Your Life Matters
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Your Life Matters

The Liturgy of the Hours

A Short Prayer Book and Introduction to the Daily Office

The following contains a one week prayer book (which could certainly be used for many weeks in a row). Each day is divided into five prayer times, with one psalm to be prayed for each office. The division of the psalms is a traditional one adapted from the Saint Meinrad Prayer Book.

In addition to the psalms, morning readings from the Gospels or epistles have been added. The selection of Gospel readings has been inspired by Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship; key quotations from this text have been included as well.

Recommended Use

The user should adjust this book to their personal rule of life. Not everyone will be able to break away to pray five times per day. Adapt as needed. Also, avoid legalism at all costs. Don’t feel guilty if you miss a reading or a day; life happens. This is not about checking a box, it is about spening time with Christ.

Here is how I would use this prayer book:

Early Morning Prayer would be my longest office of the day. I would engage the assigned psalm and Gospel reading using the principles of lectio divina, while leaving ample time to practice silence and stillness in God’s presence. Here are the steps for lectio:

Lectio: Read the passage below a few times slowly (out loud, if possible). Focus on the words and your breathing. Imagine yourself as being in the story of the text. Do not rush. This is not something to simply get done or accomplish.

Meditatio: Read it again. Reflect or meditate on the passage. This is not about emptying your mind, it is about focusing your heart and mind on the word of God. Think deeply about parts of the passage that stand out to you. Let the words sink in — do not rush. Repeat a key phrase or passage over and over and dwell on the words. Be content to go slowly.

Oratio: Respond to God. Pray and talk with God about the passage. Or, read the passage again (out loud, as a prayer or plea to God). Tell Him how you are feeling. Ask God how this passage applies to you.

Contemplatio: Listen to God. Wait patiently for Him. Praise Him.

The two daytime prayers would be very short. I am typically at work when I do this. I simply read the psalm quietly to myself and try to spend a few moments practicing the presence of Christ. I use this time as a mini-Sabbath from work. It helps me recognize that my work will never end, and that my ultimate purpose in life is to come back to God. I have found this practice is essential to helping me focus my mind on Christ throughout the day.

I typically conduct evening prayer after putting my son to sleep. I spend ten or fifteen minutes meditating on the pslam. Compline is similar, but is right before bed.

Sunday

Photo by Oleg Magni from Pexels

Early Morning Prayer (Vigils or Lauds)

Psalm 1 (NIV): The Two Ways

1 Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither —
whatever they do prospers.

4 Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

6 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

Gospel Reading

Mark 2:13–14 (NRSV)

13 Jesus went out again beside the sea; the whole crowd gathered around him, and he taught them. 14 As he was walking along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him.

At the call, Levi leaves all that he has — but not because he thinks he might be doing something worthwhile, but simply for the sake of the call. Otherwise he cannot follow in the steps of Jesus. This act on Levi’s part has not the slightest value in itself, it is quite devoid of significance and unworthy of consideration. The disciple simply burns his boats and goes ahead. He is called out, and has to forsake his old life in order that he may “exist” in the strictest sense of the word. The old life is left behind, and completely surrendered. The disciple is dragged out of his relative security into a life of absolute insecurity (that is, in truth, into the absolute security and safety of the fellowship of Jesus)….Discipleship means adherence to Christ.

-Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

Mid-Morning Prayer (Terce)

Psalm 63 (NLT): Longing for God

A psalm of David, regarding a time when David was in the wilderness of Judah.

1 O God, you are my God;
I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
where there is no water.
2 I have seen you in your sanctuary
and gazed upon your power and glory.
3 Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
how I praise you!
4 I will praise you as long as I live,
lifting up my hands to you in prayer.
5 You satisfy me more than the richest feast.
I will praise you with songs of joy.

6 I lie awake thinking of you,
meditating on you through the night.
7 Because you are my helper,
I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.
8 I cling to you;
your strong right hand holds me securely.

9 But those plotting to destroy me will come to ruin.
They will go down into the depths of the earth.
10 They will die by the sword
and become the food of jackals.
11 But the king will rejoice in God.
All who swear to tell the truth will praise him,
while liars will be silenced.

Afternoon Prayer (Sext or None)

Ecclesiastes 3:1–15 (NRSV)

Everything Has Its Time

3 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

The God-Given Task

9 What gain have the workers from their toil? 10 I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. 11 He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; 13 moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil. 14 I know that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has done this, so that all should stand in awe before him. 15 That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already is; and God seeks out what has gone by.

Evening Prayer (Vespers)

Psalm 118 (NKJV): A Processional Song of Praise

Praise to God for His Everlasting Mercy

118 Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.

2 Let Israel now say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
3 Let the house of Aaron now say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
4 Let those who fear the Lord now say,
“His mercy endures forever.”

5 I called on the Lord in distress;
The Lord answered me and set me in a broad place.
6 The Lord is on my side;
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?
7 The Lord is for me among those who help me;
Therefore I shall see my desire on those who hate me.
8 It is better to trust in the Lord
Than to put confidence in man.
9 It is better to trust in the Lord
Than to put confidence in princes.

10 All nations surrounded me,
But in the name of the Lord I will destroy them.
11 They surrounded me,
Yes, they surrounded me;
But in the name of the Lord I will destroy them.
12 They surrounded me like bees;
They were quenched like a fire of thorns;
For in the name of the Lord I will destroy them.
13 You pushed me violently, that I might fall,
But the Lord helped me.
14 The Lord is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation.

