URC :: Spirituality

broadening and deepening prayer
United Reformed Church Spirituality articles:

Using a daily office

Mark Argent
4 August 2018

Some people are naturally drawn to a relatively free structure for prayer from day to day, but others find a greater freedom, or a greater stability, in a regular pattern.

For Anglicans, there is the pattern of morning and evening prayer, and many communities and churches have their own forms. In essence, these give a stable framework, within which some of the prayers change by the day or by the season, and each time of prayer uses different readings.

I’ve a wonderfully free-spirited friend who had an early dalliance with the Benedictines, but left, finding the structure too rigid, who has since re-connected with this way of prayer. She now likens it to a window frame: it has the stability to let you look out to glimpse God beyond. I’ve another friend who likes his life to be ordered, for whom the stability of the rhythm echoes the stability he finds in being rooted in God.

There’s also a shared dimension: people don’t usually create their own daily offices, so there is a sense of praying with others, because of using the same prayer, even if you are not with them. The sense is of a prayer, and an experience of God, that is both private and shared.

Many people in the URC are using the Daily Devotions. Others cast around for something that suits in another denomination, or a community like the Iona Community or the Northumbria Community. Online there is a large and growing range of web sites that provide daily prayer — with the advantage that they usually add the readings for the day, and some use technology to deepen the prayer.