Praying the hours, or fixed-hour prayer, is a corporate melody of prayer from believers to the Holy.
This shared dialogue of worship is offered to God and for God as a type of communal prayer presented to the One who calls us by His name.
In an earlier post we introduced this ancient spiritual discipline. I like to dig a little deeper in this post.
The daily office Practice
The Jewish people and the early church offered prayers at certain hours of each day. Many branches of Christianity still include praying the hours.
Such prayer services include a call to prayer, a psalm, a hymn of praise, Scripture readings and formal prayers based on the Scriptures.
Also called the daily office, praying the hours can be practiced as a church community or in a small group. Prayed alone, I sense the connection with others throughout the world who are praying the same words at the same time–distant, yet together in spirit.
Praying the hours secures my day when the rest of my schedule seems hectic. Like an old friend, the daily office can be boring at times, yet comfortable and secure.
In his book In Constant Prayer, Robert Benson states:
The truth is that for most of the time—for all time, according to the ones that have gone before us—the office has a kind of mundane, everyday sort of feeling. There is a blessed ordinariness to it. The daily office is not called daily for nothing, you know.
A Perspective on the daily office
The daily office is enriched when viewed from the perspective of varying Christian traditions. For several years, I have cracked open Celtic Daily Prayer throughout the day.
Recently I picked up the Divine Hours series by Phyllis Tickle, one of my favorite Episcopalian authors and founding editor of the Religion Department of Publishers Weekly.
I’m currently using her book, Christmastide: Prayers for Advent Through Epiphany from The Divine Hours—quite a jump for a Charismatic girl.
Most of my prayer life has centered on the Charismatic tradition of supplication, spiritual warfare, and an intercessor’s stance as a watchman. Intercessors, God’s End-time Vanguard is the result of walking in that arena of prayer. I’ve also enjoyed the ancient practice of contemplative prayer.
Incorporating the daily office into my routine has increased my learning curve and stretched me into new ways of praying.
A Preview of the daily office
Interested? Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor gained permission to post the Divine Hours by Phyllis Tickle on their website. This is a great place to explore and gain some experience in the practice of fixed-hour prayer.
“Phyllis Tickle Responds” is an insightful article providing the history of fixed-hour prayer and some common sense advice for living out this type of prayer in the midst of a busy life.
I’d love to hear and learn from those of you who practice fixed-hour prayer or are just looking into the possibility of using it as a way to ignite the holy in your daily.
In Him together, Susan Gaddis