Friday, November 25, 2011

Prayers for Today by Kurt Bjorklund

Bjorklund had been excited about prayer but, slowly, over the years, his excitement waned. As a minister, he knew there should be more to prayer than he was experiencing. His experience had been with extemporaneous prayers and he viewed liturgy and written prayers with suspicion. Then a friend suggested a book of prepared prayers using Scripture. He began to experience renewal in his prayer life.
He found other prayer books and discovered that what others had prayed gave voice to his own feelings, longings and struggles. The structure invited him to pray about things he had never prayed about before. The discipline produced a greater intimacy in his prayers. He found areas in him that still needed surrendering. He found that the struggles of Christians through the centuries were not that different from ours today.
From his personal journey with prayer was born this daily compilation of prayers from classic and contemporary sources.
This book is to be a means of prompting for prayer and reflection. There are 260 days of prayers (five days a week, fifty-two weeks). They are undated so one can begin to use them any time. Each day has a Scripture prayer (his own translation), a written prayer (from a variety of sources), and a prayer meant to be a prompt for continued prayer.
Bjorklund has included ten primary types of prayer: thanksgiving, confession, affirmation, petition, renewal, praise/adoration, Christlike character, wisdom/guidance, intercession, and surrender. The themes rotate systematically so one is prompted to pray in ways that may not be natural for them.
Bjorklund is quick to note that his book is written from a distinctly Christian perspective. The existence of the Christian God is assumed as is Jesus Christ as Redeemer and Savior. The reality, presence and power of the Holy Spirit is also assumed.
These daily prayers are not ones that can be lightly read over and ignored. Bjorklund's unique Scripture translation causes the passage to be one of personal involvement. The cry of the psalmist becomes our own. The promises of Scripture are made to us. The admonitions of Scripture become our personal commitment.
The prayers from Christians throughout the centuries are both challenging and comforting. They challenge us to be all God desires of us. They comfort us as we experience the same struggles as the saints of old.
For those who want to add their own confessions, thanksgiving, and petitions, the last prayer for each day provides for that open-ended experience.

“Through these prayers,” Bjorklund hopes, “your experience of prayer will be enriched, your relationship with God will be deepened, and your desire to serve God and the needs of the world will be expanded.” (17)

Kurt Bjorklund is currently the senior pastor of Orchard Hill Church, a large non-denominational church outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Moody Publishers, 278 pages.  Publisher product details.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Moody Publishers for the purpose of this review.
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