Takeaway: Fixed hour prayer is a great way to focus on God throughout the day, but hard to do in a modern, busy world.
For the past couple months I have been trying to do fixed hour prayers. The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime is part of a four book series by Phyllis Tickle of fixed hour prayers. There are four entries a day, Morning, Afternoon, Evening and Night. The prayers are a good mix of modern and historic prayers, psalms and other scripture readings and hymns.
I have not participated in fixed hour prayers before, but after reading In Constant Prayer (my review) I thought I should try it. I can see real value in stopping throughout the day and concentrating on God. I am a low church guy. I have no real back ground in liturgy, the church year, fasting, etc. That is one reason I have been interested in the Ancient Practice Series from Thomas Nelson to try and find some relationship to the historic and modern global church. I have found that when I do the fixed hour prayers, whether I am in the mood to worship and pray or not, I almost always am caught up in reverence and worship. It is not uncommon for me to really not be paying much attention as I walk through it and still by caught up in worship. Keeping the schedule is hard. I am usually OK with the morning and night, but the afternoon is hard. I am a nanny for a 1 year old and a 2 1/2 year old. I am a part time consultant for non-profits. I try to keep up with this blog. I rarely participate in the afternoon session. And for some strange formatting decision the night prayers are completely separate from the other three set of prayers so I often do the evening at night and then never do the actual night prayers.
That brings me to formating. I am reading this on a kindle. I think that the kindle is a great format for fixed hour prayers. The kindle never looses your place, the prayer book can be as long and detailed as you want. It can be carried with you and you do not have to shout that you are doing fixed hour prayers. But this book was not designed for kindle. The hymns are the worst. There is often two verses written side by side instead of just formated straight down the page. And the night prayers being separate from the rest of the prayers is impossible to use. The other problem is that this is the only one of the four books that has been converted to kindle format. So my only option is to try to find another book of fixed hour prayers or just keep doing this one throughout the year. I have been looking and I have not found another better option. The others prayer books that I have seen have even worse formating and often require jumping all over the book to complete a set of prayers. There is a real need for someone to write or compile a set of prayers for ebook. So I will probably keep using this one. In spite of the formatting issues and my lack of consistency, the value of the fixed hour prayers is much greater than any minor inconveniences.