An apostolate of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites community of Our Mother of Good Counsel in Dayton, Ohio.

Carmelite Conversations Podcast
March 5, 2023

How to pray the Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office) and why

How to pray the Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office) and why

As Secular Carmelites (OCDS), we pray the Liturgy of the Hours in the morning and evening each day. Our Carmelite Rule instructs, "those who know how to say the canonical hours with those in orders should do so, in the way those holy forefathers of ours laid down, and according to the Church’s approved custom". 

Our OCDS Constitutions flesh our the Rule, saying "the Liturgy of the Hours, for its part, brings the Secular Carmelite into communion with the prayer of Jesus and the Church and that Secular Carmelites should "recite Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer of the Hours in union with the Church spread throughout the world," adding that "when it is possible we should also recite Night Prayer. The Liturgy of the Hours provides book ends of prayer on our days, leads us into our meditation and allows us to reflect on Holy Scripture.

According to the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults published by the USCCB, "the Liturgy of the Hours, in which the whole Church pours out her praise to God, prolongs the Eucharistic celebration, and leads us back to it. Besides offering praise to God, the Church in the Liturgy of the Hours expresses the prayers and desires of the Christian faithful. This is evident especially in the Intercessions at Morning and Evening Prayer, the praying of the Our Father, and the concluding prayer". The Catechism goes on to add that "this public prayer of the Church is intended for the whole People of God. In this prayer Christ continues his priestly work and consecrates time. All God’s people can participate in it according to their calling and circumstances. In this prayer, we harmonize our voices with praying hearts, and we come to a more profound understanding of the Psalms and other parts of Scripture that make up the largest part of the Liturgy of the Hours".

There are many resources to learn how to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, which is also called the Divine Office. There are also many ways to help you pray it, including print books, phone and tablet apps, podcasts and Youtube videos.

Online Resources

If you'd like an overview of the Divine Office, its history and how to pray it, there are many good online resources. These will get you started.

Audio & Video Resources

Podcasts are popular and if you prefer to pray by listening, or like to read along with listening, the Praystation Portable Podcast may be for you. The daily podcast is available on most major listening platforms, including Apple, Google, Spotify and more. Sing the Hours is a beautiful way to pray, especially if you find praying with music useful. Sing the Hours is also available on YouTube. The Make Prayer a Habit YouTube channel also provides an audio version of the Liturgy of the Hours.

Print Resources

Traditionally, the Divine Office has been prayed using either the Liturgy of the Hours one-volume print edition or the four-volume print edition. You can find them at those links. Because some people find the flipping of pages in the Breviary to be confusing (it does take a little time to learn it), Word on Fire has come out with a monthly Divine Office subscription that sends you a single book each month with only that month's prayers. You can cancel your subscription at any time and the books are beautifully designed.

Phone and tablet apps for the Liturgy of the Hours

Jennifer Kane, who is a Secular Carmelite, runs the incredible Catholic APPtitude website that reviews the best Catholic phone and tablet applications. Her review, Best Liturgy of the Hours apps for your phone or tablet, provides an excellent comparison of apps and features for iBreviary, Divine Office, Laudate, Universalis, and Breviarium Meum, along with other Divine Office resources. Jennifer has updated her review for 2023 and it is your best starting point if you plan to pray using a phone or tablet.

Finally, the Carmelite Conversations Podcast has a popular two-part series called Pray without Ceasing: Fulfilling the Lord’s Precept through the Liturgy of the Hours, with Marika Zimmerman, OCDS. You can listen to part 1 and part 2 in which Marika, along with co-host Frances Harry, OCDS, provide highlights from the General Instruction on the Liturgy of the Hours, suggestions and practical tips. They also cover questions many people have asked about the Liturgy of the Hours over the years. They offer great advice  a new tip or two for those who have been praying the Liturgy of the Hours for years. The two podcast episodes are also below.




The Carmelite Conversations Podcast is an apostolate of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites community of Our Mother of Good Counsel in Dayton, Ohio. Discalced Carmelite Seculars are practicing members of the Catholic Church who, under the protection of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and inspired by St. Teresa of Jesus and St. John of the Cross, make the commitment to the Discalced Carmelite Order to seek the face of God for the sake of the church and the world. For more information about Secular Carmelites, visit our website.