Home > Worship Resources > Prayer at the Close of Day (Compline)

In many times and places, daybreak has been a time of prayer. Jews prayed in their synagogues at sunrise as well as at other times each day. This Jewish pattern of prayer formed the basis of the Christian monastic “Daily Office,” with its prayers or “hours” at seven times each day. Besides the prayer services in the morning (Matins) and evening (Evensong or vespers), our Lutheran worship books also include a prayer service at the close of day, also called Compline.

Compline is descended from the night prayers said before bed at the end of the monastic round of daily prayer. It is a simple office including a confession of sins, one or more psalms, a short reading from scripture, versicles and responses, the Lord’s Prayer, collects which ask for God’s protection during the night to come, and the canticle Nunc dimittis. A hymn for the evening may follow the short reading from scripture. The collects may be followed by a time of silence, along with free intercessions and thanksgivings.

Below, you will find two versions of Compline, a spoken version and a sung version. The music for the sung version is found in the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978). This is a short service that can be used in the home. The L designates a Leader and the C designates the Congregation assembled to worship (which might simply be your family).

Opening Versicles

Stand
L    The Lord almighty grant us a quiet night and peace at the last.
C    Amen.
L    It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
C    to sing praise to your name, O Most High;
L    to herald your love in the morning,
C    your truth at the close of the day.

Christmas Songs

Songs for the Season after Pentecost

Kneel/Sit

Confession

L    Let us confess our sin in the presence of God and of one another.
Silence for self-examination.
L    Holy and gracious God,
C    I confess that I have sinned against you this day. Some of my sin I know—the thoughts and words and deeds of which I am ashamed— but some is known only to you. In the name of Jesus Christ I ask forgiveness. Deliver and restore me, that I may rest in peace.
L    By the mercy of God we are united with Jesus Christ, and in him we are forgiven. We rest now in his peace and rise in the morning to serve him.

or

L    I confess to God Almighty, before the whole company of heaven, [and to you, my brothers and sisters,] that I have sinned in thought, word, and deed by my fault, by my own fault, by my own most grievous fault; wherefore I pray God Almighty to have mercy on me, forgive me all my sins, and bring me to everlasting life. Amen.
C    The almighty and merciful Lord grant you pardon, forgiveness, and remission of all your sins. Amen.
C    I confess to God Almighty, before the whole company of heaven, [and to you, my brothers and sisters,] that I have sinned in thought, word, and deed by my fault, by my own fault, by my own most grievous fault; wherefore I pray God Almighty to have mercy on me, forgive me all my sins, and bring me to everlasting life. Amen.
L    The almighty and merciful Lord grant you pardon, forgiveness, and remission of all your sins. Amen.
Sit

Psalmody

One or more psalms (4, 33, 34, 91, 134, 136) are sung or said. Silence for meditation follows each psalm. The psalm prayer appropriate to each psalm is said following the silence.

Brief Lesson

As a brief lesson, one or more of the following are read.
You are in our midst, O Lord, and you have named us yours; do not forsake us, O Lord our God. Jeremiah 14:9

Come to me, all whose work is hard, whose load is heavy, and I will give you rest. Bend your necks to my yoke, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble-hearted; and you will find rest. For my yoke is good to bear, my load is light. Matthew 11:28-30

Peace is my parting gift to you, my own peace, such as the world cannot give. Set your troubled hearts at rest, and banish your fears. John 14:27

I am convinced that there is nothing in death or life, in the realm of spirits or super-human powers, in the world as it is or the world as it shall be, in the forces of the universe, in heights or depths—nothing in all creation that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

Humble yourselves under God’s mighty hand and he will lift you up in due time. Cast all your cares on him, for you are his charge. Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith. 1 Peter 5:6-9a

Responsory

L    Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
C    Into your hands I commend my spirit.
L    You have redeemed me, O Lord, God of truth.
C    Into your hands I commend my spirit.
L    Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
C    Into your hands I commend my spirit.

Stand

Hymn or Song

Kneel/Sit
L    Hear my prayer, O Lord;
C    listen to my cry.
L    Keep me as the apple of your eye;
C    hide me in the shadow of your wings.
L    In righteousness I shall see you;
C    when I awake, your presence will give me joy.

L    Be present, merciful God, and protect us through the hours of this night, so that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of life may find our rest in you; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

or

L    O Lord, support us all the day long of this troubled life, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes and the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then, Lord, in your mercy, grant us a safe lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at the last; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

or

L    Be our light in the darkness, O Lord, and in your great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of your only Son, our Savior Jesus Christ.

or

L    Visit our dwellings, O Lord, and drive from them all the snares of the enemy; let your holy angels dwell with us to preserve us in peace; and let your blessing be upon us always, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

or

L    Eternal God, the hours both of day and night are yours, and to you the darkness is no threat. Be present, we pray, with those who labor in these hours of night, especially those who watch and work on behalf of others. Grant them diligence in their watching, faithfulness in their service, courage in danger, and competence in emergencies. Help them to meet the needs of others with confidence and compassion; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

or

L    Gracious Lord, we give you thanks for the day, especially for the good we were permitted to give and to receive; the day is now past and we commit it to you. We entrust to you the night; we rest in surety, for you are our help, and you neither slumber nor sleep.

