As readers of Eclectic Orthodoxy know, my wife and I offer the Office of Matins each day from the Holy Transfiguration Prayer Book. We like its structure, rhythm, and balance. It only provides one psalm, so we substitute others from the Psalter, which we are reading in course. It all works quite nicely.
Recently, we have begun incorporating into our morning prayers one of the Twelve Prayers of Dawn from the Prayer Book of the Early Christians. And that brings me to the point of this post. I strongly recommend this little book not only to Orthodox Christians but to everyone who might feel drawn to pray the Eastern Offices. Edited by the fine patristics and Byzantine Christianity scholar Fr John McGuckin, this is a high quality hardcover at an affordable price (with ribbon!). The prayers are presented in contemporary but dignified language, which is a plus for some and a negative for others. I tend to prefer a traditional idiom (thee’s and thou’s and that sort of thing), but I know I’m in an ever-diminishing minority, particularly when it comes to the offering of prayers in one’s home. Regardless, all will find this book useful.
And remember—be flexible. If you find, say, Vespers too long, then trim it down until it becomes an office that works for you. In the oft-quoted maxim of Dom John Chapman: “Pray as you can, not as you can’t.” The monks in heaven are not grading you. The important thing is to pray.