Compline Prayer

Over the last year our local church parish have been offering online (zoom call) something called compline. It’s once a week at 8pm. I’ve really enjoyed committing to this and wanted to share more about it with you all.

Compline can also be called Complin, Night Prayer, or the Prayers at the End of the Day. It’s the final church service of the day in the Christian church. In Western Christianity, Compline tends to be a contemplative time that emphasises spiritual peace. It started with the monks and was custom to begin the “Great Silence” following the service, during which the whole community observes silence throughout the night until the next day.

The ancient office of Compline derives its name from a Latin word meaning ‘completion’. It is above all a service of quietness and reflection before rest at the end of the day. If the service is in church or on a zoom call, those present depart in silence and tend to go quietly to bed, afterwards. It’s a short service, without any singing, lasting approx. 20 minutes. I’ve found it helps me to look back over the day, highlight the positives & negatives and get ready to look forward for the next day and start again with a positive view on the world.

The Structure

The minister starts with the Preparation, where a simple prayer is said ‘The Lord almighty grant us a quiet night and a perfect end’. This is followed by a few minutes of silence for reflection on the past day. We then have the Prayers of Penitence which includes thanks and forgiveness.

The Word of God starts with one or two psalms been read taking turns with the congregation. A short reading from Holy Scripture is then given and a responsory, committing oneself into the hands of God. The gospel reading precedes for that week, finishing this section with a short reflection of silence. The Nunc dimittis is recited which is The Song of Simeon (but spoken, not sang), it asks for God to watch over you whilst you sleep do you may rest in peace.

The biggest of the prayers is next which includes intercession and thanksgivings to be

offered. The Collect prayer is said, followed by the most common known prayer, Lord’s

Prayer. Finally the Conclusion is given with a simple blessing.

There can be variations to the service, depending on the days or seasons. Alternatively, the psalm, Scripture reading and Collect may be varied daily. The hymn, the Scripture reading, the refrain to the Gospel Canticle, the Collect and the blessing may change seasonally and on Holy Days. On occasions, particularly Saturday nights and before other festivals, the Gospel for the following day may be read before Night Prayer or in place of the set reading. When the confession is used, it may be replaced by another act of penitence. The Alleluias included in the Easter form of the Responsory are for use from Easter Day until the Day of Pentecost, but not at other times.

If your ever given the opportunity to sit, watch or get involved with a compline service I would highly recommend as it can give you grounding on those extra busy or stressful days.

Much love Rebecca

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