The Rev. Geoffrey Butcher, Priest-in-charge Trinity Episcopal Church, Russellville

In the monastic tradition from early Christian days comes the practice of offering prayers to God eight times a day. The prayers begin early in the morning concluding with the service of Compline. This service is said not only by monks and nuns but is part of daily worship for many Christians. The service itself comes in a variety of forms, from that found in the Episcopal Church’s Book of Common Prayer to other forms known as Celtic Prayer. Some of these are found in a book, “Celtic Daily Prayer,” that has a different form of the service for each day of the week.

The service itself may include a psalm, such as Psalms 4, 31, and 134, with a short Bible reading and prayers, and close with a prayer committing one’s self into the arms of God for protection throughout the hours of the night. A favorite opening text that has been set to music is this:

“Calm us, Lord as you calmed the storm,

Still us, Lord, keep us from harm

Let all the tumult within us cease,

Enfold us Lord, in your peace.

One can say these prayers alone or with others. You might want to pray this prayer:

“In peace will I lie down, for it is you, O Lord,

You alone who make me to rest secure,

Be it on your own beloved arm,

O God of grace,

that we, in peace shall each awake.

In a Compline service in the Celtic tradition, frequently said by the sisters of the Community of the Transfiguration in Glendale, Ohio, are these concluding prayers. The leader says:

“Keep before us and deep in our hearts

the deepening and strengthening

of our companions’ faith.

Assist us to assist each other

in our praying, our living, our loving.”

And then in unison the sisters pray:

“Be the peace of the Spirit ours this night.

Be the peace of the Son ours this night.

Be the peace of the Father ours this night.

The peace of all peace be ours this night

In the name of the One who Creates, Redeems, and ever Sustains us. Amen”

Perhaps you would like to create your own service to offer praise to God, to bring you peace at the end of the day, and to entrust your life to God during the hours of sleep. In the morning you can dedicate your day to God and in the evening before sleep you can entrust your life to God again as you rest in God’s peace.