15 The voice of rejoicing and salvation
Is in the tents of the righteous;
The right hand of the Lord does valiantly.
16 The right hand of the Lord is exalted;
The right hand of the Lord does valiantly.
17 I shall not die, but live,
And declare the works of the Lord.
18 The Lord has chastened me severely,
But He has not given me over to death.

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness;
I will go through them,
And I will praise the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord,
Through which the righteous shall enter.

21 I will praise You,
For You have answered me,
And have become my salvation.

22 The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This was the Lord’s doing;
It is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it.

25 Save now, I pray, O Lord;
O Lord, I pray, send now prosperity.
26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
We have blessed you from the house of the Lord.
27 God is the Lord,
And He has given us light;
Bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.
28 You are my God, and I will praise You;
You are my God, I will exalt You.

29 Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.

Bedtime Prayer (Compline)

Psalm 4 (NIV): Night Prayer

For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm of David.

1 Answer me when I call to you,
my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

2 How long will you people turn my glory into shame?
How long will you love delusions and seek false gods
3 Know that the Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself;
the Lord hears when I call to him.

4 Tremble and do not sin;
when you are on your beds,
search your hearts and be silent.
5 Offer the sacrifices of the righteous
and trust in the Lord.

6 Many, Lord, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?”
Let the light of your face shine on us.
7 Fill my heart with joy
when their grain and new wine abound.

8 In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, Lord,
make me dwell in safety.

Monday

Early Morning Prayer (Vigils or Lauds)

Psalm 5 (NCB): Morning Prayer

1 For the director with flutes. A psalm of David.

2 Listen to my words, O Lord;
pay heed to my sighs.
3 Hear my cry for help,
my King and my God;
for to you I pray.
4 O Lord, at daybreak you hear my voice;
at daybreak I bring my petition before you
and await your reply.
5 For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
evil cannot remain in your presence.
6 The arrogant shrink before your gaze;
you hate all who do evil.
7 You destroy all who tell lies;
the Lord detests the violent and the deceitful.
8 But I will enter your house
because of your great kindness,
and I will bow down in your holy temple,
filled with awe of you.
9 Lead me in your ways of righteousness, O Lord,
for I am surrounded by enemies;
make your path straight before me.
10 For there is nothing trustworthy in their mouth
their heart devises treacherous schemes.
Their throat is a wide open grave;
with their tongue they utter flattery.
11 Punish them, O God;
may their intrigues result in their downfall.
Cast them out because of their many transgressions,
for they have rebelled against you.
12 But may all who take refuge in you rejoice;
may they shout for joy forever.
Grant them your protection
so that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
13 Truly, you bless the righteous, O Lord;
you surround them with your goodwill as with a shield.

Gospel Reading

Mark 8:34–38 (NRSV)

34 He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. 36 For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37 Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38 Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

The cross is laid on every Christian. The first Christ-suffering which every man must experience is the call to abandon the attachments of this world. It is that dying of the old man which is the result of his encounter with Christ. As we embark upon discipleship we surrender ourselves to Christ in union with his death — we give over our lives to death. Thus it begins; the cross is not the terrible end to an otherwise godfearing and happy life, but it meets us at the beginning of our communion with Christ. When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.

-Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

Midmorning Prayer (Terce)

Psalm 6 (NRSVA): A Prayer in Time of Need

To the leader: with stringed instruments; according to The Sheminith. A Psalm of David.

1 O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger,
or discipline me in your wrath.
2 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing;
O Lord, heal me, for my bones are shaking with terror.
3 My soul also is struck with terror,
while you, O Lord — how long?

4 Turn, O Lord, save my life;
deliver me for the sake of your steadfast love.
5 For in death there is no remembrance of you;
in Sheol who can give you praise?

6 I am weary with my moaning;
every night I flood my bed with tears;
I drench my couch with my weeping.
7 My eyes waste away because of grief;
they grow weak because of all my foes.

8 Depart from me, all you workers of evil,
for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping.
9 The Lord has heard my supplication;
the Lord accepts my prayer.
10 All my enemies shall be ashamed and struck with terror;
they shall turn back, and in a moment be put to shame.

Afternoon Prayer (Sext or None)

Psalm 19 (CSB): The Witness of Creation and Scripture

For the choir director. A psalm of David.

1 The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the expanse proclaims the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour out speech;
night after night they communicate knowledge.
3 There is no speech; there are no words;
their voice is not heard.
4 Their message has gone out to the whole earth,
and their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun.
5 It is like a bridegroom coming from his home;
it rejoices like an athlete running a course.
6 It rises from one end of the heavens
and circles to their other end;
nothing is hidden from its heat.

7 The instruction of the Lord is perfect,
renewing one’s life;
the testimony of the Lord is trustworthy,
making the inexperienced wise.
8 The precepts of the Lord are right,
making the heart glad;
the command of the Lord is radiant,
making the eyes light up.
9 The fear of the Lord is pure,
enduring forever;
the ordinances of the Lord are reliable
and altogether righteous.
10 They are more desirable than gold —
than an abundance of pure gold;
and sweeter than honey
dripping from a honeycomb.
11 In addition, your servant is warned by them,
and in keeping them there is an abundant reward.

