Evening prayers or Compline?

Discussion in 'Faith, Devotion & Formation' started by Mark Carrigher, Jul 7, 2019.

  1. Mark Carrigher

    Mark Carrigher New Member

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    Hi all,can anyone advise on how to decide between doing the evening daily office or the compline please? Is there a set time one should follow one over the other?
     
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  2. Symphorian

    Symphorian Well-Known Member

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    Evening Prayer at around 6pm and Compline at bedtime. Don’t worry too much about having a precise time. In my diocese many churches hold Evening Prayer at 4pm during winter and at 6pm in summer.

    In the monastic scheme. Nones (mid afternoon prayer) would’ve been at around 3pm, Vespers (evening prayer) at around 6pm and Compline (night prayer) before retiring for bed. The monks bedtime would’ve been quite early as they had to be up again in the very early hours of the morning for Vigils.

    If you want to read a fair bit of scripture then it’s best to pray Evening Prayer. Compline only has a few short sentences.
     
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  3. Edmundia

    Edmundia Member

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    There are two beautiful recordings of Compline on YOUTUBE, from Guildford Cathedral, all sung to Gregorian Chant with "Prayerbook English" , as it used to be broadcast by BBC Radio 4 on Sunday nights . I think that the title is BEFORE THE ENDING OF THE DAY . They also used to broadcast the Sung Prayerbook Litany and that's on Youube :I think that the title is For All Sorts and Conditions ; it is extraordinarily beautiful.

    You can close your eyes, pray and pretend the Revolution Never Happened.
     
  4. Magistos

    Magistos Active Member Anglican

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    I am not always able to manage Evening Prayer, but I always manage Compline, because it is short, and is a nice wind down, at bedside, to close the day.
    Ideally, you'd be looking at Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, and then Compline.
     
  5. Taiping

    Taiping New Member Anglican

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    I am trying to do Morning and Evening prayers on a regular basis but I do find it hard to do them. :( As such, I often end up doing Compline.
     
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  6. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    I looked at Common Worship and I didn't see the option but the American prayer books have long had a section entitled 'Family Prayer.' This section includes a morning and evening variant and is much abridged and somewhat geared to include children. This form assumed that a period of Scripture reading would take place first, which could be as long or short as the head of household saw fit. Family Prayer can serve as a bridge to incorporating the Daily Office into one's life and discipline.
     
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  7. Fr. Brench

    Fr. Brench Active Member Anglican

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    @Mark Carrigher and @Taiping - some advice I shared in another thread may help you both as you explore the Offices and Compline. Obviously the shortness of Compline makes it easier to do, and the 'Family Prayer' suggestion above accomplishes much the same sort of thing. In general most of us would probably direct you toward Morning & Evening Prayer as the end-goal, but simply diving in head-first isn't always the easiest way to go about it. Here's what I said to someone else recently:



    All the Prayer Book suggestions and private devotion book suggestions are great. But save yourself some money: ask the priest at the church you've started attending for a copy of the Prayer Book that is used there. We clergymen are normally very happy to give prayer books out for free! Plus, it's more helpful to explore a prayer book that is consistent with how the congregation worships; if they use the 1928 Prayer Book then you should explore that one, if a different edition, then that.

    As others have suggested, again, the daily offices of Morning and Evening Prayer are typically your best places to go to learn how to build a more solid prayer life. However, jumping straight in can be overwhelming, especially if the form and style is new to you, and you're trying to figure it out on your own. My advice would be to put a Daily Office together gradually, bit by bit.
    1. Look at the Psalms section of the Prayer Book you get, and read aloud (and think of it as prayer!) some or all of the Psalms for each morning and evening - you'll find the day of the month is noted inside the text.
    2. Look at the Daily Office Lectionary (Bible-reading plan), and read at least one of the daily readings after praying the Psalm(s).
    3. As that becomes more doable, check to see if the Prayer Book has a "Family Prayer" section, and add those prayers to the front and back of your Psalm-praying and Scripture-reading.
    4. When you're ready, switch over to Morning and/or Evening Prayer, whole hog.
    If you've got some time, might I recommend (as humbly as possible) checking out this video in which I talk about the traditional "three-fold rule of worship" which might help you conceptualize your prayer life in a new way: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zk2ouWbKkWE

    Definitely keep coming back and throwing questions at people! There's so much wisdom and experience here, it's awesome.
     
