An Order for Night Prayer
The ancient office of Compline derives its name from a Latin
meaning 'completion' (completorium). It is above all a
quietness and reflection before rest at the end of the day. It is
effective when the ending is indeed an ending, without
conversation or noise. If there is an address, or business to be
it should come first. If the service is in church, those present
in silence; if at home, they go quietly to bed.
Night Prayer (Compline)
The minister asks a blessing on the life of all
God's holy people.
Authorized Prayers of Penitence may be
A hymn may be sung.
The Word of God
¶ a short reading from Holy
¶ a responsory,
committing oneself into the hands of God
¶ the Gospel Canticle: Nunc
Intercessions and thanksgivings may be
The Collect is said.
The Lord's Prayer may be said.
The service concludes with
¶ a calling on God for
protection through the coming night
¶ a simple blessing
Seasonal and Other Variations
The Order for Night Prayer that follows may be used on any day
throughout the year. Alternatively, the psalm, Scripture reading
and Collect may be varied daily; and the hymn, the Scripture
reading, the refrain to the Gospel Canticle, the Collect and the
blessing may change seasonally and on Holy Days. Texts for daily
and seasonal variation and for use on Holy Days are
On suitable occasions, particularly Saturday night and before other
festivals, the Gospel for the following day may be read before
Night Prayer or in place of the set reading.
Reflection on the past day may lead into thanksgiving in addition
to penitence. In such case one of the Prayers of Thanksgiving from
the seasonal forms of Morning
and Evening Prayer or the Prayer of Thanksgiving in Evening Prayer on
Sunday in Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the
Church of England may be used.
When the confession is used, it may be replaced by another act of
penitence. However, all that precedes 'O God, make speed to save
us' may be omitted; this is particularly appropriate if Holy
Communion has been celebrated in the evening.
The Alleluias included in the Easter form of the Responsory are for
use from Easter Day until the Day of Pentecost, not at other times.
The Alleluia following the opening versicles and responses is
always used, except in Lent.
The response in square brackets [ ] is normally used only if Holy
Communion is to be celebrated the following morning.