12 Who perceives his unintentional sins?
Cleanse me from my hidden faults.
13 Moreover, keep your servant from willful sins;
do not let them rule me.
Then I will be blameless
and cleansed from blatant rebellion.
14 May the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable to you,
Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.

Evening Prayer (Vespers)

Psalm 16 (NIRV): True Happiness

A miktam of David.

1 My God, keep me safe.
I go to you for safety.

2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord.
Without you, I don’t have anything that is good.”
3 I say about God’s people who live in our land, “They are the noble ones.
I take great delight in them.”
4 Those who run after other gods
will suffer more and more.
I will not pour out offerings of blood to those gods.
My lips will not speak their names.

5 Lord, you alone are everything I need.
You make my life secure.
6 I am very pleased with what you have given me.
I am very happy with what I’ve received from you.

7 I will praise the Lord. He gives me good advice.
Even at night my heart teaches me.
8 I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
He is at my right hand.
So I will always be secure.

9 So my heart is glad. Joy is on my tongue.
My body also will be secure.
10 You will not leave me in the place of the dead.
You will not let your faithful one rot away.
11 You always show me the path of life.
You will fill me with joy when I am with you.
You will make me happy forever at your right hand.

Bedtime Prayer (Compline)

Psalm 91 (ESV): My Refuge and my Fortress

1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
5 You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.

9 Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place —
the Most High, who is my refuge —
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.

11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

Tuesday

Early Morning Prayer (Vigils or Lauds)

Psalm 10 (CEB): A Prayer for Justice

1 Why do you stand so far away, Lord,
hiding yourself in troubling times?
2 Meanwhile, the wicked are proudly
in hot pursuit of those who suffer.
Let them get caught
in the very same schemes they’ve thought up!

3 The wicked brag about their body’s cravings;
the greedy reject the Lord, cursing.
4 At the peak of their wrath,
the wicked don’t seek God:
There’s no God —
that’s what they are always thinking.
5 Their ways are always twisted.
Your rules are too lofty for them.
They snort at all their foes.
6 They think to themselves,
We’ll never stumble.
We’ll never encounter any resistance.
7 Their mouths are filled
with curses, dishonesty, violence.
Under their tongues lie
troublemaking and wrongdoing.
8 They wait in a place perfect for ambush;
from their hiding places
they kill innocent people;
their eyes spot those who are helpless.
9 They lie in ambush
in secret places,
like a lion in its lair.
They lie in ambush
so they can seize those who suffer!
They seize the poor, all right,
dragging them off in their nets.
10 Their helpless victims are crushed;
they collapse, falling prey to the strength of the wicked.
11 The wicked think to themselves:
God has forgotten.
God has hidden his face.
God never sees anything!

12 Get up, Lord!
Get your fist ready, God!
Don’t forget the ones who suffer!
13 Why do the wicked reject God?
Why do they think to themselves
that you won’t find out?
14 But you do see!
You do see troublemaking and grief,
and you do something about it!
The helpless leave it all to you.
You are the orphan’s helper.

15 Break the arms of those
who are wicked and evil.
Seek out their wickedness
until there’s no more to find.
16 The Lord rules forever and always!
The nations will vanish from his land.

17 Lord, you listen to the desires of those who suffer.
You steady their hearts;
you listen closely to them,
18 to establish justice
for the orphan and the oppressed,
so that people of the land
will never again be terrified.

Epistle Reading

Philippians 2:1–18 (NRSV)

1 If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, 2 make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. 5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,

6 who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
7 but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
8 he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death —
even death on a cross.

9 Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

12 Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

14 Do all things without murmuring and arguing, 15 so that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine like stars in the world. 16 It is by your holding fast to the word of life that I can boast on the day of Christ that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out as a libation over the sacrifice and the offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you — 18 and in the same way you also must be glad and rejoice with me.

Cheap grace is grace without discipleshp, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate. Costly grace is the treasure in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble; it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him. Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.

-Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

Midmorning Prayer (Terce)

Psalm 24 (NIV): The Lord of Glory

Of David. A psalm.

1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
2 for he founded it on the seas
and established it on the waters.

3 Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not trust in an idol
or swear by a false god.

5 They will receive blessing from the Lord
and vindication from God their Savior.
6 Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek your face, God of Jacob.

7 Lift up your heads, you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
the Lord mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is he, this King of glory?
The Lord Almighty —
he is the King of glory.

Afternoon Prayer (Sext or None)

Psalm 37 (NKJV): Reflections on Good and Evil

A Psalm of David.

1 Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb.

3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
6 He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.

7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret — it only causes harm.

9 For evildoers shall be cut off;
But those who wait on the Lord,
They shall inherit the earth.
10 For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more;
Indeed, you will look carefully for his place,
But it shall be no more.
11 But the meek shall inherit the earth,
And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

12 The wicked plots against the just,
And gnashes at him with his teeth.
13 The Lord laughs at him,
For He sees that his day is coming.
14 The wicked have drawn the sword
And have bent their bow,
To cast down the poor and needy,
To slay those who are of upright conduct.
15 Their sword shall enter their own heart,
And their bows shall be broken.

16 A little that a righteous man has
Is better than the riches of many wicked.
17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,
But the Lord upholds the righteous.

18 The Lord knows the days of the upright,
And their inheritance shall be forever.
19 They shall not be ashamed in the evil time,
And in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.
20 But the wicked shall perish;
And the enemies of the Lord,
Like the splendor of the meadows, shall vanish.
Into smoke they shall vanish away.

