Morning and Evening Prayer at St. Martin’s Church

By Editor, Oct 31 2018 06:01PM

Not everybody knows this, but the church is here to offer daily prayer and praise to God. This is its (and our) primary task.

In Jesus’ time it was customary to pray seven time a day, to hear some of the Bible and praise God using the psalms. The early church did something similar, calling these services the Divine Offices, the Opus Dei i.e. the Work of God. You may recall their names, Mattins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers and Compline. There was also a daily celebration of Holy Communion and together these times of prayer at 12 Midnight, Dawn 3am, Morning 6am, Mid-morning 9am, Noon, Mid Afternoon 3pm, Evening 6pm and Night 9pm formed the basic pattern of monastic life. The Church of England drew these together into two services Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer when it published its own Book of Common Prayer after the separation from Rome. Ever since it has been the duty of every priest to offer these services to God daily. In older times the Office would be said or sung in church. Before it began the bell would ring and the whole parish, or at least those in earshot, would know their priest was praying for them and for their world. Nowadays our priests still have this obligation but may say the Office privately. Fortunately for us at St. Martin’s Morning and Evening Prayer are said in church every day and all are welcome.

Since the beginning of this month the time has been moved forward to 8.30am Monday to Thursday but is still at 9.15 on Friday and Saturday. Maybe more people will hear the bell on their way to work, taking their children to school, or heading for the shops. But everyday the work is done. Praise goes up from this parish’s church and prayers are said for you. Evening Prayer is at 5pm every day except Sunday.

All who hear the bells and see folk coming and going will know that there is another way to live, as we make a stand against the view that there is no God or no point in believing that there is value in caring for others more than you care for yourself, whilst there is great personal benefit from stepping aside just for a few minutes from the busy-ness of the world. Twice a day the bell sends out that message and calls everyone to join in, wherever they are, or to come and join us in church. Whether we are only two or three we are reminded of what a great thing it is we share in, and can have the comfort of a partner to share your own prayers. Come and Join us.

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