The Neighborhood’s Book of Common Prayer is intended to be used by individuals, households, and communities for aiding the practice of fixed-hour prayer with the Psalms. At the core, this is a guide for praying with the Psalms. Though the Church has long seen the Psalms as her most precious book of prayer, regularly using the Psalms to shape our prayers has largely fallen out of practice with the average Christian in modern times. A fantastic introduction to the Psalms as the prayer of the Church can be found in Bonhoeffer’s short work Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible nbhd.link/pttp
What is fixed-hour prayer?
Fixed-hour prayer is an ancient practice rooted in Judaism that adds rhythms of prayer at specific times each day. This is what the Psalmist refers to in Psalm 119:16 when he says that “Seven times a day do I praise you”, and is what led Peter and John into the temple to prayer in Acts 3:1. While the content, frequency, and specific hours have fluctuated greatly over the millennia, and the practice itself is not specifically commanded in scripture, we believe there is wisdom and blessing to be found for modern folks who embark on including fixed-hour prayer in their spiritual rhythms. For a more in-depth history, Phyllis Tickle of the Divine Hours series has written a great resource available at nbhd.link/fixedhourprayer
How to use the prayer book
This little prayer companion was designed to be simple yet flexible. It should be possible to pray through the basic prompts in a few minutes. In most of the offices, there are some promptings for engaging in unscripted prayer inspired by the verse, but there is still value in briefly praying God’s own word back to him between tasks and responsibilities at home or work. Additionally, each office includes the same Psalm arrangement used by religious orders such as the Trappists throughout the ages which will take one through the entire Psalter each week.