21 The wicked borrows and does not repay,
But the righteous shows mercy and gives.
22 For those blessed by Him shall inherit the earth,
But those cursed by Him shall be cut off.

23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.
24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;
For the Lord upholds him with His hand.

25 I have been young, and now am old;
Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken,
Nor his descendants begging bread.
26 He is ever merciful, and lends;
And his descendants are blessed.

27 Depart from evil, and do good;
And dwell forevermore.
28 For the Lord loves justice,
And does not forsake His saints;
They are preserved forever,
But the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off.
29 The righteous shall inherit the land,
And dwell in it forever.

30 The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom,
And his tongue talks of justice.
31 The law of his God is in his heart;
None of his steps shall slide.

32 The wicked watches the righteous,
And seeks to slay him.
33 The Lord will not leave him in his hand,
Nor condemn him when he is judged.

34 Wait on the Lord,
And keep His way,
And He shall exalt you to inherit the land;
When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.
35 I have seen the wicked in great power,
And spreading himself like a native green tree.
36 Yet he passed away, and behold, he was no more;
Indeed I sought him, but he could not be found.

37 Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright;
For the future of that man is peace.
38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together;
The future of the wicked shall be cut off.

39 But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;
He is their strength in the time of trouble.
40 And the Lord shall help them and deliver them;
He shall deliver them from the wicked,
And save them,
Because they trust in Him.

Evening Prayer (Vespers)

Psalm 71 (NRSV): Prayer for Lifelong Protection and Help

1 In you, O Lord, I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
2 In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me;
incline your ear to me and save me.
3 Be to me a rock of refuge,
a strong fortress, to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.

4 Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked,
from the grasp of the unjust and cruel.
5 For you, O Lord, are my hope,
my trust, O Lord, from my youth.
6 Upon you I have leaned from my birth;
it was you who took me from my mother’s womb.
My praise is continually of you.

7 I have been like a portent to many,
but you are my strong refuge.
8 My mouth is filled with your praise,
and with your glory all day long.
9 Do not cast me off in the time of old age;
do not forsake me when my strength is spent.
10 For my enemies speak concerning me,
and those who watch for my life consult together.
11 They say, “Pursue and seize that person
whom God has forsaken,
for there is no one to deliver.”

12 O God, do not be far from me;
O my God, make haste to help me!
13 Let my accusers be put to shame and consumed;
let those who seek to hurt me
be covered with scorn and disgrace.
14 But I will hope continually,
and will praise you yet more and more.
15 My mouth will tell of your righteous acts,
of your deeds of salvation all day long,
though their number is past my knowledge.
16 I will come praising the mighty deeds of the Lord God,
I will praise your righteousness, yours alone.

17 O God, from my youth you have taught me,
and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.
18 So even to old age and gray hairs,
O God, do not forsake me,
until I proclaim your might
to all the generations to come.
Your power 19 and your righteousness, O God,
reach the high heavens.

You who have done great things,
O God, who is like you?
20 You who have made me see many troubles and calamities
will revive me again;
from the depths of the earth
you will bring me up again.
21 You will increase my honor,
and comfort me once again.

22 I will also praise you with the harp
for your faithfulness, O my God;
I will sing praises to you with the lyre,
O Holy One of Israel.
23 My lips will shout for joy
when I sing praises to you;
my soul also, which you have rescued.
24 All day long my tongue will talk of your righteous help,
for those who tried to do me harm
have been put to shame, and disgraced.

Bedtime Prayer (Compline)

Psalm 67 (NRSVACE): The Nations Called to Praise God

To the leader: with stringed instruments. A Psalm. A Song.

1 May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us, Selah
2 that your way may be known upon earth,
your saving power among all nations.
3 Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.

4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you judge the peoples with equity
and guide the nations upon earth. Selah
5 Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.

6 The earth has yielded its increase;
God, our God, has blessed us.
7 May God continue to bless us;
let all the ends of the earth revere him.

Wednesday

Early Morning Prayer (Vigils or Lauds)

Psalm 27 (NRSVA): Triumphant Song of Confidence

Of David.

1 The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?

2 When evildoers assail me
to devour my flesh —
my adversaries and foes —
they shall stumble and fall.

3 Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war rise up against me,
yet I will be confident.

4 One thing I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
to live in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the Lord,
and to inquire in his temple.

5 For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will set me high on a rock.

6 Now my head is lifted up
above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud,
be gracious to me and answer me!
8 ‘Come,’ my heart says, ‘seek his face!’
Your face, Lord, do I seek.
9 Do not hide your face from me.

Do not turn your servant away in anger,
you who have been my help.
Do not cast me off, do not forsake me,
O God of my salvation!
10 If my father and mother forsake me,
the Lord will take me up.

11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
and lead me on a level path
because of my enemies.
12 Do not give me up to the will of my adversaries,
for false witnesses have risen against me,
and they are breathing out violence.

