"Mindfulness is the whole point of praying the hours," Tickle says.

David Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk whose book about the hours,"Music of Silence," is in its second edition, says people are hungry for ritual and ways to incorporate it in their everyday lives. An awareness of the liturgical hours and the practice of stopping to savor them doesn't break up a day as much as tie it together, Steindl-Rast says.

Tickle wonders, too, if renewed interest in praying the hours mayhave something to do with September 11. As Christians learned that Muslims practice fixed-hour prayer, some have been inspired to try its Christian counterpart, she says.

Or it may be that fixed-hour prayer is proving popular again becauseit gives spiritual seekers who've lost the taste for watered-downspirituality something solid to sink their teeth into, says Eric Major,vice president of religious publishing at Doubleday. "One of the greatdangers of Christian faith," he says, "is a tendency to leave it behindon a Sunday morning." Fixed prayer is a way of infusing a whole day, awhole week with prayer.

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