As Catholics, starting our day with morning prayer helps center us in Christ and offers spiritual strength for the hours ahead. In this in-depth guide, I’ll explore the meaning and benefits of Catholic morning prayer, how to pray the Liturgy of the Hours each morning, tools to deepen your daily prayer practice, and tips to cultivate this essential faith habit for spiritual growth.
Here is the morning prayer for Catholics:
Lord, open my lips, And my mouth will proclaim your praise. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen.
Alternate opening prayers:
God, come to my assistance. Lord, make haste to help me.
In place of the “Glory Be” some also pray the following from Scripture at the start of Morning Prayer:
“Lord, you will open my lips; and my mouth will proclaim your praise.” (Psalm 51:17)
What is Catholic morning prayer,and why is it important?
Morning prayer in the Catholic tradition is centered around the Liturgy of the Hours (also known as the Divine Office). This is the official daily prayer of the Church, in which priests, deacons, religious sisters and brothers, and lay Catholics pray in community or privately to sanctify time with Scripture, psalms, hymns, petitions, and more.
Praying the Liturgy of the Hours connects us to the ebb and flow of the church day, keeps us mindful of the presence of God from hour to hour, and immerses us in the words of Scripture.
As St. Basil the Great wrote in the 4th century, “We must begin the morning by communing with God” through prayer and Scripture reading. Centering ourselves in morning prayer before diving into our daily tasks and responsibilities helps us invite God into everything that lies ahead rather than treating prayer as an afterthought. It orients our mind around Jesus and asks the Holy Spirit to bear fruit through us. Morning prayer also expresses our belief that sanctity can be found amid our ordinary routines when anchored in Christ.
How to Pray the Liturgy of the Hours Each Morning?
The Liturgy of the Hours is structured into five prayer moments during the day known as “Hours”:
- Office of Readings (traditionally prayed at dawn or end of night prayer vigil)
- Morning Prayer (Lauds)
- Daytime Prayer (One of three daytime prayer periods: Midmorning, Midday, or Midafternoon)
- Evening Prayer (Vespers: prayed as daylight fades)
- Night Prayer (Compline: prayed before retirement)
To pray the Liturgy of the Hours in the morning, focus your time on Morning Prayer (Lauds) and choose either the Office of Readings or Daytime Prayer depending on your schedule.
The basic elements of Catholic morning prayer
- Invitatory Psalm with “Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will proclaim your praise”
- Psalmody: praying several psalms
- Scripture reading
- Canticle of Zechariah from Luke’s Gospel
- The Lord’s Prayer
- Concluding prayer
- You can pray from a one volume Christian Prayer book, the full four volume Liturgy of the Hours set, the Magnificat magazine with daily readings, or apps like iBreviary or Universalis on your phone or tablet
- If praying communally, pray seated together and take turns leading the different parts
- Chanting the psalms is encouraged to fully enter into the prayer
- Allow comfortable silences for reflection between sections
Tools to Deepen Your Practice of Morning Prayer
Here are some recommendations for books, websites, and ideas to further enhance your daily morning prayer routine:
- Read Scripture commentaries on the daily Mass readings to unpack God’s Word
- Meditate afterward on a short devotional reflection
- Listen to sacred music as you get ready for your day
- If praying as a family, have each person offer personal intentions
- Occasionally pray outside to praise God’s creation
- Keep a prayer journal to record what God reveals to you over time
- Read about the lives of the saints whose feasts we celebrate
- Take part in morning prayer at your parish when possible
Nurturing the Habit of Daily Morning Prayer
Like all good habits related to our faith life, dedicating time for morning prayer takes commitment and perseverance. But God rewards our sacrifice with deeper understanding and intimacy with Him.
Here are some tips if you struggle to prioritize morning prayer:
- Ask the Holy Spirit for a greater desire to pray and to encounter Christ
- Start by committing 5-10 minutes each day even if very early
- Set a reminder/alarm to help with consistency
- Arrange your evening so everything is ready to pray when you rise
- If overly tired, stand or kneel to pray
- Recite favorite memorized psalms on rushed mornings
- Ask a friend or family member to pray with you
- Persevere through busy seasons, remembering Christ walks with you
When we offer God the first fruits of each day in morning prayer, He blesses our time and opens our eyes more widely to His presence. Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ—all moments become prayer, and prayer becomes second nature no matter our tasks. Morning prayer grounds us in this grace.
I pray you find renewed purpose in prioritizing intimate communion with God to start each day by absorbing yourself in the Liturgy of the Hours. May it bear much fruit in your life!
Korean Community Church Of New Jersey