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I was intrigued by the Liturgy of the Hours before I even became Catholic. I read of other mamas praying the hours and working the hard stops of these prayers into their daily life. And of it bearing fruit in their lives.

Like many other things in the Church, though, there was a general assumption that Catholics just knew how to do this. Jargon was thrown about, and despite my attempts to research what the Hours were and how to do it, the whole idea just left me scratching my head.

Then about a year ago I stumbled on the book The Everyday Catholic’s Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours and all of a sudden things were very clear. Daria Sockey does a fabulous job of explaining exactly what the Hours are and how to pray them. The book also contains tons of options for praying the hours — different books, websites, apps, and audio versions.

Which is helpful, but what if you just want a crash course because you want to pray today? Well that I provide right here! Here is Pam’s super-duper easy crash course of how to pray the Liturgy of the Hours in Three Easy Steps for those who just want to get started today.

1. What is the Liturgy of the Hours?

Very simply the Hours are a set of prayers the church has been praying for thousands of years. At set times of day, religious, priests and even laypeople stop what they are doing and gather to pray these prayers.

The prayers themselves are an arrangement of Psalms and other Scripture. Some of the elements of the prayers repeat daily and others repeat less often, but if you pray them long enough you will notice things start to sound familiar. There are seven different prayers spread throughout the day, but don’t worry, you are going to start with just one.

2. Pick ONE hour to start with.

“Pam, what do you mean I have to stop seven times a day to pray?” Talk about overwhelming!  Seven Hours a day are for religious communities whose vocation is to pray. And Hours is the name of the prayer. The actual prayers take about 10-20 minutes to pray.

While it would be lovely to pray the Psalms that many times a day, it really isn’t practical for most people — especially moms.

We have a dear semi-retired priest at our parish who tells us that the greatest form of prayer is to realize we are in God’s presence. So focus on that throughout the day, and just choose one of the Hours to sit and pray to get you started.

I love the Psalms of the Morning Hour — so full of praise and rejoicing. This prayer is to be said upon waking.

Another option is Evening Prayer. Usually said in the later afternoon to early evening this prayer includes the beautiful Magnificat. If you typically have a few minutes at the end of your day, or would like to begin praying with your family, this may be a good option to choose.

Night Prayer comes right before bed. These Psalms focus on God’s protection during the night.

There are others during the day, but these are the three main ones. I personally love Morning Prayer, but choose which one works for you. Start with one and build from there.

3. Visit Divine

At this website you can see the proper prayers for today. You can print the prayers, pray from your computer screen, or click the audio button to pray “in community” with the recording. It is the easiest way to begin to pray the Divine Office without the confusion of what to pray and when. Just choose the day and prayer and get started.

When You are Ready for More

PinI really do recommend the book. The Everyday Catholic’s Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours lays things out in an easy, understandable manner and provides many different options for praying the Hours — from various book forms to the myriad of apps available.

As for me, I love the apps of Divine Office. The audio is beautifully done; I feel as if I am praying in community; the content is always there; and the app format makes praying the hours easy to do. This app makes it easy to pray if you are away from your computer or not connected to the Internet.

There is something about praying the Psalms and Scripture that lifts you above ordinary prayer. Jesus and Mary prayed the Psalms — they knew them by heart. It’s a beautiful way to start or end your day knowing that the entire Church is praying with you and giving honor to God.

So start with one, and above all, ask for His guidance and blessing in your endeavor.

What is your experience with the Liturgy of the Hours? I would love to hear about it in the comments.