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Balancing Life and Spirituality: Embracing the 8+8+8 Rule and the Tradition of Praying the Hours

Integrating Work, Rest, and Prayer into Daily Living

Rev. Anne Abdy

Balancing Life and Spirituality: Embracing the 8+8+8 Rule and the Tradition of Praying the Hours

Dear Friends in Christ,

Many of you might know that I enjoy scrolling through Facebook, searching for inspirational and feel-good stories. Some time ago, I came across a post called The 8+8+8 Rule, shared by Successascend on Instagram.

The principle of this rule is straightforward:

Distribute your 24 hours into three segments of 8 hours each to achieve a balanced life.

  1. 8 hours of hard work.

  2. 8 hours of sound sleep.

  3. 8 hours for personal well-being, focusing on:

    • 3 F’s: Family, Friends, and Faith.

    • 3 H’s: Health, Hygiene, and Hobby.

    • 3 S’s: Soul, Service, and Smile.

This concept led me to reflect on the monastic tradition of praying the hours. In Western Church monasticism, especially since St. Benedict (c. 480-c. 547), specific times are set for prayer throughout the day, also known as the Canonical Hours:

  • Matins: During the night, at about 2 a.m.; sometimes called Vigil.

  • Lauds: At dawn, about 5 a.m. (adjusted seasonally).

  • Prime: Approximately 6 a.m.

  • Terce: Approximately 9 a.m.

  • Sext: Approximately 12 noon.

  • None: Approximately 3 p.m.

  • Vespers: Around 6 p.m., "at the lighting of the lamps."

  • Compline: Before retiring, around 7 p.m.

Thomas Cranmer, in his first English Prayer Book (1549), streamlined the Daily Office to morning (matins) and evening (evensong or vespers) services. The Episcopal BCP (1979) in its Daily Office section includes Morning Prayer (6am-9am), Noonday Prayer (11am-1pm), Evening Prayer (5pm-7pm), and Compline (bedtime).

During the Season of Epiphany, I challenge you to either follow the traditional hours or, more simply, use the Daily Office in the BCP for structured prayer time. Reflect on how this might transform your spiritual journey.


Rev. Anne +

Reference: Liturgy of the Hours - Wikipedia

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