I became a born again Christian during the era of the tail end of the Jesus Movement and the early days of the Charismatic Renewal of the 1970’s. Throughout my Christian walk, I have been a member of evangelical, charismatic congregations, none of which remotely resembled a liturgical community. An extravert to the extreme, I prefer freedom in the Spirit, freedom in my times of corporate worship and prayer, and spontaneity in my times of private worship and prayer.
Despite this background, in recent years I have desired to learn more about a way of prayer known as the daily office or the divine hours, fixed-hour prayer, and a few others. (I’ve also come to enjoy the use of anglican prayer beads, although I use them in my own way; but that’s a different topic.)
One reason for my interest in the daily office is that I desire to be more constant in prayer, as it says in Philippians 4:6: Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. (NLT)
Recently, I received the book, In Constant Prayer by Robert Benson, part of The Ancient Practices Series from Thomas Nelson. Here is the official blurb:
Why is it important to pray as the early Christians did? And what does it mean to pray without ceasing? In Constant Prayer explores the ancient practice of fixed-hour prayer, a structure for our lives where we can live in continuous awareness of God’s presence and reality. This classic discipline of praying at fixed times during the day and night has transformed the lives of millions around the world. Learn what the apostle Paul meant when he encouraged the Thessalonian church to “pray without ceasing, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
The Ancient Practices is a new eight-book series from Thomas Nelson Publishers that covers the seven essential spiritual disciplines. Though various books have covered some of these in the past, there has never been a definitive series until now. Immensely compelling and readable, each book also features a foreword by Phyllis Tickle.
I found this book to be an easy read and a good introduction to the history and the practice of the daily office. And if the final result is that it helps the Christian reader (including me) become more committed to the practice of being in constant prayer, whether or not through the practice of the divine hours, then it will have achieved a great deal.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”