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What are Lauds and Vespers?

What to Expect When You Come To Lauds and Vespers

“Lauds” means “praises,” and is the name of the Church’s morning prayer. “Vespers” means “of the evening,” and is the Church’s evening prayer. Lauds and Vespers are two of the Church’s eight historic daily offices, or services of prayer held throughout the day.

At Immanuel, Pastor, Kantor, and Vicar pray Lauds at 9:30am and Vespers at 4:30pm in the Church on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (and Festival days as announced). [During Lent, the Wednesday Vespers is replaced by our Lent Vespers with homily, hymns, and organ at 7pm.]

Everyone is invited to join us for prayer.

What happens at the Office?

Lauds begins with “O Lord, open Thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Thy praise” (Psalm 51.15). These are the first words out of our mouth at daily prayer, because it is only through Our Lord’s work in us that we can truly praise Him.

There are five Psalms at Lauds. Actually, the fourth “psalm” is a canticle, a song from another book. The last Psalm always begins or ends with “Praise ye the Lord.” Since Lauds means “praises,” that’s why this prayer service has this name. There are also five Psalms at Vespers.

After the Psalms, there is a reading from the Scriptures, which is followed by a Responsory and hymn that change based on the day of the week or season of the liturgical year. Lauds includes the singing of the Benedictus, the Song of Zechariah. Vespers includes the Magnificat, the Song of Mary.

The Office ends with the prayers: the Kyrie, Our Father, Collects, and Blessing.

During Advent and Lent, the Suffrages are prayed, Scripture verses are responsively sung as an ancient custom of prayer.


When the words “O Lord, open Thou my lips” are sung, it is a custom to make a small cross over the lips with the thumbs. Simply make a fist with your right hand and trace a small cross with your thumb over your mouth.

The sign of the cross is made in remembrance of baptism. It is traditional to make the sign of the cross at the words “Make haste, O God, to deliver me,” at the beginning of the Benedictus (or Magnficat at Vespers), at “but deliver us from evil” in the Our Father, and at the Benediction.

As in the Divine Service, it is appropriate to bow the head at the neck when the name “Jesus” is mentioned and to make a profound bow at the waist for the Gloria Patri (“Glory be to the Father…”).

In the Psalms, after the first half-verse, we are seated (so as not to stand for five whole Psalms), and we stand before the last half-verse in order to be able to bow in reverence to the Triune God in the Gloria Patri.

Kneeling is the posture for prayer, and so from the Kyrie through the conclusion, we kneel.

Each day, we pray petitions and Collects for different situations, challenges, problems, and blessings in life. If you would like to add something to the prayer list for daily prayer, please let Kantor know.


We would love for more people to join us. If you have errands to run or business to conduct downtown, consider planning your schedule to attend. If you have a day off work, consider joining us in prayer. If you are retired, unemployed, or a stay-at-home parent, consider joining us in prayer.

Praying the liturgical life of the church is one of the most beneficial ways our parish can be strengthened as we pray and hear the Word of God proclaimed.