C    Amen.

Lord’s Prayer

COur Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name,
    thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
  Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses,
    as we forgive those who trespass against us;
  and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
  For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen

Gospel Canticle

L    Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping;
that awake we may watch with Christ and asleep we may rest in peace.
C    Lord, now you let your servant go in peace; your word has been fulfilled.
My own eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared in the sight of every people:
a light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people Israel.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen
Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping; that awake we may watch with Christ and asleep we may rest in peace.

Benediction

L    The almighty and merciful Lord, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, bless us and keep us.
C    Amen.
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Songs for the Season after Pentecost

Kneel/Sit

Confession

L    Let us confess our sin in the presence of God and of one another.
Silence for self-examination.
L    Holy and gracious God,
C    I confess that I have sinned against you this day. Some of my sin I know—the thoughts and words and deeds of which I am ashamed— but some is known only to you. In the name of Jesus Christ I ask forgiveness. Deliver and restore me, that I may rest in peace.
L    By the mercy of God we are united with Jesus Christ, and in him we are forgiven. We rest now in his peace and rise in the morning to serve him.

or

L    I confess to God Almighty, before the whole company of heaven, [and to you, my brothers and sisters,] that I have sinned in thought, word, and deed by my fault, by my own fault, by my own most grievous fault; wherefore I pray God Almighty to have mercy on me, forgive me all my sins, and bring me to everlasting life. Amen.
C    The almighty and merciful Lord grant you pardon, forgiveness, and remission of all your sins. Amen.
C    I confess to God Almighty, before the whole company of heaven, [and to you, my brothers and sisters,] that I have sinned in thought, word, and deed by my fault, by my own fault, by my own most grievous fault; wherefore I pray God Almighty to have mercy on me, forgive me all my sins, and bring me to everlasting life. Amen.
L    The almighty and merciful Lord grant you pardon, forgiveness, and remission of all your sins. Amen.
Sit

Psalmody

One or more psalms (4, 33, 34, 91, 134, 136) are sung or said. Silence for meditation follows each psalm. The psalm prayer appropriate to each psalm is said following the silence.

Brief Lesson

As a brief lesson, one or more of the following are read.
You are in our midst, O Lord, and you have named us yours; do not forsake us, O Lord our God. Jeremiah 14:9

Come to me, all whose work is hard, whose load is heavy, and I will give you rest. Bend your necks to my yoke, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble-hearted; and you will find rest. For my yoke is good to bear, my load is light. Matthew 11:28-30

Peace is my parting gift to you, my own peace, such as the world cannot give. Set your troubled hearts at rest, and banish your fears. John 14:27

I am convinced that there is nothing in death or life, in the realm of spirits or super-human powers, in the world as it is or the world as it shall be, in the forces of the universe, in heights or depths—nothing in all creation that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

Humble yourselves under God’s mighty hand and he will lift you up in due time. Cast all your cares on him, for you are his charge. Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith. 1 Peter 5:6-9a

Responsory

Stand

Hymn or Song

Kneel/Sit

or

L    O Lord, support us all the day long of this troubled life, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes and the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then, Lord, in your mercy, grant us a safe lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at the last; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

or

L    Be our light in the darkness, O Lord, and in your great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of your only Son, our Savior Jesus Christ.

or

L    Visit our dwellings, O Lord, and drive from them all the snares of the enemy; let your holy angels dwell with us to preserve us in peace; and let your blessing be upon us always, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

or

L    Eternal God, the hours both of day and night are yours, and to you the darkness is no threat. Be present, we pray, with those who labor in these hours of night, especially those who watch and work on behalf of others. Grant them diligence in their watching, faithfulness in their service, courage in danger, and competence in emergencies. Help them to meet the needs of others with confidence and compassion; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

or

L    Gracious Lord, we give you thanks for the day, especially for the good we were permitted to give and to receive; the day is now past and we commit it to you. We entrust to you the night; we rest in surety, for you are our help, and you neither slumber nor sleep.

C    Amen.

Lord’s Prayer

COur Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name,
    thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
  Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses,
    as we forgive those who trespass against us;
  and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
  For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen

Gospel Canticle

Benediction


Resources compiled by the Rev. Andrew Ames Fuller, director of communications for the North American Lutheran Church and an ordained deacon in the Anglican Church in North America. Liturgies and music found in the Lutheran Book of Worship, ©1978 Augsburg Publishing House and Lutheran Church in America Publication Board.