One of the most beloved and ancient prayer practices is praying the Daily Office. Traditionally, these are prayed several times a day but certainly morning and night. Each has a “canticle from the early chapters of Luke’s Gospel as the invariable climax.” (Note from Celebrating Common Prayer: A version of the Daily Office SSF). Over the next several days we’ll look at each of these canticles and use them to encourage our own daily prayers. The first one, used during Morning Prayer (Lauds), uses Benedictus, the Song of Zechariah, which “looks forward to the birth of John the Baptist, the herald of God’s kingdom. As we pray Benedictus we are tuned into expecting God to act in the day that lies ahead.. As we step into that day, we are to be alert to the angel tapping us on the shoulder, inviting us to participate in bringing God’s will into being.” (ibid)
Today, use this ancient canticle from Luke 1.68-79 to guide your day. There are many variations but we are quoting the CEB translation of this Gospel text:
“Bless the Lord God of Israel
because he has come to help and has delivered his people.
He has raised up a mighty savior for us in his servant David’s house,
just as he said through the mouths of his holy prophets long ago.
He has brought salvation from our enemies
and from the power of all those who hate us.
He has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors,
and remembered his holy covenant,
the solemn pledge he made to our ancestor Abraham.
He has granted that we would be rescued
from the power of our enemies
so that we could serve him without fear,
in holiness and righteousness in God’s eyes,
for as long as we live.
You, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way.
You will tell his people how to be saved
through the forgiveness of their sins.
Because of our God’s deep compassion,
the dawn from heaven will break upon us,
to give light to those who are sitting in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide us on the path of peace.”
Prayer Focus: How does this Canticle of Zechariah resonate with your soul? How might it encourage you to “be more alert” to living into the line from the Lord’s Prayer thy will be done as we are invited “to participate in bringing God’s will into being.”