Robert Taft has described the Liturgy of the Hours as ‘our priestly prayer as God‘s priestly people‘.1 Prayer appears in the Old Testament from the fall of Adam after the act of creation,2 through the Psalms and into the New Testament where Jesus not only prays during his mission on earth, but He teaches man how to pray. The Apostle Paul exhorts that we should ‘Always be joyful; pray constantly; and for all things give thanks; this is the will of God for you in Jesus Christ‘ (1 Thessalonians 5: 16-17). In order to discover what it is that Christians do when they pray, we shall first define prayer and trace the roots of prayer through the scriptures; then examine examples of Christ‘s priestly prayer and consider what is meant by an individual‘s priestly prayer. On completion of that journey, we shall explore the Liturgy of the Hours and compare it with other forms of prayer for example, the Our Father and the rosary. Finally we shall consider how these liturgical forms fulfill the purpose of prayer and the call to pray unceasingly for Christians and in particular for those who follow the Roman Catholic tradition in the West.

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