle as you respond to the Word of God.
13) Then read the Apostles' Creed on page 96. Remember that reciting these words is an act of worship, just like singing or praying, as we acknowledge the deep truths of the Christian faith.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth;
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried. He descended into hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
14) Having confessed our sins, received forgiveness, listened to and responded to God's Word, we move to "The Prayers" on page 97. This is our chance to come before the Lord in prayer.
15) Pray the Lord's Prayer—fifty-seven words that changed the world. This was our Lord's recommendation for how to pray well. Take your time. Don't let your familiarity with these words take you away from their richness and breadth.
16) Use Suffrage A to help you focus prayers of intecession on specific concerns.
V. O Lord, show thy mercy upon us;
R. And grant us thy salvation.
V. Endue thy ministers with righteousness;
R. And make thy chosen people joyful.
V. Give peace, O Lord, in all the world;
R. For only in thee can we live in safety.
V. Lord, keep this nation under thy care;
R. And guide us in the way of justice and truth.
V. Let thy way be known upon earth;
R. Thy saving health among all nations.
V. Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten;
R. Nor the hope of the poor be taken away.
V. Create in us clean hearts, O God;
R. And sustain us with your Holy Spirit.
17) Then pray one of the collects found on pages 99–101.
18) After praying the collect, there is a time for free intercession and prayer. Usually by this time in the Morning Prayer service, I've read so much scripture and prayed such powerful written prayers, that I am very centered and focused for a time of meditation or contemplation. Let the Spirit lead you and guide you here as you pray.
19) Once you sense the time is right to conclude, pray to God the General Thanksgiving on page 71, or the Prayer of St. John Chrysostom on page 102 (included below):
Almighty God, you have given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplication to you; and you have promised through your well-beloved Son that when two or three are gathered together in his Name you will be in the midst of them: Fulfill now, O Lord, our desires and petitions as may be best for us; granting us in this world knowledge of your truth, and in the age to come life everlasting.
20) Conclude with the final words at the bottom of page 102.
Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.