Since earliest times Christians have met together for morning and evening prayer. These prayers soon took on a regular structure and were sung daily in cathedrals and major churches. Later, especially in Egypt, some Christians formed religious communities dedicated to a continual offering of prayer and praise to God. These communities developed in the monastic communities of the Middle Ages. In the 16th century Archbishop Cranmer simplified these services into Matins and Evensong. In 2005 the daily prayer of the church was again revised and is based around two major services or morning and evening prayer (taking about 15 minutes to say) and two minor services of Night Prayer and Prayer during the Day (each taking about 5 minutes to say). The shape in Common Worship is:
- Opening Praise (perhaps including a hymn)
- A Biblical Canticle (song) In the morning from the Hebrew Bible & in the evening from the New Testament
- Biblical reading(s)
- A response
- A Gospel Canticle (song): The Benedictus in the morning & the Magnificat in the evening.
- Prayers ending with a collect and the Lord’s Prayer
All priest have the privilege of saying the daily office. At Stoke Minster, and many other churches, a small group of people also regularly share in this daily offering of prayer. You are welcome to join us in Stoke Minster at 5.15 p.m. Monday to Thursday or click on Daily Prayer to join in the same prayers at home.