Pastor’s Pen: Why is it “Prime” worship?

This past week a friend of mine commented on a Facebook post about our online worship service:

Cool that you’re having Prime worship. We can order today and get free two day shipping!!

Now while I wish Amazon would give us some special benefits for the name, the name of our online service comes from a more ancient source.

The name originates with the “daily office” of prayers first laid out by St. Benedict of Nursia, who formed and created the rule for the Benedictine monastic order. The liturgy of the hours involved 7 daytime times for prayer, and an evening prayer time. In most monasteries today, the practice of scheduled times for prayer and worship continues to this day. Benedict chose 7 times for prayer based on Psalm 119:164 which says “I pray 7 times a day.”

The “Prime” service was held in the first hour, around 6 a.m. It was a time of early morning prayer and worship. There was a mid-morning prayer service around 9 a.m. called “Terce” but no one knows how to say that, so as I was thinking about a name for the service I landed on Prime.

Many monasteries today have lost the practice Prime and are instead holding mass (the celebration of the Eucharist) instead during the morning hour. However, it’s nice to remember a little bit of that tradition as we order our life together.

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