Book Review: The Little Book of Hours
Compiled by: The Community of Jesus
Published: Paraclete Press ISBN: 9781557255334
Several years ago, after reading Praying with the Church by Scot McKnight, I started experimenting with the practice of praying with fixed hour prayers. I have found this holy habit to be one of the most defining of my personal spiritual disciplines. I continue to seek out and use various prayer books that are modeled after this style of prayer. Following the Benedictine monastic tradition of praying the liturgy of the hours, the Community of Jesus has compiled The Little Book of Hours.
If you are unfamiliar with fixed hour prayers, the liturgy of the hours (also known as the Divine Office), is an ancient tradition that punctuates the day with prayer at certain times. Most commonly, these punctuations follow prayer times at morning, noon, evening, and night. Other monastic communities may seek to expand these prayer times to seven times a day.
The Little Book of Hours is a brief compilation of the prayers used by the Community of Jesus at the Church of Transfiguration on Cape Cod. While the actual prayer liturgies used by the Community are more expansive than those in this prayer book, the collection here represents the heartbeat that sustains and nurtures the said Community. The liturgy of hours in The Little Book is wonderful first step into the practice of praying the liturgy of the hours. This four-week cycle of hours is ideally designed for praying in a community, but is also a perfect fit for small groups and can be a great tool for personal prayer. I have just completed my first four-week cycle with this little book of prayers and plan to use it regularly during my prayer and devotional time through the coming year.