We Christians know prayer is important. Our lives are to be marked by prayer. Yet is is often the most difficult spiritual discipline some of us experience. Knowing how believers in different Christian traditions have prayed over the centuries is a good way to help us know how to shape our prayers.
I really appreciate this collection of prayers. I understand they are not to replace my prayers but rather to be a springboard, inspiring me to pray as Christians have done for centuries. I like that the prayers are grouped around the liturgical year.
Some readers may be put off by the archaic language in older prayers. I found the use of “Thee” and “Thou” was a good way of reminding me how reverence for God was expressed in times past.
Perhaps my favorite prayer is on February 15 from The Exeter Book dated around 950.
Give me, O Lord,
patience and a sense of purpose in each
of the things which You send to beset me... (p. 49)
The prayer goes on to ask for protection but I love that it reminds me to first seek God's purpose in what is happening in my life, even the events that beset me. The prayer also reminds me to fix my hope on God and to lift my thoughts to Him.
That's an example of why I like this prayer book. It takes me out of the frequent shallowness of contemporary Christian spirituality and firmly places me in the deeper prayers of earlier believers.
I highly recommend this prayer book to those who would like to be exposed to the thoughtful prayers of Christians from around the world, from different Christian traditions and from believers of earlier times.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
Jeanie Gushee is a published poet with a BA in English literature from the College of William and Mary.
David Gushee, PhD, is a Christian ethicist who serves as distinguished university professor of Christian ethics and director of the Center for Theology and Public Life at Mercer University. He and his wife live in Atlanta, Georgia.
Thomas Nelson, 400 pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.