Like many people, I’ve tried a lot of different ways of praying. Early in my Christian life I benefited greatly from the “Quiet Time”. This is usually time of reading Scripture, perhaps some commentary, and spending time in prayer. It’s otherwise unstructured and encourages a more conversational type of prayer.
From my late 20’s on, I became a raving fan of the Daily Office. Although there are a lot of “Office” prayers in the liturgical world (Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans etc. all have their own twist on it) the one that I developed a deep appreciation for is the office of the Prayer Book. I found that my “Quiet Times”, while helpful, were becoming limited. They were limited by my thoughts and creativity and frankly, my mood. I needed something that was larger than me, steady, historical, proven. The Daily Office is that, and honestly, I find it beautiful.
It’s poetic. It’s rhythmic. It’s chock full of Scripture. It’s structured. Morning and Evening Prayer are the primary services, but also may be joined by Noonday Prayer and Compline. It is loosely based on the Monastic or Canonical Offices (of which there are eight in the Western Church) but have been streamlined and made more accessible.
The structure, to me, is a huge plus — sometimes my mind wanders around like a leaf in a windstorm. In the office you pray for the Church, the world, others, and yourself. You link yourself with the larger church in the creeds and read several lessons from Scripture. While I sometimes struggle to keep my consistency in prayer, I’ve found that I always return to the Daily Office. Few methods of prayer feed my soul and lift my heart and mind to God like it.
And it is thoroughly Anglican.