Liturgy of the Hours: Trouble with Night Prayer


#1

I try my best to pray all the hours, but find it especially difficult to consistently pray the Night Prayer. In the instructions we are told to pray it just before retiring, but by the time I am ready to retire I'm beat and want to just fall asleep.

I know that I'm not obligated to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, but I try my best to follow the instructions.

Do we really need to pray the Night Prayer immediately before retiring, or could I just pray it at 9pm every night regardless of when I go to bed? What do priests do? What do oblates or monks do?


#2

[quote="yellow8yellowM, post:1, topic:339176"]
I try my best to pray all the hours, but find it especially difficult to consistently pray the Night Prayer. In the instructions we are told to pray it just before retiring, but by the time I am ready to retire I'm beat and want to just fall asleep.

I know that I'm not obligated to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, but I try my best to follow the instructions.

Do we really need to pray the Night Prayer immediately before retiring, or could I just pray it at 9pm every night regardless of when I go to bed? What do priests do? What do oblates or monks do?

[/quote]

Please pray at 9:00 PM if that works for you .. you are asking if the words "just before" dictate a specific amount of time .... for example .. does "lust before" equate to 1 minute, 5 minutes or 1 hour? Would you have to pray before or after brushing ones teeth? They don't ... we are to pray unceasingly ... hard to do really - but God blesses those who pray those who pray with sincere hearts :yup:

I believe that God loves for us to enter into a dialogue with him in prayer - so pray:gopray: ....

And if you were too tired one night to pray more then a simple "I love you Lord - forgive me my sins, bless all those in need of Your love and my prayers - Good night" then God knows your heart ... :gopray2:

May God Bless you abundantly


#3

Monks pray it at a fixed time, if they pray it in choir (most Benedictines do). At the abbey I'm an oblate of, it's at 7:45 pm except on Saturday evening when it's at 8 pm as they have a short rehearsal for the next week's chants. FWIW monks don't necessarily go to bed right after; some monks read, study or write a bit before bed. The abbot expects everyone to be in bed by 9 pm, after which absolute silence must be kept. They rise again at 5 am for Vigils. Some monasteries require absolute silence right after Compline. Silence is kept (except for chanting Offices) until after Terce the following day.

For myself I'm more flexible on the exact time. If I'm not too tired, I pray it aloud in my small oratory at around 9:15 pm; if i'm too tired (which as I get older seems to be most of the time) I'll read it in bed at approx. the same time. Then I usually read in bed for about 30 min or so before falling asleep at around 10 pm. I always do make a point of chanting Sunday night prayer in my oratory. I love to sing the Marian antiphon on the solemn tone :)

I also have a recording of the monks of Solesmes chanting Sunday night prayer, on my iPhone. If I'm driving home late for some reason or other, I listen to it in the car. The rubrics of the LOTH allow the use of the Sunday psalms every day instead of the ones given for the day.


#4

Ideally we pray it before going to sleep, because it involves the examination of conscience for the day and entrusting our soul in the Lord's hands while we sleep. It can be hard, but it doesn't take too long...that's my main motivation. I guess it can be prayed a bit before we retire, while you are not yet exhausted.

It is the Lauds that are impossible for me :o I absolutely cannot manage to wake up early enough. Someone told me they can still be prayed even at 8 or 9 AM, though ideally they are prayed at 6 AM.


#5

You should arrange your prayer around your daily life. The Lord put you "Where you are, When you are, and Who you are". He only asks that you live according to the life He gives - which is all-sufficient for every one who receives it!

In my schedule, I pray the hours this way:

6 AM - Awake
7 AM - Morning Prayer
12 PM - Daytime Prayer
1 PM - Office of Readings
6 PM - Evening Prayer
8 PM - Night Prayer
10 PM - Asleep

My spiritual director says that too many people tend to associate Compline/Night Prayer with going to bed. It's treated as a "last thing to do before sleep", in many cases, which can tend to marginalize it. He believes it is better to pray it an hour or two before bed, so you do not treat it as a mere footnote or epilogue, but as an integral part to a day.


#6

[quote="R_C, post:4, topic:339176"]
Ideally we pray it before going to sleep, because it involves the examination of conscience for the day and entrusting our soul in the Lord's hands while we sleep. It can be hard, but it doesn't take too long...that's my main motivation. I guess it can be prayed a bit before we retire, while you are not yet exhausted.

It is the Lauds that are impossible for me :o I absolutely cannot manage to wake up early enough. Someone told me they can still be prayed even at 8 or 9 AM, though ideally they are prayed at 6 AM.

[/quote]

Traditionally Lauds was prayed near sunrise as the end of Vigils (Matins). At our abbey, Vigils is 5 am and Lauds, 7:30 am.


#7

As OraLabora said, the monks have fixed times for prayers. And they don't immediately go to sleep after Compline. I think the important thing is to pray and if praying a little earlier makes it possible, then pray a little earlier.


#8

[quote="R_C, post:4, topic:339176"]
Ideally we pray it before going to sleep, because it involves the examination of conscience for the day and entrusting our soul in the Lord's hands while we sleep. It can be hard, but it doesn't take too long...that's my main motivation. I guess it can be prayed a bit before we retire, while you are not yet exhausted.

It is the Lauds that are impossible for me :o I absolutely cannot manage to wake up early enough. Someone told me they can still be prayed even at 8 or 9 AM, though ideally they are prayed at 6 AM.

[/quote]

Traditionally monasteries would involve monks waking up at intervals during the night to pray the various nocturnes of Matins and then Lauds. I am somewhat certain that secular clergy prior to Vatican II would just sleep whatever hours are convenient for them, and pray Matins and Lauds combined upon waking up.


#9

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