Time of day to pray the Hours

Can anyone tell what time of day to pray the various Hours? I have some older prayer books that are pre Vatican II and am not sure what time of day to pray:
Matins I nocturn, II nocturn, III nocturn
Thanks in advance

Lauds- 6 AM (or upon arising)
Terce- 9 AM (the “third hour” in the old days 6AM was the “first hour” of the day)
Sext- Noon
Nones- 3 PM
Vespers- 6 PM
Compline- Bedtime

Prime has been supressed

Matins (nowdays) can be said at any time you choose, and even combined with another Hour. But it is more special if you treat Matins as a “Nighttime” Hour, and get up to read it like between Midnight and 3 AM.
I’m sorry I don’t know about the I nocturne II nocturne III nocturne you mention.

Per my 1954 Benedictine Short Breviary:

Matins In some monasteries Matins are chanted soon after Midnight, but the Church commonly permits the anticipation of Matins the evening before, or even as early as 2 pm of the evening before.

Lauds…which are properly prayed at dawn to greet Christ, the rising Sun of the day of grace. One may anticipate Lauds with Matins.

Prime 6am-9am
Terce 9am-12am
**Sext **noon till 3pm
None 3pm onwards

Vespers They are the evening song of praise and thanksgiving at sundown.

Compline Before retiring.

Those living a secular life though are cut a lot of slack when it comes to reciting the Office at specific times. Use the above as a guideline not as an inflexible rule.

Best, :tiphat:

Vigils [or Matins] can be prayed any time of day; the tradtional time is Midnight. The common name for the office [in todays language] is Office of readings

Lauds can be prayed from 6:00 AM to 11:00 AM; traditionally prayed at 6:00 AM. The common name is Morning Prayer.

Terce is prayed at 9:00 AM today and traditionally. The common name is Midmorning Prayer.

Sext is prayed at Noon [12:00 PM] today and traditionally. The common name is Midday Prayer.

None is prayed at 3:00 PM [the hour oof mercy] today and traditionally. The common name is Midafternoon Prayer.

Vespers can be prayed from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM; traditionally it is prayed at 6:00 PM. The common name is Evening Prayer.

Compline is prayed before bedtime today and traditionally [and bedtime varies from person to person and day to day, probably always has]. The common name is Night Prayer.

Liiturgy is public work, praying is the public work of the church. :thumbsup:

It is important to remember that if one misses an hour to go on to the next, do not try to catch up! That defeats the whole purpose.

You are sanctifying time.


Here’s an interesting link to New Mellery Abby, a Cistercian Monastery. The web page lists the times and the Psalm sequence they use for the their Divine Office.


Also of note on their home page is a RealAudio recording of Compline which is very good.

Best, :tiphat:

I am still trying to figure out how to adjust the LOTH to my schedule. Suggestions and advice welcomed. I work swing shift at the Post Office, 3 PM - Midnight. I go to sleep about 2 AM, and get up 8 or 9 hours later at 10 or 11 AM.

I cannot figure how to get even the Little Office of the BVM into that kind of schedule.

I suppose I could do matins vigils between midnight and 2 AM, but would it be for the day just ended or the day starting at midnight? And if I had time for another office, which should it be?

Right now I do Compline at 2 AM, just before going to bed, but it is the Compline for the day just ended. Is this correct, even if done two hours after midnight?

It is more difficult when one works odd hours. If you’re really keen on saying all the daytime hours I’d say morning prayer and Terce (midmorning) together just after you wake up. Maybe bunch Sext and Nones (noon and afternoon) together as well just before you leave for work. Evening Prayer during your main mealbreak at work whenever that is.

As for Matins - if you’re using the pre-Vatican 2 Office I’d say compline first and then Matins for the day just beginning. If it’s the more modern OOR I’d say OOR for the previous day and then compline.

It sounds like an awful lot on top of all your other prayer commitments though. I’d cut out the daytime offices personally - stick to Morning, Evening and Compline, and add OOR/Matins only if you have time.

Properly speaking one would consider the day beginning at sunset. Vespers is the first office of the day. Compline (night prayer) is said before retiring. If that’s when you will retire what choice do you have? :wink:

I think you do fine if this is what you must do to adjust.

If you insist upon doing several of the hours you may compress them, monastics have always done this in various ways, even to the point of saying Vespers, Compline and Matins all in a row the evening before. Since the day begins at twilight you would be saying them the day you do them, even if after midnight.

You could pick another time zone for your hours. Find a time zone you would have to live in in order to make your job a day job, and work it out that way. You could also ‘adopt’ a monastery in that part of the world and decide to pray some of the hours along with them! (in your case it might have to be a house in Hawaii or Alaska!)

You cannot do all of the hours, so don’t break yourself over it. Make the effort as meaningful as you can for what you can do. If you really want to do the Little Office too you might want to keep it for Saturday, but I suggest replace something in the breviary with it.

Consider becoming an Oblate with a suitable monastic house, you should be able to get good spiritual direction even if through long distance.

You are praising God to the best of your ability. This is what we were meant to do so don’t beat yourself up over it, I wish more of us had your sense of commitment. Just don’t burn out, you could make this a lifelong habit if you temper your zeal with common sense and moderation.


Thank you for your advice. I think that is what I will have to do. 10 AM - 11 AM is morning, after all, Evening prayer is the problem.:frowning:

My lunch break is 7 PM - 7:30 PM. I do need my supper, and wonder if it is correct to mumble an office with your mouth full.:o

I have a coffee break 5 PM - 5:15 PM, and I use that for the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

Another possibility I’ll mention, since we have Hesychios’ attention is the The Rule of St. Pachomius. This is a very short, easily memorized, format of prayers centered around the praying of Psalms or the Jesus Prayer.

I had the good fortune to have an Orthodox monastic as one of my spiritual advisers (though not a formal Spiritual Father) and this was part of my prayer life until I grafted praying through out the day into my routine–and heart.

Although it’s usually considered a Byzantine tradition, it is ancient going back to the 4th or 5th century. I’ve remember something about St. Benedict being influenced by it and using it to a certain degree in his Rule–any truth in that, Michael?

A couple of links regarding St. Pachomius’ Rule:


Best, :tiphat:

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