I don’t think I’ve ever “felt anything” while praying the Hours. But I have noticed that, slowly but surely, they are changing me.

The Hours seem to “sanctify the day.” Because they are woven throughout the day, these frequent breaks do indeed give my everyday life a patina of holiness. Very often the Hours will feel like running commentary on what I’m experiencing at the moment. Indeed, they are meant to. A hymn for the noontime prayer will start with a line like, “The sun is high in the sky,” anchoring me in the here and now and making me feel connected to creation and the universe. Prayer starts to feel more like a companion to everyday life, an added dimension to everything I do, rather than this block squeezed at some point in my day — in bed, on the subway — and disconnected from the rest of what I do.

“Pray without ceasing,” the Apostle Paul admonishes his charges. With the Hours, I get closer to accomplishing that.

The Hours are also a great way to experience the Bible.