Oh, it’s “work” all right, as anyone who is committed to a structured prayer life governed by set constraints will discover in short order.
There will be days when praying the Office just feels like a chore and a burden to get through, more than anything else. Spiritual and even physical weariness sets in; distractions abound. The words you are praying start not making much sense. You might even be tempted to quit altogether.
These days have immense long-term spiritual benefits, if you know how to take advantage of them.
To help you do so, think of the Office as analogous to farming.
A farmer’s harvest will depend not on how he “feels” about his work on any given day, but on how diligently and consistently he does it over time, come rain or shine.
Our Lord gives us the fruits of the earth to nourish our bodies, but at the cost of all the patience, perseverance and hard work that goes into cultivating the land.
So the Word of God and the prayers of the Church, as set out in the Office, are a rich spiritual bounty—but we need to cultivate our souls to harvest their real benefits, the ultimate of which is union with God Himself. And that is real work.
Seen in that light, distractions, boredom, weariness, temptations to quit—these are just the natural “costs of doing business” in our fallen world.
Imagine if a farmer only went out into his fields when he “felt like it.” Or if he just left midway through the workday because it just felt like it was “too much of a drag!”
When you endure your temporary and fleeting feelings of boredom, weariness, or discouragement, and stick to your Office anyway, you not only benefit from the divine seeds inherent in the Office itself—you are also sowing additional seeds of discipline, perseverance and self-denial, training yourself to fight and conquer (with God’s grace) all the temptations that will inevitably come your way out in the world.
Take the long view and persevere (like wise farmers do), and the “worst” days will become the most bountiful on the day of harvest.