Need help with shorter christian prayer

I just picked up the shorter christian prayer. I just don’t know where to start. Unlike my Missal it has no insert to show me where to begin. Any help would be great.

Thanks and god bless,

Start at the beginning - seriously. Today is Sunday of Week I.

The first few psalms kind of “walk you through” the process with the Glory Be at the end of each psalm.

The Invitatory begins on Page 22, I think. I put bookmark in there, because you will pray that every day.

Also read through the Ordinary. And be patient with yourself.

Quick rule of thumb to know where we are: This is the 5th week in Ordinary Time. Divide whatever week it is by 4 (4 weeks in the Psalter). Whatever the remainder is - that’s what week we’re in.

Hope that helps a bit.

Thanks so much, that did help. I did notice that there is also Sunday evening prayer 1 or 2, how do you know what ones to pray? I really like this.

Sunday evening prayer 1 is prayed Saturday evening, II is prayed Sunday evening.
find the propers in the back, by week in ordinary time, they will have the antiphon for the gospel canticle (Magnificat, for evening prayer is inside the back cover, and Benedictus for morning prayer is inside the front cover), and the closing prayer.

advice: begin with just the daily psalm cycle and don't worry about the propers right away for feasts and seasons. get familiar with the rhythm of the psalms. read the antiphon for each psalm that is in the larger type. say the Glory be at the end of each psalm, before the psalm prayer.

night prayer for each night of the week (just before bedtime) is toward the end of the book and is easy to memorize most of it. you will find after praying the psalms and canticles for a few months you have the magnificat and benedictus mostly memorized as well.

if you lose track of "what week are we in" check the bishop's website for the daily readings, or universalis, or most Catholic calendars (the kind your parish gives away). the Sundays divide by 4, so as this is the 5th Sunday of ordinary time, that means we started over with week 1 last night for evening prayer 1.
the First Sunday of Lent and Advent we start with week 1 again
Easter Sunday begins week 1, and so forth
there is a chart in the front of your book that tells where we are the Monday after Pentecost in each year

read the introductory material it is very good.

no matter what time of the day you begin, even if you skipped morning prayer and are starting with evening prayer, you can pray the invitatory first. there is a list of antiphons for each day of the week.

The above advice about the Saturday and Sunday readings is invaluable. I was completely lost the first year I started praying w/ SCP because I didn’t understand this.

As far as what week we’re on, like Annie said there’s a guide in the front (page 15) that will help you. I use this all the time. Quick run-down:

Begin Week I of the Psalter on:
*]First Sunday of Advent
*]Monday after the Baptism of the Lord
*]First Sunday of Lent
*]Easter Sunday

On the Monday after Pentecost, use the week indicated below:

2009- Week 1
2010- Week 4 (current year)
2011- Week 3
2012- Week 4
2013- Week 3
2014- Week 2
2015- Week 4

The Four-Week Psalter begins on page 35. The Ordinary is the few pages preceding that. The Ordinary is your friend. :thumbsup: I still refer back to it from time to time.

It’ll get a lot easier after just a week or so of praying it. I have Shorter Christian Prayer and the regualr Christian Prayer book. Love both, but I always go back to SCP. :slight_smile:

Thank you for your help with this, I did it tonight and I loved it. Like you said once I get going everyday with it, it will become easy. Someday I would love to do the full set of hours, but I’ll start with this first and work my way up to them.

God Bless and truly thank you so much for your help.

Walter :slight_smile:

Calendar nit-pick:

Should be [LIST]
*]The *day *after the Baptism of the Lord[/LIST]
In areas such as the USA, which translate the feast of Epiphany, when Epiphany is celebrated on Sunday 7 or 8 January, the following day (Monday) celebrates the Baptism of the Lord, and the day following that (Tuesday) begins the I Week of Ordinary Time (Psalter Week I).

One other little bump: Ash Wednesday, and the Thursday-Saturday following, celebrate Psalter Week IV.

Liturgical Calendar Nerd :nerd:

The first step is to read the General Principles and the Ordinary to familiarize yourself with the structure of each hour.

The year is divided into seasons, identical to those for the Mass:

Ordinary Time (between Baptism of the Lord and Ash Wednesday)
Ordinary Time (after Pentecost)

The psalter is divided into a 4-week cycle.

To know where you are, a website like will give you what week we are in the year and in the psalter (5th week of ordinary time, week I in the psalter), what saint (if any) is being memorialized (or what feast or solemnity it is). The site I mentioned even tells you where to find the right pages in Christian Prayer or the 4-volume Liturgy of the Hours, for each hour of the current day.

Eventually you’ll get the hang of it and won’t need the website any longer.

For memorials of saints, you start with the proper of the saint him/herself. Anything not in the Propers will be in the Commons for the type of saint, e.g. commons of the Blessed Virgin, of martyrs, of doctors, etc.

For memorials, unless otherwise specified the antiphons and psalms are the of the day in the 4-week cycle. For feasts, at Morning and Evening prayer, psalm and antiphons are from the Propers or Commons as specified but for mid-day prayer, from the 4-week cycle. For solemnities, same thing, except for the use of the Gradual Psalms at the mid-day hour.

It would almost be worthwhile to have on this form a sticky at the top posted by someone knowledgeable giving the indications as to what day today is, using the General Roman calendar.

For Ordinary Time divide the week by four. If the remainder is one, use week 1, Two - week 2, etc. We are currently in week five Of Ordinary Time so use week 1.

Thank you for catching that. My copy of SCP is obviously very, very old. :blush:
The list of the years in which to start the psalter after Pentacost ends in my book with 2005. I had to get the current years from a newer copy and write them into the margin. :smiley:

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