This is the Saint Aelfric Customary for the service of Compline in the 2019 Prayer Book.


Psalms Appointed

In the Roman Benedictine use, Psalms 4, 91, and 134 are the traditional Compline Psalms every night. Celtic prayers included Psalm 31. If a rotation among all four is desired, consider the following:

  • Sunday: all four Psalms
  • Monday: Psalms 91, 134
  • Tuesday: Psalms 31:1-6, 91
  • Wednesday: Psalms 31:1-6, 134
  • Thursday: Psalms 4, 31:1-6
  • Friday: Psalms 4, 91
  • Saturday: Psalms 4, 134

This rotation uses all six combinations of the four Psalms, always keeping one Psalm in common from one day to the next, and using the longest pair on Friday.

The Glory be is best said at the end of each Psalm.


The Lesson

The reading at Compline is meant to be a meditation, not a lesson as such. 1 Peter 5:8-9 is the most prominent lesson in the Compline tradition, and may be favored for memorization and daily recitation. Alternatively, a rotation of the four lessons provided, with the additional seven in the Additional Directions, may be used:

• Sunday (Advent – Epiphanytide): 2 Corinthians 4:6
• Sunday (Pre-Lent – Lent): Matthew 11:28-30
• Sunday (Easter – Trinity Sunday): Hebrews 13:20-21
• Sunday (through Proper 16): Isaiah 26:3-4
• Sunday (Proper 17–29): Isaiah 30:15
• Monday: 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10
• Tuesday: 1 Peter 5:8-9
• Wednesday: Ephesians 4:26-27
• Thursday: 1 Thessalonians 5:23
• Friday: Jeremiah 14:9
• Saturday: Matthew 6:31-34


The First Collect

Five collects are provided on BCP 63, the last of which is noted for Saturdays. The first four may be divided as follows:

• Sunday: “Visit this place, O Lord”
• Monday & Tuesday: “Lighten our darkness”
• Wednesday & Thursday: “Be present, O merciful God”
• Friday: “Look down, O Lord”


The Second Collect

The first of the “following prayers” is one of the Prayers for Mission in Evening Prayer. It is best to appoint it such that it is not repeated in both liturgies on the same day.

• Sunday, Monday, Friday, Saturday: “Keep watch, dear Lord”
• Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: “O God, your unfailing providence”