Praying in Pre-Lent

GesimaeThe gesimae are upon us (Septuagesima, Sexagesima, Quinquagesima) – that strange season before Lent having a quasi-Lenten character to it, but not quite that of full-on Lent. Pre-Lent (also known in some places as Shrovetide) is a transitional period in the Church Year, away from the festive toward the more somber and penitential.

Because it is transitional it can be a little confusing. Just how Lent-y are the gesimae weeks? What changes in the daily office? What stays the same? The simple answer is that one continues to use the propers from the Epiphany season unless indicated in the rubrics. So, for example, at Terce one would use the Responsory and Verse for the Epiphany season after the Chapter.

But there are a few places in the liturgy that do change for Prelent:

  • Starting with Septuagesima Sunday no alleluias are said in the liturgy or hymnody.
  • The Invitatory at Matins is that of Lent.
  • At Lauds and Vespers the Preces are said between the Lord’s Prayer and the Collects.

May our Lord continue to bless you and strengthen your praying.


Lulu New Year’s Sale – Get 30% off

This code is good through the end of 2015. And remember, 10% of the profits still go to ULC’s Build-It-Back campaign (and the 30% off doesn’t affect the amount donated at all.)


Lulu Christmas Sale – Save on Oremus

Christmas SaleIf you are thinking about purchasing Oremus, now is a great time to do so. has a 25% off coupon which is good until December 16th. The coupon code is



I’ll try to keep on top of other coupons and codes as they become available and will post them here.

A blessed Advent to all of you!


The latest:  – good through Dec 17. 30% off all print books. Use code – FAMILY30


Oops! (a few corrections)

You’ve gone over everything a dozen times. And then, just when you think you have the thing perfected, you discover that you don’t.

A few weeks after publishing Oremus, a friend pointed out that the introductory pages (How to Use this Book) reference additional materials found in the appendices – which don’t appear to exist in the book. They once were there; but had to be removed at the last minute to reduce the page count from 800 to 740 so that the book could be sold on Amazon and not just on Lulu. I thought I had removed the references to these missing appendices, but somehow in the rush to make all of the changes necessary to reach that seemingly unattainable 740 page count I missed them.

The good news is all of these materials will be available shortly on this blog on the “Extras” page. A few of them are there already. The rest will be posted within the next two weeks.

Another friend, the father of one of our students at ULC, was kind enough to point out that the numbering of the hymn index was off. I checked it myself, and sure enough, all of the hymns are now on different pages than they used to be (again, due to the downsizing from 800 to 740 pages). Not only were the hymn page numbers wrong, so were the page numbers on the Index of Patristic Authors. I have now corrected these indices. They can be downloaded from the “Extras” page for those who would like to print them out and insert them in their breviaries.

I’m sure we’ll find a few more errors along the way. When we do, I’ll do my best to address them. Thanks to those of you who have provided helpful feedback and corrections! May our Lord continue to strengthen you all in your prayers.

Using Oremus with LSB

Every Monday morning at 7:00 AM we pray Matins at Luther House in Minneapolis. There are only a few who come, but it is always a joy to sing the liturgy and chant the Psalms with those few that do. We’ve been doing this for two years now – and up to now I would spend quite a bit of time each week rummaging through my books, searching the internet, and paging through old hymnals, trying to find readings and collects and other bits of propers to use for the service.

Today I didn’t have to do any of that. I was able to open to the propers for Trinity 15 in Oremus. And that was it. Everything I needed to flesh out Matins was right there. We prayed the liturgy from LSB, chanted the Psalms from Oremus, heard from St. Bernard of Clairvaux, and prayed the ancient collects from the Gelasian and Leonine sacramentaries. And that was from just 2 or 3 of the 740 pages of material in this book.

Oremus really is a great liturgical resource, even for those who will never use it as a breviary or pray the hours every day. It saved me tons of time today. And I can imagine it helping those in charge of leading corporate prayer at churches, seminaries, schools, campus ministries, nursing homes, etc.; not to mention parents at home leading devotions with their families.

