“Fixed-hour prayer,” a practice common among Christians from liturgical churches, is finding a wider appeal among other believers, reports Cutting Edge (Winter), a newsletter of the charismatic Vineyard churches.
In an interview with the newsletter, author Phyllis Tickle says that the interest in the practice (also called the “office of the hours” or divine hours), consisting of praying from a prayer book at various hours during the day, is reflected in the number of new books on this subject. Tickle’s recent book, “The Divine Hours” (prayers based on the Anglican Book of Common Prayer) went into a second printing after four weeks — at a time when six other fixed-prayer books were just published.
She was surprised by the young people and evangelicals responding to the books, claiming that they had already taken up the practice of setting aside regular periods of their day for praying from a prayer book. Other fixed prayer proponents say that their biggest audiences for seminars on the practice are often charismatic and Pentecostal Christians (The newsletter adds that some Vineyard churches, known for their spontaneous worship, now use these “prayer manuals;” see last month’s RW on similar changes in the Vineyard movement).
Tickle adds that groups of three or four people are now gathering together in workplaces to say the offices together. She attributes the interest to the fact that these prayer books don’t allow for “false intimacy. In evangelical circles we have made Jesus our buddy. There is a dignity in the hours that emphasizes the transcendence of God.”
(Cutting Edge, 1800 Ridge Ave., Evanston, IL 60201)