How do I set times each day for praying the Divine Office?

How is it best to decide the set times each day for praying the Divine Office? I am starting to integrate Lectio Divina into my daily life, but not sure when to schedule for myself. From what I’ve read so far, there are no absolute times, but it would help in spacing out & structuring my day to have more info on this.


 I am happy for our union in prayer with you as all my brother and sister Cistercians pray with you the prayers of the Divine Office. In scheduling when you will say the various offices of Lauds, Vespers, Compline etc. it is important to recognize that these prayers probably derive from patterns of prayer that date back to the the temple in Jerusalem and were intended to consecrated to God the different hours of the day in their concrete reality.

Consequently, you will find in the book “Christian Prayer” that the psalms, antiphons, and concluding prayers are all selected in order to praise God at a certain hour of the day and with reference to certain beautiful manifestations of God’s goodness characteristic of that hour of the day.

So, as the sun is rising, the church at Lauds sings: “He raises up the lowly from the dust!” inviting those at prayer to see the glory of the resurrection reflected in the splendor of a new day being born. With this basic principle in mind, I would suggest, at least with reference to Lauds, (Morning Prayer), Vespers, (Evening Prayer), and Compline, (Night Prayer), that you take care to schedule them so that they are prayed in the context of the actual experience of morning, evening, and night time.

At most monasteries I know, these services would take place, at about 6:30 a.m., 5:30 p.m., and 7:30 p.m. respectively. Sext, or Mid-day Prayer, should be prayed at about noon. Matins, if you are really serious about the Divine Office really should be prayed in the dark before the sun rises. Also, as you will note with the extended readings incorporated into Matins, this is a perfect time to do Lectio Divina.