How to Live Liturgically

How to Live Liturgically

Does the phrase “liturgical living” sound intimidating to you? We have good news for you: living liturgically doesn’t have to be complicated, nor does it need to be burdensome. But the best news of all is you’re already doing it!

In this post, we’ll talk a little bit about how Christians live a liturgical life. Maybe some of these things are already part of your family life, but if you’re looking for a description of what liturgical living looks like in practice or need more ideas and encouragement, then keep reading!

The Christian Church has often seen time as moving through various cycles. So we’ll start off by looking at the unique way Christians live in time, and then we’ll talk about how the natural cycles of time (the week, day, and year) provide structure to liturgical life.

The Weekly Divine Service

The Divine Service is the heart of liturgical life, so it is fitting for our liturgical life to start here.

The Chief Liturgy

The Divine Service sets the tone for the Christian’s week.

Each Sunday has a theme or themes that flow through the texts that the Church has assigned for the day. Try to pick up on it as you listen to the hymnody, introit, collect, readings, and sermon.

To prime your soul for Sunday morning, it can be helpful for you to read the lessons on Saturday the day before. This will give you an opportunity to ponder God’s Word in advance and consider what themes might be emphasized the next day.


If you still have time after that, consider reading a sermon on the Gospel lesson for the coming day. Thankfully, you can find plenty of collections of sermons on the One-Year Lectionary texts because Lutherans have been preaching on these texts for hundreds of years.

Having the text and themes bouncing around in your head already often allows your mind to soak up more of what you hear on Sunday morning. It can also make you less likely to miss it altogether when you have busy little ones bouncing around the pews (speaking from personal experience here)!

Daily Prayer and Songs

The weekly cycle of liturgical life is filled with prayer and hymns. Here are some ways that you can incorporate them into your own household schedule:

Morning and Evening Prayers

Every day should begin and end in prayer. So start there with a morning prayer and an evening prayer.

For many of us, it helps to ease into the habit of daily prayers. Start with what you can be consistent with. Here are some options that can all be found in the Lutheran Service Book:

  1. You might start out with the simple order that Luther suggests in the Small Catechism: Creed, Lord’s Prayer, and Luther’s Morning/Evening Prayer. Both of these little prayers are printed on p. 327.
  2. If you’re excited to expand on Luther’s recommendations, consider using one or more of the one-page Morning, Noon, Early Evening, and Close of the Day formulas. You can find them on pp. 295-298
  3. pp. 219- 259 contain the offices of Matins and Vespers, Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer, and Compline. These are longer forms of morning and evening prayers that leave space for more psalms, hymns, readings, and a homily.

Table Prayers

Luther also shares beautiful table prayers in the Small Catechism (Lutheran Service Book, p. 327). They might be longer than many are accustomed to, but they are nevertheless rich prayers and good for household use!


One of St. Augustine’s most famous sayings is “He who sings prays twice.” Perhaps this is part of why singing has always been a central part of Lutheran liturgical living. Singing hymns is a great way to meditate on the Scriptures and learn more about our Lord.

As Lutherans, we are particularly blessed to have so many rich hymns that have stood the test of time. So consider singing some hymns, alone or with your whole household, throughout the week.

“He who sings prays twice.”

St. Augustine

The Lutheran Service Book has helpfully divided many of its hymns into the seasons of the liturgical year when they are sung, so make sure to check out hymns 331-521 as you move through the Church’s year.

Once you’ve sung through some of these hymns, you can even choose some family favorites to memorize! It’s always helpful to have some hymns to meditate on as you go about your daily tasks.

The Liturgical Year

The liturgical year offers so many treasures! One of them is the way that the liturgical year travels through seasons for joy and mourning, fasting and feasting.

We created a post dedicated to breaking down the liturgical year, so if you want to learn more you can check it out! Here, however, it is important to note how the liturgical year provides us a framework in which to live out the memorials of faith.

Fasting and Feasting

As you’ll see in our post on the liturgical year, the Church often alternates between joyful times of celebration (like Christmas and Easter) and somber times of penitence (like Advent and Lent). You will notice the different characters of these seasons in the lessons and hymns of the Divine Service.

Throughout her history, the Church has often reflected the moods of these seasons in what she eats, refraining from certain foods during seasons of penitence and enjoying others during festival seasons.

There are various ways to go about this, but you’ll find some notes on historic fasts and feasts in our recipe posts!

Baptismal and Name Days

Much of liturgical living has to do with what the whole Church has in common: daily cycles of morning and evening, the weekly cycle centered around Sunday, the annual cycles of the liturgical year. But some occasions are more personal, reflecting events in the lives of individual Christians.

One of the main examples of these is baptismal days. Christians throughout the years have often found it useful to celebrate their “baptismal birthday” each year, using the opportunity to remember their baptism and thank the Lord for the gift of new life. As we move through the liturgical year, we’ll be sure to post some traditions and other ideas for celebrating baptismal days.

Another more individual celebration is a Christian’s name day. Many Christians choose each year to celebrate the saints whose names they share. So, for example, a man named Patrick would celebrate his name day on March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day. We’ll include name day traditions throughout the year, as well.

Final Thoughts

In summary, liturgical living has so many facets that we are eager to explore with you on this blog, many of which you’re probably already doing! These are just a few of the practical ways we can rehearse Christ’s life, making His life a reality in our own daily lives.

Just as each parish takes on its own personality, every household also has its own culture. This can be great fun. Certain traditions will stand out and become especially meaningful to your family. The ideas listed above are the foundation upon which each family will build in its own unique way: developing a certain prayer routine, rehearsing a different collection of memorized hymns, favorite feast meals, etc.!

May you find joy in these rich gifts in your own household!

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