At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto Thee
because of Thy righteous judgments — Psalm 118:62
The midnight office, as the name suggests, is ideally to be held in the middle of the night, but since most of the prayers speak of waking up from sleep, laypeople will often read it in the morning (often in slightly abbreviated form) after getting out of bed.
The main theme of the midnight office is spiritual wakefulness and remembering the Lord’s second coming
‘For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord
so comes as a thief in the night’ — 1 Thessalonians 5:2
The service starts with a number of short prayers giving glory to God the Holy Trinity, who has raised us from sleep and allowed us to see a new day. We then pray the Psalm of Repentance (Psalm 50), followed by Psalm 118, which is a meditation upon the commandments of God, and the joy that comes from following God’s guidance. We then recite the Nicene Creed, confessing the faith which lays the foundation for all we do. As with most of the other daily services, the Prayer of the Hours, is recited. The remaining prayers and Psalms continue the themes of gratitude and wakefulness.