For the laity, when praying the Liturgy of the Hours in private, is it more in keeping with tradition to you pray out loud or silently or does it matter?

Also, do you change the way you repeat antiphons and responses when praying in private or praying silently as opposed to praying out loud or singing/chanting it?

  • 1
    What is the Liturgy of the Hours? Commented Sep 19, 2011 at 13:34
  • @dancek aka Breviary, aka Divine Office aka Book of Common Prayer (I'd make synonyms if I could). It's a psalter that priests and religious are supposed out of every day and the laity is encouraged to pray.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Sep 19, 2011 at 13:40
  • I think this comes down to individual preference (are you looking for some kind of official guidance from Rome?) I do, because it is more meaningful to me that way.
    – gmoothart
    Commented Sep 19, 2011 at 15:06
  • @gmoothart, I'd like to know what is traditionally done.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Sep 19, 2011 at 15:10

3 Answers 3


Liturgy in the strict sense is a public activity, so as such it should be prayed out loud, either recited in less formal settings or chanted with a melody, as monastic communities still do, or somewhere in between.

When you are praying the hours privately it's enough to just read the prayers, psalms and collects to yourself, though of course you are free to do whatever helps you to pray more devoutly, so if that means whispering the words outwardly then so be it.


The liturgy of hours, as I understand it, was traditionally a form of public prayer. The religious communities would pray this together. Thus I'm not sure if there is a "traditional" way to pray it privately. If pressed, I would say it's to sing/chant it as the religious communities did.

  • Thanks, my book does have some instructions for private recitation (you don't have to sing the hymn at the beginning), but it doesn't seem complete.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Sep 20, 2011 at 19:04

Should praying the Liturgy of the Hours in private be out loud or silent?

When I was in a monastery, we generally prayed the Divine Office silently when recited in private. One could if one wanted to pray the Liturgy of the Hours out loud if done in private.

However if one is praying the Divine Office while one is waiting in a doctor’s office for example, it would for obvious reasons be best to be recited silently.

This goes as well as for reciting the Holy Rosary when in public. Simply pray it silently. No one has to know what you are doing.

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