13 I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!

Gospel Reading

The root of the word translated as “blessed” in the Beatitudes is μακάριος (makarios) in the Greek. Makarios means “happiness” or “human flourishing.”¹

Makarios is “more than a temporary or circumstantial feeling of happiness, this is a state of well-being in relationship to God that belongs to those who respond to Jesus’ ministry.”²

Understanding what makarios means “…is absolutely essential to read the Beatitudes well. It frees us from reading them as either blessings, curses, or entrance requirements. Instead, we recognize they’re pointing to Jesus the sage, the philosopher showing what true happiness is. That’s where it gets interesting, because what he defines true happiness as is shocking. It’s totally unexpected. He doesn’t say, ‘Flourishing is when you have lots of kids,’ ‘Flourishing are those who have tons of money,’ ‘Flourishing are the prestigious ones in society,’ ‘Flourishing are the virtuous ones in society.’ Instead, it’s flourishing when you have a poverty of spirit, a hungering or thirsting — not positive things. When you are humble, that means not getting your rights. When you’re merciful, you are giving up your rights and forgiving someone who has wronged you. All these things he describes as flourishing are totally unexpected. That’s why the second part of each macarism is essential. Why in the world is that craziness true? Why is it flourishing to have poverty of spirit? Because you’ll be comforted. Yours is the kingdom of heaven. You are actually the sons of the kingdom.”³

Matthew 5:1–12 (NRSV)

Italics denote an insertion of the original Greek root word.

1 When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

3 “Makarios are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 “Makarios are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

5 “Makarios are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

6 “Makarios are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

7 “Makarios are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

8 “Makarios are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

9 “Makarios are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

10 “Makarios are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Makarios are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Notes

  1. Pennington, Jonathan T. “A Biblical Theology of Human Flourishing.” The Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics, 2015. Pennington received his PhD in New Testament Studies at the University of St. Andrews. https://tifwe.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Pennington-A-Biblical-Theology-of-Human-Flourishing.pdf.
  2. Wilkins, Michael, J. “Notes on Matthew” in: ESV Study Bible. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2008. 1827. Wilkins received his PhD at Fuller Theological Seminary.
  3. Smith, Andrew J.W. “‘Blessed Are the Flourishing’: How the Wise Teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount Lead to True Happiness.” Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, September 11, 2017. https://equip.sbts.edu/publications/towers/towers-issue/2017/august-2017/blessed-flourishing-wise-teachings-jesus-sermon-mount-lead-true-happiness/.

Midmorning Prayer (Terce)

Psalm 143 (RSV): Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies

A Psalm of David.

1 Hear my prayer, O Lord;
give ear to my supplications!
In thy faithfulness answer me, in thy righteousness!
2 Enter not into judgment with thy servant;
for no man living is righteous before thee.

3 For the enemy has pursued me;
he has crushed my life to the ground;
he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.
4 Therefore my spirit faints within me;
my heart within me is appalled.

5 I remember the days of old,
I meditate on all that thou hast done;
I muse on what thy hands have wrought.
6 I stretch out my hands to thee;
my soul thirsts for thee like a parched land. Selah

7 Make haste to answer me, O Lord!
My spirit fails!
Hide not thy face from me,
lest I be like those who go down to the Pit.
8 Let me hear in the morning of thy steadfast love,
for in thee I put my trust.
Teach me the way I should go,
for to thee I lift up my soul.

9 Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies!
I have fled to thee for refuge!
10 Teach me to do thy will,
for thou art my God!
Let thy good spirit lead me
on a level path!

11 For thy name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life!
In thy righteousness bring me out of trouble!
12 And in thy steadfast love cut off my enemies,
and destroy all my adversaries,
for I am thy servant.

Afternoon Prayer (Sext or None)

Psalm 39 (NLT): No Abiding City

For Jeduthun, the choir director: A psalm of David.

1 I said to myself, “I will watch what I do
and not sin in what I say.
I will hold my tongue
when the ungodly are around me.”
2 But as I stood there in silence —
not even speaking of good things —
the turmoil within me grew worse.
3 The more I thought about it,
the hotter I got,
igniting a fire of words:
4 “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered —
how fleeting my life is.
5 You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
at best, each of us is but a breath.” Interlude

6 We are merely moving shadows,
and all our busy rushing ends in nothing.
We heap up wealth,
not knowing who will spend it.
7 And so, Lord, where do I put my hope?
My only hope is in you.
8 Rescue me from my rebellion.
Do not let fools mock me.
9 I am silent before you; I won’t say a word,
for my punishment is from you.
10 But please stop striking me!
I am exhausted by the blows from your hand.
11 When you discipline us for our sins,
you consume like a moth what is precious to us.
Each of us is but a breath. Interlude

12 Hear my prayer, O Lord!
Listen to my cries for help!
Don’t ignore my tears.
For I am your guest —
a traveler passing through,
as my ancestors were before me.
13 Leave me alone so I can smile again
before I am gone and exist no more.

Evening Prayer (Vespers)

Psalm 139 (NIRV): God’s Knowledge and Care

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

1 Lord, you have seen what is in my heart.
You know all about me.
2 You know when I sit down and when I get up.
You know what I’m thinking even though you are far away.
3 You know when I go out to work and when I come back home.
You know exactly how I live.
4 Lord, even before I speak a word,
you know all about it.

5 You are all around me, behind me and in front of me.
You hold me safe in your hand.
6 I’m amazed at how well you know me.
It’s more than I can understand.

7 How can I get away from your Spirit?
Where can I go to escape from you?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there.
If I lie down in the deepest parts of the earth, you are also there.
9 Suppose I were to rise with the sun in the east.
Suppose I travel to the west where it sinks into the ocean.
10 Your hand would always be there to guide me.
Your right hand would still be holding me close.

11 Suppose I were to say, “I’m sure the darkness will hide me.
The light around me will become as dark as night.”
12 Even that darkness would not be dark to you.
The night would shine like the day,
because darkness is like light to you.

