I have recently been praying the liturgy of the hours and it has been so wonderful. Sometimes I get caught up and miss an hour and was wondering if it’s ok to pray an hour even if it’s long past that hour. I feel this liturgy has brought me closer to Jesus and want to make sure I’m saying it right.
In general, one should respect the verity of the hour. Therefore praying Lauds (Morning Prayer), for instance, in the afternoon, does not do that.
That being said, there’s a fair amount of flexibility, perhaps more than you realize. To start, mid-day prayer can be said at either the hour of Terce, Sext or None, and Compline, generally before bed. The Office of Readings can be said at any time (though I use it as “Vigils”, usually very early in the AM upon rising and before Morning Prayer).
These times below are rough guides. They are by no means “official”, just my interpretation based on my observations from attending the LOTH at different monasteries over the years or looking at their schedules on their websites:
Office of Readings: any time; often, it’s anticipated the evening before, in the night, or very early in the morning.
Morning prayer: anytime from 6 to 8:30 am
Terce: anytime from 8:30 am to 11:00 am (mid-day prayer can be said here)
Sext: anytime from 11 am to 1:30 pm (again mid-day can be said here)
None: anytime from 1:30 pm to 4 pm (another spot where mid-day can be said)
Evening Prayer (Vespers), anytime from 4 pm to 8 pm
Compline: just before bed, but in monasteries anytime from 7 to 9 pm.
Again these are just rough guides. As a general rule, Morning Prayer should be early in the morning after sunrise, Terce mid-morning, Sext mid-day, None, mid-afteroon, and Vespers anytime after 4 pm until the middle of the evening, and Compline before bed.
Hope this helps! For the record, this is my schedule which can sometimes vary:
Vigils (Office of Readings): 6 am (7 am on Sundays, my one day to sleep in!)
Lauds (Morning Prayer): 7:30 am (8:30 on Sundays)
Terce: 9:45 am
Sext: noon (1 pm on Sundays, because that’s when I get home from Mass)
None: 3 pm
Vespers: 5 pm (sometimes pushed out to 6 pm)
Compline: 9 pm.
In general I agree with OraLabora; however, directly from my Pastor and Deacon’s that helped me to get started… this was something we talked about:
Because I am **Laity **and not-enrolled any secular laity that has the observance of the LOTH, and therefor under no obligation to pray the LOTH, I am exempt from the normative form; thus, if I miss an hour and decide to pray that hour and then the remaining hours that is not only ok to do, but commendable.
It is commendable that you have the desire to pray this office as intended; however, please be patient with yourself and find others that are praying the office to help you. I don’t know if I would have stuck with it at all once Lent and Easter came around and Deacon wasn’t there to help keep my ribbons straight. He’d come in, asked if I had my breviary, which I would hand him… he’d move my ribbons around if and as needed. After three years I still hand him my breviary, he doesn’t move my ribbons anymore, just tells me that if he dies, make sure I get there first and move the ribbons to the right place
Remember, God does not see with the eyes of man, He sees your heart.