  8. amazinglove

    amazinglove New Member

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  9. mediaque

    mediaque Active Member

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    The advice Fr. Brench gave was spot on and very similar to how I slowly worked myself into daily Morning and Evening Prayer. IMO, having come from the RCC, the BCP is much easier to maneuver than the RCC Daily Offices. As long as you approach it with honesty, God understands. It's not a race of how quickly I can get this routine down, but rather, a journey of drawing yourself closer to God. Just take your time. It will come to you quicker than you think. It did for me. :)
     
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  10. Mark Carrigher

    Mark Carrigher New Member

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    Thanks all so much, some lovely words of wisdom and pragmatism here. I feel confident now with the daily prayers in full and am generally keeping to at least evening prayers on daily basis.
     
  11. Mark Carrigher

    Mark Carrigher New Member

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    P.s. if following the compline, where I have missed evening prayer timings, could I still read the Bible readings from the earlier evening prayer that I have missed? I've noticed these readings are longer and follow a pattern which takes you through the Bible systematically? Obviously therefore if I miss evening prayer and I would miss the reading of that days particular section.


    I know of course it's the Bible right so just read it lol but I'm asking in terms of 'normal' or accepted practice parameters of the daily offices rather than a more broad 'am I allowed to do this at all' question. Hope this ramble makes some sense.
     
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  12. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Since you are in the UK, I suggest you listen to Choral Evensong on those days when it is available on BBC3 (perhaps record it as an MP3, and then send it to me...nevermind, I had better write thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s vespers 1,000 times on a chalkboard) ;)

    On those days when there is no Choral Evensong, you would do Compline. In this manner, you could learn by listening and thus memorize the cycle of psalms for
    Evening Prayer, so overtime you would find it easy to do Evening Prayer instead of Compline. The only bother would be looking up the scripture lessons. Of course, there would be no didactic value when Coral Evensong covers a parish or cathedral using Common Worship,or a non-Anglican church, and becomes Choral Vespers (usually, it will be one of the Roman Catholic cathedrals in Britain, but I have heard they have done Eastern Orthodox vespers), unless it is an Ordinariate parish, but on those occasions, you could either enjoy the liturgical diversity, or if it was interfering with your memorization, either do compline as well, or turn it off and do compline only.

    My own feeling is that for individual use, evensong is difficult, and compline is more appropriate, unless you use an app or a webpage that provides you the propers.

    ~

    What I did was buy on Apple Music the collection of all 150 psalms from the Coverdale Psalter, sung by St. Paul’s, and I set it up with te deum and usually jubilate, sometimes benedicite or another canticle, for Morning Prayer, and the Magnificat and Nunc Dimits for Evensong. I extracted the presces from every recording of Mattins and Evensong entire on Apple Music, and added it to the most important services in terms of the Psalms. What I am now working on is rearranging the canticle selections for Evening Prayer, which at present contain some suboptimal selections, and providing an anthem for each service, and also setting the proper psalms for the fixed feast days. I also was able to configure a service of Prime and of Compline using the rubrics from the 1928 BCP prayer, except in the case of Prime I can’t find a sung recording of the Athanasian Creed anywhere, and I have heard this was popular as a canticle a few decades ago.

    I should stress this is not my daily prayer rule, but a supplement to it; my prayer rule consists of the Jesus Prayer usually without a prayer rope or Lestovka, and I try but usually fail to say the Lord’s Prayer three times per day (on rising, at midday and at bedtime), following the ancient instructions in the Didache. And then I make recourse to my prayer books periodically, particularly when I miss a church service due to ill health. I have not been feeling well, and so my prayer life is not what I want it to be, but I try to compensate by immersing myself in church music, and in the prayerful study of the liturgy.
     
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  13. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Yes, of course. Your prayer rule is your prayer rule. The main thing you want is something you can do consistently, every day. You should discuss your prayer rule with a priest you like, such as Fr. Bench or perhaps a good local vicar you know personally. Aim for achievability and regularity; I made the mistake of having too ambitious a prayer rule and then having problems keeping it when feeling unwell due to Marfan’s (a disease of the connective tissue which in my case causes lots of premature arthriris, which a number of tall British descended people have; my father, memory eternal, had it, as well as Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca in Star Wars; he reposed earlier this year).
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
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  14. Jeffg

    Jeffg Active Member

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    St Marks Cathederal in Seattle has a Compline Choir that sings the office every Sunday night at 09:30PM (Seattle time) It's an incredible experience to go to and hear in person. I'd be willing to bet that the Cathederal has more people attending that then it does a Sunday Morning service. You can listen in online or listen via other media . See: https://www.complinechoir.org/listen/
     
  15. Fr. Brench

    Fr. Brench Active Member Anglican

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    There's no reason you can't take the Evening Prayer readings into Compline. It makes a normally brief time of worship a bit longer, but that's not a big deal.