13 You created the deepest parts of my being.
You put me together inside my mother’s body.
14 How you made me is amazing and wonderful.
I praise you for that.
What you have done is wonderful.
I know that very well.
15 None of my bones was hidden from you
when you made me inside my mother’s body.
That place was as dark as the deepest parts of the earth.
When you were putting me together there,
16 your eyes saw my body even before it was formed.
You planned how many days I would live.
You wrote down the number of them in your book
before I had lived through even one of them.

17 God, your thoughts about me are priceless.
No one can possibly add them all up.
18 If I could count them,
they would be more than the grains of sand.
If I were to fall asleep counting and then wake up,
you would still be there with me.

19 God, I wish you would kill the people who are evil!
I wish those murderers would get away from me!
20 They are your enemies. They misuse your name.
They misuse it for their own evil purposes.
21 Lord, I really hate those who hate you!
I really hate those who rise up against you!
22 I have nothing but hatred for them.
I consider them to be my enemies.

23 God, see what is in my heart.
Know what is there.
Test me.
Know what I’m thinking.
24 See if there’s anything in my life you don’t like.
Help me live in the way that is always right.

Bedtime Prayer (Compline)

Psalm 134 (NET): Prayer at Nighttime

A song of ascents.

134 Attention! Praise the Lord,
all you servants of the Lord,
who serve in the Lord’s temple during the night.
2 Lift your hands toward the sanctuary
and praise the Lord.
3 May the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth,
bless you

Thursday

Early Morning Prayer (Vigils or Lauds)

Psalm 25 (NIV): A Prayer for Guidance and Protection

Of David.

1 In you, Lord my God,
I put my trust.

2 I trust in you;
do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.
3 No one who hopes in you
will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those
who are treacherous without cause.

4 Show me your ways, Lord,
teach me your paths.
5 Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
6 Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love,
for they are from of old.
7 Do not remember the sins of my youth
and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
for you, Lord, are good.

8 Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
9 He guides the humble in what is right
and teaches them his way.
10 All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful
toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.
11 For the sake of your name, Lord,
forgive my iniquity, though it is great.

12 Who, then, are those who fear the Lord?
He will instruct them in the ways they should choose.
13 They will spend their days in prosperity,
and their descendants will inherit the land.
14 The Lord confides in those who fear him;
he makes his covenant known to them.
15 My eyes are ever on the Lord,
for only he will release my feet from the snare.

16 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
17 Relieve the troubles of my heart
and free me from my anguish.
18 Look on my affliction and my distress
and take away all my sins.
19 See how numerous are my enemies
and how fiercely they hate me!

20 Guard my life and rescue me;
do not let me be put to shame,
for I take refuge in you.
21 May integrity and uprightness protect me,
because my hope, Lord, is in you.

22 Deliver Israel, O God,
from all their troubles!

Gospel Reading

Matthew 5:3 (NRSV)

3 Blessed (Makarios) are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“[The Disciples] have no security, no possessions to call their own, not even a foot of earth to call their home, no earthly society to claim their absolute allegiance. Nay more, they have no spiritual power, experience or knowledge to afford them consolation or security. For his sake they have lost all. In following him they lost even their own selves, and everything that could make them rich. Now they are poor — so inexperienced, so stupid, that they have no other hope but him who called them. Jesus knows all about the others too, the representatives and preachers of the national religion, who enjoy greatness and renown, whose feet are firmly planted on the earth, who are deeply rooted in the culture and piety of the people and moulded by the spirit of the age. Yet it is not they, but the disciples who are called blessed…”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

Midmorning Prayer (Terce)

Psalm 103 (NKJV): Praise for the Lord’s Mercies

A Psalm of David.

1 Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
3 Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
4 Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

6 The Lord executes righteousness
And justice for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known His ways to Moses,
His acts to the children of Israel.
8 The Lord is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
9 He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.

11 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
12 As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father pities his children,
So the Lord pities those who fear Him.
14 For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.

15 As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
16 For the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
And its place remembers it no more.
17 But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting
On those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children’s children,
18 To such as keep His covenant,
And to those who remember His commandments to do them.

19 The Lord has established His throne in heaven,
And His kingdom rules over all.

20 Bless the Lord, you His angels,
Who excel in strength, who do His word,
Heeding the voice of His word.
21 Bless the Lord, all you His hosts,
You ministers of His, who do His pleasure.
22 Bless the Lord, all His works,
In all places of His dominion.

Bless the Lord, O my soul!

Afternoon Prayer (Sext or None)

Psalm 23 (NKJV): The Lord the Shepherd of His People

A Psalm of David.

23 The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Evening Prayer (Vespers)

Psalm 90 (NRSV): God’s Eternity and Human Frailty

A Prayer of Moses, the man of God.

1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place
in all generations.
2 Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

3 You turn us back to dust,
and say, “Turn back, you mortals.”
4 For a thousand years in your sight
are like yesterday when it is past,
or like a watch in the night.

5 You sweep them away; they are like a dream,
like grass that is renewed in the morning;
6 in the morning it flourishes and is renewed;
in the evening it fades and withers.

7 For we are consumed by your anger;
by your wrath we are overwhelmed.
8 You have set our iniquities before you,
our secret sins in the light of your countenance.

