A Book of Prayers came in the mail the other day from IVP. Their new catalog has some excellent new and forthcoming items in it, but this one especially caught my eye and I was happy to get my hands on it.
If prayer is our conscious and intentional engagement with God, and if Scripture contains a wide range of prayers, then our praying can at times be spontaneous and at others, more considered. I have come to appreciate very much various prayer books that supply thoughtful prayers with wording that is richly and intentionally Scriptural, but also simple. Such prayers invite consideration and provoke reflection, opening up seriously prayerful experiences.
The author, Arthur Nelson, collected these prayers from five decades in pastoral ministry. It’s small enough to fit into a handbag or coat pocket and would be useful for moments when just the right words seem impossible to capture.
He includes prayers for a stillborn child, the anniversary of a suicide, for children being bullied, and for those working in prisons. There are prayers for marriage celebrations, thanksgiving for health in old age, and in preparation for times of worship.
It looks wonderfully useful, and I know I’ll consult it to find just the right words for certain occasions, but also for ideas in writing my own prayers for public praying.
In the spirit of the Book of Common Prayer, Art Nelson provides a new collection of public and private prayers to help us meet the uncertainties of life with the dignity of prayer.
Often when situations of very specific pain or joy arise (pregnancy at risk, marriage crisis, addiction, psychosis, incarceration, rape, celebrating wedding or anniversary, victory over abuse, etc.), we struggle to find the right words to pray for that situation. The high emotion of the moment or the longstanding nature of a chronic illness or the shock of enduring a national crisis leave us frustrated at just the time when we want and need to pray.
This is a difficult and uncertain time for individuals, communities and nations. These timely and sensitive prayers are meant to stimulate reflection and provide reassurance–both for us and for those we pray for.