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The Divine Hours, Volume II: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime (Divine Hours) (v. 2) Hardcover – September 19, 2000
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The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle draws on the Book of Common Prayer and the Church Fathers, as well as the New Jerusalem Bible, to provide daily readings and prayers (for morning, noon, vespers, and complin) for every day between October and January. Tickle's book of hours modernizes the ancient practice of fixed-hour prayer, as originally practiced by the Jews ("Seven times a day do I praise you" [Psalm 119:164]) and adapted by early Christians. The book's introduction provides a short history of this tradition of prayer, whose centrality in Christian worship was cemented in the sixth century, when St. Benedict fashioned the rule of his community according to the schedule of fixed-hour prayer. The introduction also encourages readers to experiment with sung and chanted prayer (the encouragement includes the tantalizing observation by Saint Augustine that "Whoever sings, prays twice"). The discipline described by The Divine Hours is demanding, but the rewards, as Tickle describes them, are great. Christians who practice fixed-hour prayer "find themselves filled with a conscious awareness that they are handing their worship, at its final 'Amen,' on to other Christians in the next time zone. Like relay runners passing a lighted torch, those who do the work of fixed-hour prayer create thereby a continuous cascade of praise before the throne of God."
"A welcome remedy for the increasing number of lay Christians who have rediscovered the daily offices...Tickle puts each day's prayers, psalms, readings, and refrains-everything you need-in one place...The rhythm that Tickle's book establishes gives one a stronger sense of participating in an ancient, worldwide but very personal liturgy."
-Nora Gallagher, beliefnet.com, and author of Things Seen and Unseen: A Year Lived in Faith
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In the beginning pages, there is a concise explanation of the why's and wherefore's of The Divine Hours, terms are defined, and a short historical brief introduces practitioners down through the centuries. Then, the manual is organized in a simple, readily useable, day-by-day palate of Psalms, ancient prayers, hymns, and more. It is designed primarily for individual use and is easily adaptable for corporate use. There is no need to flip back-n-forth, trying to figure out where you should be. It is laid out page-by-page, and a satin ribbon keeps your place. In short, it is user-friendly.
It has made all the difference in my prayer life.
One addition that would be nice would be to print the Lord's Prayer, the Gloria, and a few of the other prayers mentioned as one line in the daily prayer rounds - these are not spelled out anywhere in the book, and for the novice, a copy in the back would be helpful.
More importantly, the assigned prayers and reading selections for each day are very well chosen. They are all on the side of thoughtful brevity. This helps create that wonderful atmosphere prescribed by St. Benedict(father of western monasticism)who instructs "therefore prayer ought to be short and pure, except when it is occasionally prolonged by the inspiration of Divine Grace."
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