“God, we praise you, now the night is over; active and watchful, stand we all before you; singing, we offer prayer and meditation: thus we adore you.” (Text attrib. to St. Gregory the Great)
I often wonder what life would be like if we all started the day with Morning Prayer. No matter our station or situation in life, we gather together to sing and prayer and psalms–sanctifying the day to God. What would our lives be like if we mindfully and intentionally began each day in this manner?
We have such an underused treasure of the church in the Liturgy of the Hours. Its roots are found in Judaism, back to the time of the Exodus. Faithful Jews offered morning and evening prayers. The Psalms are full of references to prayer in the morning and the evening. Prayer at specific times of the day were very common place. During the time of the Apostles we read that they devoted themselves to daily prayer.
Where can this practice of daily prayer fit into our busy lives? Morning Prayer includes the singing or reciting of various psalms; proclaiming a portion of scripture, singing the Canticle of Zechariah, and prayers asking for God’s guidance through the day.
There are many resources we can use to incorporate this practice in our daily lives. This can be done in our private prayer and also gathered with others at church or in someone’s home. What if we all began our days in Morning Prayer?
Here are a few links:
“As is clear from many of the elements that make it up, morning prayer is intended and arranged to sanctify the morning. St. Basil the Great gives an excellent description of this character in these words: “It is said in the morning in order that the first stirrings of our mind and will may be consecrated to God and that we may take nothing in hand until we have been gladdened by the thought of God, as it is written: ‘I was mindful of God and was glad’ (Ps 77:4 [Jerome’s translation from Hebrew]), or set our bodies to any task before we do what has been said: ‘I will pray to you, Lord, you will hear my voice in the morning; I will stand before you in the morning and gaze on you’ (Ps 5:4-5).”*
“Celebrated as it is as the light of a new day is dawning, this hour also recalls the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, the true light enlightening all people (see Jn 1:9) and “the sun of justice” (Mal 4:2), “rising from on high” (Lk 1:78). Hence, we can well understand the advice of St. Cyprian: “There should be prayer in the morning so that the resurrection of the Lord may thus be celebrated.”*
*General Instruction on the Liturgy of the Hours, no. 38.