Liturgy of the Hours

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: Thank you for all you do! 

Recently, I found it difficult to pray the liturgy of the hours. I’ve read the same cycle of psalms over and over, and I have felt a dryness in my prayer. I do not even want to pray for Morning and Evening Prayers. I enjoy the Office of Readings because the Biblical and Patritic readings are different each day. 

Do you know if there are any ways I can “adapt” (as permitted by the Church) the Liturgy of the Hours to enhance my prayer, such as other psalms or readings? Thank you!


A: Sorry to hear about the challenges you face while giving yourself over to prayer.

The General Instruction on the Liturgy of the Hours no. 46 permits especially (but not exclusively) in a celebration with a congregation the substitution of one reading with another one, “particularly texts that for some reason have not been used.” That opens the door to other options.

If you’re looking for some variety, you may choose other readings. The Liturgy and Life Study Bible for which I’m the co-general editor will help you immediately find the passages of scripture not found in the liturgical books.

There are only 150 psalms, so you’ll eventually keep repeating them. You always have the option on ferial days to choose a saint from the martyrology and use the texts in the Commons of Saints. But again, those will repeat.

And remember that the psalms and readings in the Liturgy of the Hours have been chosen with great intent. Sometimes the same passage appears on different occasions, inviting mediation upon it in a different way.  Repeating the same passages brings its own spiritual benefit, as the worshiper goes deeper and deeper into the inspired Word of God.