The Liturgy of the Hours (also called the Divine Office) is the response of the Church to the call of Christ to pray without ceasing (Luke 18:1 and 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-17). It is the custom of the Church, since the apostolic times, to consecrate the day to God by praying devoutly at fixed times. In the Acts of the Apostles, the disciples gathered together at the third hour; Peter “went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour” (10:9); “Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the night hour” (3:1); and “about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God” (16:25). Indeed, this consecration of the day to God is a sign, a manifestation of our awareness that man depends, and should depend on God in all his endeavors. It is a sign of our recognition of the supreme sovereignty of God, the Lord of the universe.
Invitatory, which is recited at dawn or before the first hour of the day;
Lauds (Morning Prayer), prayed before 9:00am
Daytime Prayer which has three parts, namely: (a) Mid-Morning Prayer, (b) Midday Prayer, and (c) Afternoon Prayer
Vespers (Evening Prayer), prayed at sundown or around 6:00pm
Compline (Night Prayer), prayed before going to sleep, even after midnight
Office of Readings, prayed at any time of the day
The Liturgy of the Hours follows a structure. The major hours (Lauds and Vespers) are composed of a hymn, the Psalmody (a set of three psalms, each with its own antiphon), a scriptural reading, the Gospel canticle (the Canticle of Zechariah in the morning and the Canticle of Mary in the evening) with its own antiphon, the Intercessions, the Lord's Prayer, and the Concluding Prayer (Collect).
Daytime prayers are shorter than the major hours. Like the Lauds and the Vespers, they are composed of a hymn, a Psalmody (usually with only one antiphon per Hour), a short scriptural Reading, a short verse and response, and the concluding prayer.
Meanwhile, the Office of Readings, as the name suggests, features readings on which the Lay Dominican must meditate. There are two readings: the first comes from Sacred Scripture, and the second comes from the writings of the Church Fathers, or Church documents. Before the readings, there is also a Psalmody (a set of 3 psalms with the antiphons). On Sundays, solemnities and feasts, the Te Deum, an ancient hymn of thanksgiving is sung or recited.
As for the Compline, there is only one set of prayers from Sunday to Saturday, unlike the other Hours which follows a Four-week cycle. At the beginning of the night prayer, a brief examination of conscience may be made followed by a sincere Act of Contrition. (In common celebration of the Compline, however, the penitential act from the Mass may be used and a Priest may impart general absolution.) It is then followed by the hymn, a short psalmody (usually one or two psalms only, with its antiphon); followed by a short scriptural reading; then the Canticle of Simeon with its antiphon, "Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake..."; and finally, the concluding prayer.It is capped off with an antiphon in honor of the Virgin Mary. For Dominicans, immediately follows is a hymn/antiphon in honor of our holy father St. Dominic. The traditional choice is the O Lumen.
"In order to receive in our hearts the full resonance of the voice of the Holy Spirit and to unite our personal prayer more closely with the word of God and the public voice of the Church, there should be an interval of silence, either after the repetition of the antiphon at the end of the psalm, after the short or longer readings, before or after the responsory" (General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours, No. 202).
The Preces (a prayer book published by the Dominican Province of the Philippines) suggests the addition of the following intentions, inserted before the last petition in the Intercessions:
On Mondays: For the Master of the Order of Preachers and his assistants
On Tuesdays: For the Bishops of the Philippines
On Wednesdays: For the Prior Provincial
On Thursdays: For justice, peace, and development in our country
On Fridays: For Vocations and needs of the Philippine Province
On Saturdays: For our missions in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Camiguin, Calayan, and Mindanao
On Sundays: For those who had left the Order
Young Thomasian Professionals Lay Dominican Group
Santísimo Rosario Parish, University of Santo Tomás
España Boulevard, Manila 1015 Philippines