    Yes, though, about Evening Prayer having continuous reading. Depending upon the lectionary you're looking at, it probably also fully integrates with Morning Prayer such that you really need to say both in order to keep the chapter-to-chapter reading of Scripture alive. That's why I made the step-by-step suggestion that I made above; it prioritizes the Psalms and the Scripture readings and builds the Office around them.

    I would disagree with Liturgyworks on the point that evensong is complicated for individual use. If you try to do full-on choral evensong alone, sure, that's tricky, because your're not a professional choir :p but if you just follow the Evening Prayer liturgy in a prayer book then it's pretty simple. Compline has always been popular, but it wasn't actually part of the 'official' prayer book liturgy until the 20th century, so one should generally consider it 'extra' beyond MP & EP.
     
  16. PDL

    PDL Active Member Anglican

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    There are no real set times. Obviously, Evening Prayer is not something you would do at 10.00 a.m. Although I know a cathedral that does it at 12 noon on Christmas Day so they can lock up and have the rest of the day off.

    Evening Prayer is supposed to be said at dusk. The problem with that is where I live that is currently about 10.00 p.m. at night, which is rather late. If you were in somewhere like northern Norway there is no dusk at the moment, it is 24-hours of daylight.

    The thing to do is be sensible about it. Evening Prayer can readily be done anywhere from late afternoon into the, I would say, early evening. When that is would depend on you. What I call late evening, may be 7 or 8 pm may be called night by others.

    The 'proper' time for Compline is before you go to bed, even if you go to bed after midnight. So, for example, I am typing this on a Friday and if you were to go to bed tonight at what will really be 1 am tomorrow (Saturday) you would be doing Compline for Friday then.

    There is a lot of wriggle room with both. I know of monastic communities that do Compline then go to bed and others that do Compline then spend the evening doing their free time. Likewise, the time of Evening Prayer varies a lot.

    I am sure God would be pleased you are doing them and not hold it against you for not doing them at a particular time.
     
  17. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I do apologize Father, I should have qualified that by saying it was more complicated. :blush:The ease of a prayer for individual use is based on the number of variable propers, and there are two variable parts in Evening Prayer, vs. none in Compline.

    This is still very easy compared to Byzantine Rite Vespers, which a layman basically can’t do without 20 liturgical books, some knowledge of the typikon, and experience having done the service, which is why we tend to use different books for personal prayer than congregational prayer. And the major jurisdictions tend to have a liturgist who compiles the services for the parishes and then sends them out. Matins is even harder, and I doubt the average layman has enough oil lamps to do a polyeleos properly even if desired. Coptic Vespers on the other hand is ridiculously easy, because it is entirely immutable, as is Anglican Compline, and it does not require the use of what one might call liturgical implements.

    Now, the Roman Breviary was at one time infamously spectacularly difficult for anyone to use (the BCP comments on this in the preface “Why some services are abolished and others retained..”. but the Sancta Missa website automated it, making it easy enough to where I used it on a few occasions. Unfortunately, the poorly implemented code has broken and the app, last time I looked, was no longer generating the services properly as of 2018, so one could only look back at a service where it had worked. It apparently required manual intervention from the developer and he has sadly reposed.:(
     
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  18. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I have heard their choir and it seems decent. I wish more Anglicans in the US were doing the divine office congregationally.
     
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  19. Cooper

    Cooper Member Anglican

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    This is an excellent thread for those of us trying to follow the Divine Hours.

    :book:
     
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  20. CFLawrence

    CFLawrence Active Member

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    I thought I would add something a bit off topic. I prayer MP and EP from the ‘28 APB and feel that’s sufficient so instead of compline I close my day with the Ignatian Examen. I use an app called Reimagining the Examen which gives you a new Examen every day. It’s an excellent introduction to mental prayer and a great review of your day and a prep for tomorrow. Morning and evening prayer is enough office for me.

    hope I didn’t venture too far astray...
     
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