Here follows the Saint Aelfric Customary for the Daily Office of Evening Prayer.

Opening Sentences

For the sake of simplicity, the standard three should be used most often.

  • John 8:12 on Monday & Saturday
  • Psalm 26:8 on Wednesday & Friday
  • Psalm 141:2 on Tuesday & Thursday

The reference to loving the Lord’s house in Psalm 26 makes it particularly appropriate for days of special devotion, which traditionally would be Wednesday and Friday.

The sacrificial language in Psalm 141 makes it particularly appropriate for the Eucharistic memorial tone that can be associated with Thursday.

The appendix of Opening Sentences are best used on Sundays and certain other holy days.

  • Advent (Mark 13:35-36) on the Sundays in Advent
  • Christmas (Revelation 21:3) on Christmas Day and the Sunday(s) in Christmastide
  • Epiphany (Isaiah 60:3) on the Day of the Epiphany and the Sundays of Epiphany
  • Lent (1 John 1:8-9) on the First through Third Sundays in Lent
  • Lent (Psalm 51:3) on the Fourth and Fifth Sundays in Lent
  • Lent (Daniel 9:9) on the Ember Days and Rogation Days
  • Holy Week (Isaiah 53:6) from Palm Sunday through Holy Saturday
  • Easter (1 Corinthians 15:57) on Sundays from Easter Day through Rogation Sunday
  • Ascension (Hebrews 9:24) on Ascension Day and the Sunday after the Ascension
  • Pentecost (Revelation 22:17) from the Day of Pentecost through Saturday
  • Trinity Sunday (Isaiah 6:3) on Trinity Sunday
  • Days of Thanksgiving (Proverbs 3:19-20) on Thanksgiving Day
  • At Any Time (Psalm 96:9) on Proper Sundays 1 through 16
  • At Any Time (Psalm 16:8-9) on Proper Sundays 17 through 29

Confession of Sin

The first, longer, address should always be used in public.  Not only is it the traditional exhortation to confession but it also outlines a theology of worship that most church-goers need to hear.  The shorter bid to confession should be reserved for gatherings where all involved are already very familiar with the Office.

The first absolution should be the priest or bishop’s default, as it more clearly sets out the Gospel of forgiveness in Christ as well as outlining the Anglican theology of the ministry of reconciliation.  The shorter absolution, again, should be reserved for gatherings where the hearers are already well-versed in Anglican spirituality and theology.

The prayer for forgiveness is said when no priest or bishop is present, or when a priest or bishop is saying the office alone.

The rubrics permit the Confession to be omitted provided it is said once per day, but Evening Prayer towards the end of the day is the Office where the Confession is best retained every time.

Phos Hilaron

This hymn is a modern addition to the Prayer Book liturgy, and thus is encouraged to be replaced another suitable hymn, namely an Evening Hymn.  See the chapter on Daily Hymnody.

The Psalm or Psalms Appointed

It is traditional to say the Gloria Patri (“Glory be”) after each Psalm, and after each portion of Psalm 119 (see BCP 734).

The Lessons

After each lesson the reader says “Here ends the reading.”  This denotes the Daily Office from the Communion service, emphasizing the focus on the reading of Scripture in this liturgy.

The Canticles

The First Canticle, Magnificat, is to be recited at every Evening Office except when it is part of the New Testament Lesson, or the Gospel at the Communion. On such occasions, the Cantate Domino (Canticle 7) is to be used in its place.

The Second Canticle, Nunc dimittis, is to be recited on Saturdays and Sundays, on Holy Days and the evening immediately preceding them.  On other week days, the following are substituted:

  • Canticle 4, the Quaerite Dominum, is to be used Monday through Friday during the season of Advent.
  • Canticle 3, the Kyrie Pantokrator, is to be used on Mondays through Fridays from Ash Wednesday to Wednesday in Holy Week.
  • Canticle 9, the Deus misereatur, is to be used in its place on Monday through Friday during Epiphanytide and Trinitytide, and on the occasion that the text of the Nunc dimittis is part of the New Testament Lesson.

