I just received Scot McKnight’s book, Praying with the Church, in the mail yesterday. Scot writes simply and with great clarity, so I finished it over the course of the day. I would highly recommend this for anyone who is considering fixed-hour prayer. McKnight gives a helpful biblical foundation for this practice, and suggests that Jesus himself was a practitioner. The book seems to have been written for a fairly conservative evangelical audience, given the time spent explaining the reasons that this kind of prayer isn’t “vain repetition,” but it is a profitable read for persons of all theological stripes.
The most helpful part for me was McKnight’s approach to the large variety of prayer books and recommendations for where and how to begin this practice. All of this is cast alongside his and his wife’s experience working out the practices of fixed-hour prayer in their own lives.As I said before, this book is written with great simplicity and clarity, so it is laudably approachable by anyone. If you want to tap into this ancient practice and begin a journey into a life of prayer, this book is a terrific place to start.
While I read, I kept thinking and dreaming about instituting these practices in a local Church. What if a large church staff gathered each morning and evening anchoring their lives in common prayer? What if a downtown United Methodist Church offered the morning office for the faithful few who would attend? How could pastors encourage one another in fixed-hour prayer rhythms? Would a bi-yearly retreat where the entire office was prayed communally make a difference? What would district conferences look like if they were determined by prayer rhythms instead of the clock? Could our business meetings come to a halt when the time for prayer rolled around?
Anyone else out there read this or practice fixed-hour prayer? How can you see this implemented in the life of your church?