Another Resource in Troubled Times – the Third Hour Office

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Today I’m posting another AIC Resource which can be helpful to the faithful in these stressful times.  I find the words of the Third Hour office, especially the Third Prayer, comforting and reassuring.  I hope you will, too.

These offices were developed from prayer books and liturgies of the Church from both the Western and Eastern Church traditions.  The language has been adjusted to make it consistent with Anglican usage.  The sources are shown after each segment.  When used by more than one person, bold type indicates the responses or words said by presenter and participants.  The offices do not require the presence of an ordained person and can be said by anyone, anywhere, anytime that privacy is available.

You can find the text of offices for First Hour, Third Hour, Sixth Hour, Ninth Hour and Compline in the AIC Bookstore Publication, Hear Us, O Lord:  Daily Prayers for the Laity.    The book also includes catena, or selected prayers, based on the Psalms and a selection of “Awesome Prayers” from the early Church.   Like all our books, it is available using the Virtual Bookstore link at the bottom of the Home page.

Third Hour (9:00 AM)

The Invocation

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, one true God, to whom be glory and upon us mercy and compassion for ever and ever.  Amen.

The First Prayer

FROM the night season our soul awaketh unto thee, O our God, for thy precepts are a light upon the earth; teach us perfect righteousness and holiness in thy fear; for we glorify thee, our God, who existeth in verity; incline thine ear and hear us; bless thy people and sanctify thine inheritance; Grant peace to thy world; for blessed and glorified is thine all honourable and majestic Name.  Amen.  [Syrian Antiochian Orthodox prayer, 5th or 6th Century]

A General Confession

Let us pray

I confess to God the Father Almighty, to His only-begotten Son Jesus Christ our Lord, and to God the Holy Ghost, and before the whole company of heaven, that I have sinned exceedingly, in thought, word, and deed, through my fault, through my own fault, through my own most grievous fault. Wherefore I beseech God the Father Almighty, His only-begotten Son Jesus Christ our Lord, and God the Holy Ghost, to pity me, and to have mercy upon me. The Almighty and merciful God grant to us pardon, absolution, and remission of all our sins. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer [Luke 11:2-4]

OUR Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil.  Amen. 

The First Chapter [Jeremiah 17:14]

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me and I shall be saved; for thou art my praise.

The First Antiphon

Lord, be merciful unto me; (Psalm 41:4a)

Heal my soul, for I have sinned against thee. (Psalm 41:4b)

Thou hast been my succour (Psalm 27:11a)

Leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. (Psalm 27:11b)

The Second Prayer

O LORD our God, who has chased the slumber from our eyes, and once more assembled us to lift up our hands unto thee and to praise thy just judgments, accept our prayers and supplications, and give us faith and love.  Bless our coming in and our going out, our thoughts, words, and works, and let us begin this day with the praise of the unspeakable sweetness of thy mercy.  Amen. [Early Byzantine Orthodox prayer]

The Second Antiphon [Syrian Antiochian Orthodox prayer]

Great is the day of Sunday

And blessed is he who keeps it in faith;

Because on it our Lord rose from the grave;

And the nations confessed the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised.

Halleluia, Halleluia, Halleluia.

The Third Prayer

CREATOR of the morning, who drove out the darkness and brings light and joy to thy creation; create in us habits of virtue and drive from us all darkness of sin; give us light and joy by the glorious rays of thy grace, O Lord our God, for ever and ever.  Amen [Syrian Jacobite Prayer, 5th Century or earlier]

The Second Chapter [Jeremiah 23:5]

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, And shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.

The Third Antiphon

Stir up thy strength, (Psalm 80:2b)

And come and help us. (Psalm 80:2b)

Turn us again, O Lord God of Hosts; (Psalm 80:19a)

Show the light of thy countenance, and we shall be whole. (Psalm 80:19b)

The Fourth Prayer

O LORD our God, whose power is unspeakable, Whose glory is beyond imagining, Whose mercy is measureless; Whose love for men is above words;  look down upon us and thy holy house, O Master, and bestow upon all here present the riches of thy goodness and mercy; for to thee belong all glory, honour, and worship.  In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.  Amen. [Armenian and Russian Orthodox prayer, Liturgies of St. John Chrysostom and St. Basil the Great, 6th Century or earlier]

The Psalm Readings

Psalm 5:1-3, 7-8, 12-13

PONDER my words, O Lord, * consider my meditation.

2. O hearken thou unto the voice of my calling, my King and my God:  * for unto thee will I make my prayer.

3. My voice shalt thou hear betimes, O Lord; * early in the morning I will direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.

7. But as for me, in the multitude of thy mercy I will come into thine house; * and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.

8. Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness, because of mine enemies; * make thy way plain before my face.

12. And let all them that put their trust in thee rejoice: * they shall ever be giving of thanks, because thou defendest them; they that love thy Name shall be joyful in thee;

13. For thou, Lord, wilt give thy blessing unto the righteous, * and with thy favourable kindness wilt thou defend him as with a shield.

Psalm 54

SAVE me, O God, for thy Name’s sake, * and avenge me in thy strength.

2. Hear my prayer, O God, * and hearken unto the words of my mouth.

3. For strangers are risen up against me; * and tyrants, which have not God before their eyes, seek after my soul.

4. Behold, God is my helper; * the Lord is with them that uphold my soul.

5. He shall reward evil unto mine enemies: * destroy thou them in thy truth.

6. An offering of a free heart will I give thee, and praise thy Name, O Lord; * because it is so comfortable.

7. For he hath delivered me out of all my trouble; * and mine eye hath seen his desire upon mine enemies. 

The Third Chapter [1 John 4:16]

God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God and God in him. 

The Fourth Antiphon

Incline my heart, O God, unto thy testimonies, (Psalm 119:36a)

And not to covetousness; (Psalm 119:36b)

O turn away mine eyes, lest they behold vanity, (Psalm 119:37a)

And quicken thou me in thy way. (Psalm 119:37b)

The Fifth Prayer

WE give thee hearty thanks, O heavenly Father, for the rest of the last night, and for the gift of a new day, with its opportunities for pleasing thee.  Grant that we may pass its hours in the perfect freedom of thy service, that at evening we may again give thanks unto thee.  Amen.  [Eastern Orthodox daybreak office, 5th or 6th Century]

The Fifth Antiphon

O thou, O God, save thy servants (Psalm 86:2)

Let my cry come unto thee. (Psalm 102:1)

The Sixth Prayer

GRANT us, O Lord God, the knowledge of thy divine words and fill us with the understanding of thy holy Gospel and the riches of thy divine gifts and the indwelling of thy Holy Spirit; and give us joy to keep thy commandments and accomplish them and fulfill thy will; and to be accounted worthy of the blessings and the mercies that are from thee, now and ever and unto ages of ages.  Amen. [Syrian Jacobite prayer, 5th Century]

The Grace [2 Corinthians 13:14]

THE grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore. Amen.

The Benediction

May the Lord Almighty and merciful, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, vouchsafe to bless us and keep us.  Amen. 

Here endeth Third Hour.  Go in peace and serve the Lord.  

Thanks be to God. 

Published by

Anglican Internet Church

Fr. Shibley retired from pulpit ministry at Epiphany A.D. 2014. Since then he has devoted his spare time to this online ministry producing videos, podcasts and books explaining traditional Christian theology and liturgy in layman's language with a minimum of technical or theological terms, and making them available either free or at reasonable cost.

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