Now I’m looking forward to Wednesday’s Evening Prayer service at Luther House. And you know what, thanks to this having this breviary, most of the prep work is already done for that service too. 🙂

It’s Here!

Here at Last!

Here at Last!

The first copy of Oremus: a Lutheran Breviary has arrived from the Publisher. I’m very, very pleased with the way the book looks and the quality of the printing. Thanks! It is so nice to hold 20+ years of work in your hands at last.

You can purchase now through 10% of the proceeds will be donated to ULC’s Build-It-Back fund. Or you can wait a few weeks and purchase it from or other online booksellers.


The first copy!


A look inside

A New Prayerbook for Lutherans

As a young seminary student, one who had grown to love the liturgy of the Church, I was struck by the paucity of material available to Lutherans for praying the traditional daily prayers of the Church. Our hymnals had next to nothing in terms of propers for daily prayer. The liturgies contained in them, while edifying, were lacking in many ways.

In our liturgics class and in the seminary chapel I was made aware of the Daily Office and its numerous hours of prayer. I was intrigued. Why were these hours of prayer abandoned (for the most part) by the Lutheran Church? Why did we not have them in our hymnal? Why had our church drifted away from corporate liturgical prayer into the (often more pietistic) realm of private personal devotions? These questions led me to begin study of the traditional Daily Office Hours (or Liturgy of the Hours) and the history of daily prayer in the Western church.

About the same time, a fellow student and friend, John Paul Salay, was asking similar questions. As a class project, and for his own devotional use, he produced material for a Lutheran revision of the Roman breviary. I loved it. But I thought it could be improved upon. For one thing, it lacked music. For another, it was hard to use. What I wanted was something like Salay’s breviary, but with music… perhaps gregorian chant!… and maybe readings from the Church Fathers!!… and some of our great Lutheran hymnody too… and… well… more! But it would have to be easy to use and reflect the best liturgical and theological traditions of the Western church. So I began work on my own Lutheran breviary.

The first iteration of this project was presented at seminary for a class project in a liturgics class. But it was far from what I envisioned it could be. At the same time I wrote my senior thesis on the theology of the Daily Office and why it ought to be restored in the Lutheran Church. (I hope to post this paper, or a revision of it, at some point in the near future). Thus began a 22 year journey.

In the mean time others were working on their own versions of a Lutheran breviary. The most significant of these is the Brotherhood Prayer Book edited by Rev. Ben Mayes and Rev. Michael Frese, which is now in its second edition. This is truly a fine resource for praying the Daily Office, one I have recommended to many people. (Pr. Mayes was a student worker of mine for a short time and generously helped proof some of my early work on Oremus: a Lutheran Breviary some 15 years ago.) But the BPB can be difficult to use, utilizing, as it does, traditional gregorian notation for the chants and the more archaic King James translation of the Scriptures. It also lacks daily devotional readings from the church fathers. I was tempted to lay down my project now that this fine book was available, and did for a time; but I still wasn’t quite satisfied, and believed that a new breviary was still needed, one that might have broader appeal, be easy to use, and offer richer devotional content.

Then Concordia Publishing House came out with their Treasury of Daily Prayer, another fine resource for daily liturgical prayer. Once again I was tempted to lay aside my work on the breviary. But once again I found myself dissatisfied. While a useful devotional tool, I found the TDP to be far too text-heavy and lacking in many of the elements of the Daily Office. There was much to read and think about, but not much to pray or sing in this volume. So I kept going, determined to produce a breviary that was faithful to the Western tradition, striking the proper balance between prayer, reading and devotion.

Well, here it is at last. After 22 years of work, I am most pleased to present Oremus: a Lutheran Breviary. Oremus includes everything one needs to pray the Daily Office of the Western church – the liturgies, chants, seasonal and weekly propers, daily patristic readings, hymnody, feasts, commemorations, with the NKJV Psalter and canticles – all under one cover.

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 6.42.52 PM

I pray that you will find it a most edifying addition to your devotional life, and perhaps even to the worship life of your congregation.

And check back here every once in a while for blog posts about the theology and practice of the breviary, details about using the breviary, and even additional material for use in your daily prayers.

Soli Deo gloria!