Alternatively, the seasonal canticles listed above may also be considered for use on the first Sunday of their respective seasons in communities that regularly say Morning Prayer together on Sundays.

 The Apostles’ Creed

The rubrics permit the Creed to be omitted provided it is said once per day.  If that rubric is to be utilized in private recitation, the Creed should be said in Morning Prayer and omitted in the evening.  When said publicly with a congregation, Evening Prayer should never omit the Creed.

The Prayers

The traditional form of the Kyrie and Lord’s Prayer (in the left column) is to be preferred in the public Office.  In private recitation, the modernized Lord’s Prayer may be desirable to use intermittently to keep one attentive to the text and avoid speaking purely by rote.

The Suffrages

Two sets of suffrages are offered in Evening Prayer, a feature that is inherited from the 1979 Prayer Book.  Because the first set are the traditional Suffrages for both Morning and Evening Prayer in the classical Prayer Books, it should be default.  If anyone present at Evening Prayer did not participate in Morning Prayer, then the first (traditional) Suffrage is to be used.  The second, thus, is best relegated to a supplement primarily for private recitation of the Office, provided Morning Prayer was already said that day.

The Collects

Traditionally, as the rubrics note, there are three required Collects at this point: the Collect of the Day, the Collect for Peace, and the Collect for Aid Against Perils.  When Evening Prayer is said irregularly with the congregation, using this traditional set of Collects is preferable.  For those praying the Offices regularly, though, utilizing the full list of daily Collects is recommended.

There are some traditions of “stacking” multiple Collects of the Day together – for example, the usual one for the previous Sunday plus a Collect for an Optional Commemoration.  This is not recommended for use in the whole congregation unless the majority of the worshipers are aware of the commemoration; it is best reserved for private recitation of the Office.

 The Prayer for Mission

Three Prayers for Mission are provided and are best and most easily used throughout the week in order:

  • The First Prayer (for the universal worship of God) on Sundays and Mondays
  • The Second Prayer (for those up at night) on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays
  • The Third Prayer (meditating on God’s manifest love) on Fridays and Saturdays

Additional Material

Despite the order of the rubrics on BCP 51, the traditional order of additions to the liturgy here are

  1. Anthem or Hymn
  2. Homily
  3. Additional Prayers
  4. The final prayers provided on BCP 51–53.

For the anthem or hymn, see the chapter on Daily Hymnody.

For additional prayers, the following Occasional Prayers and Thanksgivings may be added according to a two-week rotation, tied to the season’s number of the week:

  • Sunday Week I: 89-92, 105, 114
  • Monday Week I: 11-15
  • Tuesday Week I: 40-43
  • Wednesday Week I: 52-56
  • Thursday Week I: 116, 122-125
  • Friday Week I: 65-69
  • Saturday Week I: 80-82, 110-112
  • Sunday Week II: 98-100, 107-108, 115
  • Monday Week II: 16-20
  • Tuesday Week II: 44-47
  • Wednesday Week II: 48-51
  • Thursday Week II: 117-121
  • Friday Week II: 70-74
  • Saturday Week II: 85-88, 109, 113

For further notes, see the Additional Prayers at Morning Prayer.

The General Thanksgiving

This prayer has always been optional, and for the sake of time may be omitted.  It is recommended to be retained at Evening Prayer in particular, as the worshipers are able to reflect upon the blessings of the day that is past.

 The Prayer of St. John Chrysostom

This prayer is best said when “two or three” or more “are gathered” for worship.  It may be said in private recitation of the Office.

The Concluding Sentences

Three verses are provided, historically it is the first verse (2 Corinthians 13:14) that is used as the concluding Grace or Blessing or benediction.  The second verse (Romans 15:13) is also a blessing, but lacks the strong Trinitarian ending.  The third (Ephesians 3:20-21) is a doxology, not a blessing or benediction.

  • 2 Corinthians 13:14 is to be used regularly.
  • Romans 15:13 may be used occasionally.
  • Ephesians 3:20-21 is not recommended for use.