Thursday, June 7


I've recently begun the practice of fixed-hour prayer, after reading the book The Shaping of a Life by Phyllis Tickle. I actually disagree with Mrs. Tickle on many points, but she's an engaging writer.
The practice of fixed-hour prayer is very old: elements of it can be found in ancient Judaism, as well as in early church practices. The basic idea is of praying at specific ("fixed") hours. The standard ones are traditionally:
Matins--traditionally midnight, but often anytime before dawn. Lauds is often added into Matins
Compline--before retiring, usually around 9pm
Obviously, most working adults will be unable to say all of these, so the strict observance is usually only for monastic orders; however, many lay people have found ways to say many of the fixed hour prayers (also called the Divine Offices) Phyllis Tickle's books, The Divine Hours, are a set of books of fixed hour prayers/offices that are arranged to be useable by the ordinary Christian. The day consists of 4 offices:
Morning Office--on the hour or half hour between 6 and 9 am
Midday Office--on the hour or half hour between 11am and 2pm
Vespers--on the hour or half hour between 5pm and 8pm
Compline--just before retiring for the night
I've only been praying these for a couple of days, and I don't always get every office in (I haven't done Vespers for a few days now, just due to schedule issues) but it seems to be a good thing. I've never been good at just sitting down to pray--I talk to God quite a bit during the day, but very little of it is structured for worshipful prayer in any way. This method or praying seems to be working well.
We shall see!

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