Well, you’re a regular at the Daily Office, now, that’s awesome. You want to pray more? Even more awesome!
Step One: Pray a Psalm followed by the Lord’s Prayer.
Step Two: Add a Scripture Reading
Step Three: Add more Psalms and Lessons
Step Four: Add the Apostles’ Creed
Step Five: Add Canticles
Step Six: Add the Confession
Step Seven: Add some Prayers
Step Eight: Add the Invitatory
Step Nine: Add the Collect of the Day
Step Ten: Add the Closing Prayers
Step Eleven: Supplement it with Occasional Prayers
Step Twelve: Supplement it with Hymnody
After reading the three Collects and Prayers, and before the closing sequence of prayers, there is a line where further prayers are invited. It also notes that an anthem may be sung. This is where you can begin to transform “the Daily Office” into “the Choral Service”, or Evening Prayer to “Evensong”!
Any Anglican Hymnal worth its salt has a section for Morning Hymns and a section for Evening Hymns, and those are the perfect places to start when it comes to adding music to the Daily Office. Like the Collects for each day of the week, these hymns pay particular attention to the time of day, drawing beautiful connections between “natural time” and “sacred time”. You may also find the hymns for each season of the church calendar to be nice points of connection between your recitation of the Office and the celebration of Holy Communion on Sundays. If you want to think big, and look at how to sing the whole hymnal in a year, I’ve got you covered!
The simplest places to add hymnody to the Daily Office are three: the aforementioned Anthem towards the end of both Morning and Evening Prayer, and the Phos hilaron, which can be substituted for any hymn. After that you could consider where to insert additional hymns – perhaps at the very beginning or end. Technically even the Canticles can be substituted out for hymns, but that would be less desirable from a traditional standpoint.
Good Anglican hymnals also usually include a setting or two of “The Choral Service”, which sets some of the prayers of the Daily Office to chant. If you are so inclined, you could pick up a hymnal or similar book, and do that too.
With music and additional prayers, the Daily Office can take up to half an hour. This can be difficult to sustain in this busy world, but I love it when I have the time and discipline to make that happen! Just remember that supplements are supplements, not requirements. You may not always be able to make use of every option to expand the Daily Office, and sometimes will have to make use of the rubrics to reduce and truncate them instead. The goal, as I’ve said throughout this series, is consistency. Not every day will see you feeling or acting up to snuff, and that’s alright. The point is that you have a stable life of prayer and worship such that, when things go awry for a little while, you’re not thrown completely off the spiritual track. Along those lines, the Daily Office is unbeatable. Godspeed!