Monday, February 16, 2009

Fixed Hour Prayer (part5) Getting Started

Here is some helpful information to help you get started on the wonderful journey of Fixed Hour Prayer also know as the daily office or the Liturgy of the hours.

Fixed hour prayer is a time honured prayer tradition common to the three Abrhamic faiths. In Islam salat,and shacharit in Judaism. In the Christian tradition we find it carried on in the new testament by Christ and his Jewish followers.

For the early desert monastics praying daily at fixed times became central to their life rhythm. This practice has become know as the liturgy of the hours.

When our children were younger we had a family rhythm going where we prayed together with the children in the morning, at lunch and at family time in the evening. This was long before we embraced fixed hour prayer. This rhythm helped me in my personal life. At the time this practice grew out of our families personal schedule due to homeschooling not due to a previous knowledge of the hours. When our family grew up i lost that rhythm and tried a number of things to help facilitate "daily devotions' or quite time. None were particularly successful for me.

It wasn't until we "rediscovered" the importance of rhythm at Celtic retreat that we incorporated the hours into our lives, and rediscovered our natural rhythm again.

Mary and i originally started this form of prayer by keeping the morning office.Then we added the evening. Eventually we included the midday. We eased into this rhythm inside a year. We found it quit natural and easy to adapt to.
We have found personally that through praying the hours we sense a deep connection with the universal christian community and a rootedness to the rich heritage of the Christian faith.

I would suggest you try to incorporate at least two of the times into your daily routine. You can add them as you go. The other option is to jump in with both feet.

There are also some great tools available, one in particular being Phyllis Tickles wonderful series of fixed hour prayer books. A link to her Home page is provided on the left side in helpful links. Mary and I generally use the Northumbrian Communities Book of Worship that contains their version of the hours.
If your so inclined you can get started right away. I have provided a link to the Northumbrian Office on the left hand margin.

For a more in depth explanation of fixed hour prayer see Living Water From an Ancient Well Article Brief History of Praying the Office/ Fixed Hour Prayer

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