Monday, June 1, 2009

Changing out Prayer Books

I use Phyllis Tickle's The Divine Hours for my fixed hour prayer. It's a 3 volume set, so three times a year, I trade out prayer books, taking book marks from one and adding them to the next one. Each time, I shake my head at how quickly time zooms by.

I've been using these wonderful books since Advent of 2005. In 2004, I went to Mepkin Abbey, and I really wanted something to help me pray through the day. I picked up a book in the bookstore. I was attracted to its small size. But each prayer encounter was almost too short. It didn't really replicate the Mepkin experience.

As I was reading Henri Nouwen's Genesee Diary, I realized that I really wanted a prayer book that was calibrated to the liturgical seasons. I wanted to be reading Advent verses at Advent, for example. And so, I made the leap.

I'm happy to have also discovered these prayers on an Internet site, so that I don't have to carry the books around with me. Would I have bought the books had I known of the Internet source? Probably. It's nice to be able to pray without a computer.

Of course, some of you would say that you don't need a book to pray, which, of course, is true. But for those of us who need the structure, fixed hour prayer can work well. For those of us who can't figure out what to say when we pray, fixed hour prayer can work well. I love the idea of being part of a world-wide prayer web.

And of course, the Tickle volumes are just one of many resources. As I've blogged before, many people are rediscovering the value of this ancient discipline, people of many different denominations. Perhaps summer is a good time to try something different. When I was a child, summers at church seemed to be "a long green season" with nothing to break up the liturgical season of Trinity, as we called it then. Trying a new spiritual discipline for a season might be a way to break up that monotony.

1 comment:

John said...

I have this series and wish that I used it more faithfully and I also wish that Lutherans had something similar. I tied using ALPB's series but it uses the RSV and the readings are very dry.
I truly think that the Lutheran Church has been woefully lacking in the area of prayer and devotion. It is hard to get people to look past Sunday mornings as a time of prayer and reflection and wish there was an easy answer