"Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays." - Soren Kierkegaard
Amid this Christmas season, we also approach the celebration of a new year. In the church the first of January is a celebration of the "Holy Name." This follows the Jewish custom of naming a child on the eighth day. For many it is also a time when we set resolutions for the year ahead. So, it is fitting that I would continue a series on spiritual disciplines. If you haven't been following along, the last two weeks we covered the "observation of sacred seasons" and "sacred meal," which can be found on the blog page of our Ascension website.
This week we will consider "fixed-hour prayer," that is, our daily prayers, particularly those offered more formally. Acclaimed author and theologian Phylis Tickle writes, "Fixed-hour prayer is the oldest form of Christian spiritual discipline and has its roots in the Judaism out of which Christianity came. When the Psalmist says, 'Seven times a day do I praise You,' he is referring to fixed-hour prayer as it existed in ancient Judaism."
The Baptismal Covenant includes a commitment to "the prayers," which I see as a call to set at least one time a day to offer specific prayers to God. Indeed, many of us offer prayers of petition and thanksgiving throughout our day; this is setting a time to be deliberate. Perhaps it will be part of your New Year's Resolution? There are many resources to help guide our daily prayers. I'll include some links below to help you get started.
The Daily Office, a website that makes praying the daily office simple: If knowing which pages and prayers to turn to is slowing you down, this will be your site! It places everything in line for us to pray morning or evening prayer, updated daily.
Common Prayer, a website born out of a movement called "New Monasticism": This group desired a renewed call to daily prayer. The group created a great resource, available in hard copy for those who prefer it (on Amazon here) but all prayers are also on the site.
Mission St. Claire: I have less personal experience with this site, but have heard many say it is their preferred site for praying the daily office.