9 For all our days pass away under your wrath;
our years come to an end like a sigh.
10 The days of our life are seventy years,
or perhaps eighty, if we are strong;
even then their span is only toil and trouble;
they are soon gone, and we fly away.

11 Who considers the power of your anger?
Your wrath is as great as the fear that is due you.
12 So teach us to count our days
that we may gain a wise heart.

13 Turn, O Lord! How long?
Have compassion on your servants!
14 Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad as many days as you have afflicted us,
and as many years as we have seen evil.
16 Let your work be manifest to your servants,
and your glorious power to their children.
17 Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
and prosper for us the work of our hands —
O prosper the work of our hands!

Bedtime Prayer (Compline)

Psalm 130 (RSV): Waiting for Divine Redemption

A Song of Ascents.

1 Out of the depths I cry to thee, O Lord!
2 Lord, hear my voice!
Let thy ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplications!

3 If thou, O Lord, shouldst mark iniquities,
Lord, who could stand?
4 But there is forgiveness with thee,
that thou mayest be feared.

5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
6 my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.

7 O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is plenteous redemption.
8 And he will redeem Israel
from all his iniquities.

Friday

Rembrandt, The Storm on the Sea of Galilee

Early Morning Prayer (Vigils or Lauds)

Psalm 51 (CSB): A Prayer for Restoration

For the choir director. A psalm of David, when the prophet Nathan came to him after he had gone to Bathsheba.

1 Be gracious to me, God,
according to your faithful love;
according to your abundant compassion,
blot out my rebellion.
2 Completely wash away my guilt
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I am conscious of my rebellion,
and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you — you alone — I have sinned
and done this evil in your sight.
So you are right when you pass sentence;
you are blameless when you judge.
5 Indeed, I was guilty when I was born;
I was sinful when my mother conceived me.

6 Surely you desire integrity in the inner self,
and you teach me wisdom deep within.
7 Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Turn your face away from my sins
and blot out all my guilt.

10 God, create a clean heart for me
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not banish me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore the joy of your salvation to me,
and sustain me by giving me a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach the rebellious your ways,
and sinners will return to you.

14 Save me from the guilt of bloodshed, God —
God of my salvation —
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not want a sacrifice, or I would give it;
you are not pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit.
You will not despise a broken and humbled heart, God.

18 In your good pleasure, cause Zion to prosper;
build the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will delight in righteous sacrifices,
whole burnt offerings;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.

Gospel Reading

Matthew 5:4 (NRSV)

Blessed (Makarios) are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

“By ‘mourning’ Jesus, of course, means doing without what the world calls peace and prosperity: He means refusing to be in tune with the world or to accommodate oneself to its standards. Such men mourn for the world, for its guilt, its fate and its fortune… They see for all the jollity on board, the ship is beginning to sink. The world dreams of progress, of power and of the future. But the disciples meditate on the end, the last judgement, and the coming of the kingdom. To such heights the world cannot rise. And so the disciples are strangers in the world, unwelcome guests and disturbers of the peace. No wonder the world rejects them!”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

Midmorning Prayer (Terce)

Psalm 46 (NIV): God is With Us

For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. According to alamoth. A song.

1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

7 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

8 Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Afternoon Prayer (Sext or None)

Psalm 122 (NLT)

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem. A psalm of David.

1 I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
2 And now here we are,
standing inside your gates, O Jerusalem.
3 Jerusalem is a well-built city;
its seamless walls cannot be breached.
4 All the tribes of Israel — the Lord’s people —
make their pilgrimage here.
They come to give thanks to the name of the Lord,
as the law requires of Israel.
5 Here stand the thrones where judgment is given,
the thrones of the dynasty of David.

6 Pray for peace in Jerusalem.
May all who love this city prosper.
7 O Jerusalem, may there be peace within your walls
and prosperity in your palaces.
8 For the sake of my family and friends, I will say,
“May you have peace.”
9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek what is best for you, O Jerusalem.

Evening Prayer (Vespers)

Psalm 22 (NRSV): Plea for Deliverance from Suffering and Hostility

To the leader: according to The Deer of the Dawn. A Psalm of David.

1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer;
and by night, but find no rest.

3 Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
4 In you our ancestors trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried, and were saved;
in you they trusted, and were not put to shame.

6 But I am a worm, and not human;
scorned by others, and despised by the people.
7 All who see me mock at me;
they make mouths at me, they shake their heads;
8 “Commit your cause to the Lord; let him deliver —
let him rescue the one in whom he delights!”

9 Yet it was you who took me from the womb;
you kept me safe on my mother’s breast.
10 On you I was cast from my birth,
and since my mother bore me you have been my God.
11 Do not be far from me,
for trouble is near
and there is no one to help.

12 Many bulls encircle me,
strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
13 they open wide their mouths at me,
like a ravening and roaring lion.

14 I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
it is melted within my breast;
15 my mouth is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
you lay me in the dust of death.

16 For dogs are all around me;
a company of evildoers encircles me.
My hands and feet have shriveled;
17 I can count all my bones.
They stare and gloat over me;
18 they divide my clothes among themselves,
and for my clothing they cast lots.

19 But you, O Lord, do not be far away!
O my help, come quickly to my aid!
20 Deliver my soul from the sword,
my life from the power of the dog!
21 Save me from the mouth of the lion!

From the horns of the wild oxen you have rescued me.
22 I will tell of your name to my brothers and sisters;
in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him;
stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
24 For he did not despise or abhor
the affliction of the afflicted;
he did not hide his face from me,
but heard when I cried to him.

