For the last year or so the Daily Prayer app and The Lectionary app from the Church of England have become the primary apps we have used for quieting ourselves as the day draws to a close. At 9:30pm every night, our sound system plays The Great Bell from Ampleforth Abbey and we know it is time to stop what we are doing and come to prayer. This idea came from a brilliant little book called ‘Domestic Monastery’ by Richard Rolheiser.
“All monasteries have a bell. Bernard in writing his rules for monasticism, told his monks that whenever the monastic bell rang, they were to drop whatever they were doing and go immediately to the particular activity (prayer, meals, work, sleep, study) to which the bell was summoning them. He was adamant that they respond immediately, stating that if they were writing a letter they were to stop in mid sentence when the bell rang. The idea in his mind was that when the bell called, it called you to the next task and you were to respond immediately, not because you want to, but because it’s time for that task and time isn’t your time, it’s God’s time. For him, the monastic bell was intended as a discipline to stretch your heart by always taking you beyond your own agenda to God’s agenda.”
Pages19 & 20
The Evening Prayer is broken into four parts
Night Prayer begins with a settling of the soul “The Lord Almighty grant us a quiet night and perfect end” before leading on to period of silence and a time of penitence. This is followed by a simple hymn. The one provided in the app
entitled ‘Before the ending of the day’ can be replaced with other hymns, a particular favourite of ours is ‘The day thou gavest Lord has ended’. We have curated a Spotify evensong playlist here with some suggestions.
The Word of God
The second section is the word of God and is composed of a Psalm, Scripture reading and the Gospel Canticle (Nunc dimittis). The app does not change these readings very frequently so we substitute these with the daily reading from the Lectionary app.
After The Word of God we have time of open prayer before reading the collect for the day and reciting the Lord’s Prayer. Last year we kept the Christmas cards which our friends and families sent us and pulled one or two out each evening to pray for those who sent them.
Night prayer concludes with an
invocation that the Lord’s presence will remain with us throughout the night.