Bring rhythms of fixed-hour prayer to your family

“Fixed-hour prayer gives us a way to anchor our daily lives in rhythms of prayer, Scripture reading, and silence, ensuring that we do not get too far into any day without orienting or reorienting ourselves to the presence of God in our lives.” – Ruth Haley Barton


The Transforming Center began when a few intrepid souls who were “longing for more” began getting together on retreat to strengthen the soul of our leadership. From the very beginning we practiced fixed hour prayer. Using simple liturgies some of us had put together, we gathered for morning, mid-day, evening and night prayer to join in the great prayers of the Church, to hear Scripture read without comment, and to practice receptive silence together.

Through the years, these simple prayer services have anchored our retreats as well as providing structure for opening to God at all levels of our leadership. These prayer times are truly the sweetest hours of our life together.

Sweet hours of prayer… take 2

So imagine my delight when my daughter, Charity, let me know that during this pandemic she began writing liturgies for her family that would enable her and her husband Kyle (TC14) to share this experience with their children who were 7, 5 and 3. Motivated by a great longing to bring this good gift from her Transforming Community experience (TC12 and TC15) to her family, she began simplifying the words, prayers and practices to produce fixed-hour prayers their whole family could engage together. What a thrill it has been to hear how these prayer times have anchored them, helping them open to God together in the midst of so much change, uncertainty, and keeping very close company!

Eventually she shared the prayers with me, letting me know that several of her friends (who have also been in Transforming Community) were inspired to establish this practice in their families. Together we  wondered if we could make them available as part of the spiritual support we are seeking to offer our communities during these days. We have meticulously poured over the words, the spiritual concepts, and the instructions to make sure: 1—they are appropriate and accessible for families with children of all ages, and 2—they are faithful to the tone and teachings of the Transforming Center. I could not be more pleased with the outcome!

Equipping and empowering the next generation

Of course I am deeply moved that this practice, which has meant so much to all of us here in the Transforming Center, is now impacting those with whom I am most intimate. Beyond that, these prayers are a natural and very organic fulfillment of an important aspect of our vision—to equip and empower the next generation for leadership in their families and communities, in their ministries and in the ministry of the Transforming Center. 

But now rather than hearing about it just from me, read Charity’s story about how these prayers emerged in her life…

“We were two weeks into this pandemic when I started to shift my thinking about our approach to life in this new reality. I was realistic enough to know that even though I wanted to do more than survive this time, thriving was too lofty a goal. We needed something in between, something liminal. A posture that accepted the now and left room for the not yet. I kept wondering what God might be up to during this strange time. What could the stripping down of our life reveal? As parents, how are we called to lead our families now? What have we been longing for that God is waiting to give? What new thing could emerge?

“These questions swelled out of hope at the start of day and often were a sad tug of longing at the end of it. Living like this is hard and I knew we needed some sustaining rhythms that went beyond homeschool schedules and zoom meetings. I thought about fixed-hour prayer and how that practice has such a profound way of holding us together as a community on retreat. Without any guarantees that it would hold in the same way at home and with children, I chose to lean into curiosity. What might it look like for our family to come together in this way?

“These liturgies were developed from a place of hope. I wrote them for families using words and songs simple enough for children to engage but still meaningful for teenagers and adults. Since they are heavily influenced by the Transforming Community experience, there is a familiarity that will give TC Alumni a wonderful way to bring the rhythms of fixed-hour prayer into their life at home with others, and to do so with the confidence and inner authority that comes from their own practice.” – Charity Barton McClure (TC12, TC15)

fixed-hour-family-prayer

Access all four fixed- hour prayers for families and a helpful resource guide with a donation of any size

These fixed-hour prayers (morning, mid-day, evening, evening short) are designed for families using words and songs simple enough for children to engage but still meaningful for teenagers and adults.

Donate to download

an excerpt of evening prayer

Because creating a new rhythm within a family can feel daunting

The four liturgies come with a resource guide which includes helpful suggestions for how to get started and a few ideas for engaging children of younger ages. Our hope is that these liturgies will provide just enough structure for you to feel supported in bringing this prayer practice to your family in a meaningful way.

We are making these available with a donation of any size. Use the link below or you can donate on the “Give” page of our website (designate your gift to the Fixed-Hour Prayers for Families). When you make a donation an email receipt is sent, and the receipt will include links to download prayers and the document with guidance.

Donate to download

Ruth Haley Barton

(Doctor of Divinity, Northern Seminary) is founding president/CEO of the Transforming Center. A teacher, seasoned spiritual director (Shalem Institute), and retreat leader, she is the author of numerous books and resources on the spiritual life including Life Together in Christ, Pursuing God’s Will Together, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership, Sacred Rhythms, and Invitation to Solitude and Silence.
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