25 From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
my vows I will pay before those who fear him.
26 The poor shall eat and be satisfied;
those who seek him shall praise the Lord.
May your hearts live forever!

27 All the ends of the earth shall remember
and turn to the Lord;
and all the families of the nations
shall worship before him.
28 For dominion belongs to the Lord,
and he rules over the nations.

29 To him, indeed, shall all who sleep in the earth bow down;
before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
and I shall live for him.
30 Posterity will serve him;
future generations will be told about the Lord,
31 and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn,
saying that he has done it.

Bedtime Prayer (Compline)

Psalm 91 (ESV): My Refuge and my Fortress

1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
5 You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.

9 Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place —
the Most High, who is my refuge —
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.

11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

Saturday

Early Morning Prayer (Vigils or Lauds)

Psalm 131 (NLT)

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem. A psalm of David.

1 Lord, my heart is not proud;
my eyes are not haughty.
I don’t concern myself with matters too great
or too awesome for me to grasp.
2 Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself,
like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk.
Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.

3 O Israel, put your hope in the Lord —
now and always.

Gospel Reading

Matthew 5:5 (NRSV)

Blessed (Makarios) are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

This community of strangers possesses no inherent right of its own to protect its members in the world, nor do they claim such rights, for they are meek, they renounce every right of their own and live for the sake of Jesus Christ. When reproached, they hold their peace; when treated with violence they endure it patiently; when men drive them from their presence, they yield their ground. They will not go to law to defend their rights, or make a scene when they suffer injustice, nor do they insist on their legal rights. They are determined to leave their rights to God alone.

-Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

Midmorning Prayer (Terce)

Psalm 8 (NKJV): The Glory of the Lord in Creation

To the Chief Musician. On the instrument of Gath. A Psalm of David.

1 O Lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth,
Who have set Your glory above the heavens!

2 Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants
You have ordained strength,
Because of Your enemies,
That You may silence the enemy and the avenger.

3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
4 What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?
5 For You have made him a little lower than the angels,
And You have crowned him with glory and honor.

6 You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,
7 All sheep and oxen —
Even the beasts of the field,
8 The birds of the air,
And the fish of the sea
That pass through the paths of the seas.

9 O Lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth!

Afternoon Prayer (Sext or None)

Psalm 17 (NIV): A Prayer of an Innocent Person

A prayer of David.

1 Hear me, Lord, my plea is just;
listen to my cry.
Hear my prayer —
it does not rise from deceitful lips.
2 Let my vindication come from you;
may your eyes see what is right.

3 Though you probe my heart,
though you examine me at night and test me,
you will find that I have planned no evil;
my mouth has not transgressed.
4 Though people tried to bribe me,
I have kept myself from the ways of the violent
through what your lips have commanded.
5 My steps have held to your paths;
my feet have not stumbled.

6 I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;
turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.
7 Show me the wonders of your great love,
you who save by your right hand
those who take refuge in you from their foes.
8 Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings
9 from the wicked who are out to destroy me,
from my mortal enemies who surround me.

10 They close up their callous hearts,
and their mouths speak with arrogance.
11 They have tracked me down, they now surround me,
with eyes alert, to throw me to the ground.
12 They are like a lion hungry for prey,
like a fierce lion crouching in cover.

13 Rise up, Lord, confront them, bring them down;
with your sword rescue me from the wicked.
14 By your hand save me from such people, Lord,
from those of this world whose reward is in this life.
May what you have stored up for the wicked fill their bellies;
may their children gorge themselves on it,
and may there be leftovers for their little ones.

15 As for me, I will be vindicated and will see your face;
when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.

Evening Prayer (Vespers)

Psalm 145 (ESV): Praise of God’s Glory

A Song of Praise. Of David.

145 I will extol you, my God and King,
and bless your name forever and ever.
2 Every day I will bless you
and praise your name forever and ever.
3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
and his greatness is unsearchable.

4 One generation shall commend your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.
5 On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
6 They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
and I will declare your greatness.
7 They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.

8 The Lord is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 The Lord is good to all,
and his mercy is over all that he has made.

10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord,
and all your saints shall bless you!
11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom
and tell of your power,
12 to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds,
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures throughout all generations.

[The Lord is faithful in all his words
and kind in all his works.]
14 The Lord upholds all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food in due season.
16 You open your hand;
you satisfy the desire of every living thing.
17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways
and kind in all his works.
18 The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
he also hears their cry and saves them.
20 The Lord preserves all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.

21 My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,
and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.

Bedtime Prayer (Compline)

Psalm 128 (RSV): The Happy Home of the Faithful

A Song of Ascents.

1 Blessed is every one who fears the Lord,
who walks in his ways!
2 You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;
you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.

3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
around your table.
4 Lo, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord.

5 The Lord bless you from Zion!
May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life!
6 May you see your children’s children!
Peace be upon Israel!

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America is in chaos. This serial book is an invitation to retreat from the noise and explore life’s fundamental questions : 1) Origin: where did I come from? 2) Meaning: Does my life matter? 3) Wholeness: how can I feel peace amidst suffering? and 4) Hope: Will things get better?

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Bryan T. Baker

Bryan T. Baker

AP US History and Government Teacher/Former Army Intel Officer/MA in International Security/Bylines at RealClear Defense, Small Wars Journal, and others.

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