A life of prayer

Monks follow a tradition of prayer that marks the important moments of the day and of the night. This means they must pray during the nightly vigil, at dawn, at mid-morning, at noon, in the afternoon, in the early evening and at nightfall.

The tides

This rhythm follows the Book of Hours and each point in time bears its own name which is derived from the ancient way of marking time. These points in time are called, respectively: vigil, lauds, terce, sext, nones, vespers and compline.

Monks have a long-standing tradition of prayer to mark all of the important moments of the day and even the night.

‘Lauds’ refers to the hymns of praise sung by the monks at daybreak. ‘Vespers’ is simply a reference to the Latin word for ‘evening’. And ‘compline’ is closely related to ‘complete’ - compline closes the day with prayer.

However, St Benedict allows in his Rule for the hours set out in this daily liturgy to be moved to allow time for work, reading and personal prayer.

Communal prayer

When praying the Book of Hours the monks go through the entire Book of Psalms every two weeks.

‘Words often fail us during prayer. We cannot find enough words or cannot find the right ones.’ This is why the monks pray together, usually with the words from the Psalms. This Book is an education in prayer, which becomes all the more powerful through praying together.

‘Words often fail us during prayer. We cannot find enough words or cannot find the right ones.’ This is why the monks pray together, usually with the words from the Psalms. This Book is an education in prayer, which becomes all the more powerful through praying together.

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