This service of noonday prayers includes an opening versicle, a selection from the psalms, a lesson, and prayers (BCP, 103-107). It is based on the "little offices" of terce, sext, and none in Christian monasticism. These "little offices" were said at 9 a.m., 12 noon, and 3 p.m., which were known as the third, sixth, and ninth hours of the day. Private devotions at these hours associated with the events of the Passion have been observed by Christians since the second century. Although these hours of prayer were included in the Primers of Henry VIII and Elizabeth, these offices were not included in any Prayer Books before the twentieth century. The 1979 BCP is the first American Prayer Book to include this office.
The BCP Order of Service for Noonday may be used for terce, sext, or none. A hymn may follow the opening versicle. The BCP provides suggested options for the selections for the psalm and the lesson. A silent or spoken meditation may follow the lesson. The Prayers include the Kyrie, the Lord's Prayer, the versicle "Lord, hear our prayer," with the response "And let our cry come to you," and a collect, which may be one of four provided in the office or the collect of the day. The office concludes with the Benedicamus Domino, "Let us bless the Lord," and the people's response, "Thanks be to God." Musical settings for An Order of Service for Noonday are found in The Hymnal 1982 Accompaniment Edition, Vol. 1 (S 296-S 304). See Little Hours of the Divine Office.