Book Review: Common Prayer

Book Review: Common Prayer—A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals

By: Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Enuma Okoro

ISBN: 9780310326199; Zondervan Publishing

I received this book, Common Prayer—A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals, just before Christmas. I’ve had almost a couple weeks with it and I like it; I like it a lot. I’ve had the opportunity to compare through examination and actual practice, this prayer book with several prayer guides and books that I regularly use. I am impressed with the bridge it makes between the ancient, the “old,” and the contemporary.

There are several things that have taken me a little bit to get used to, but that is probably more likely attributed to my being accustomed to other prayer book styles as opposed to any fault of Common Prayer. The layout or flow of the Liturgy begins with the evening prayer; a little different from what I am used to, but I was able to find my footing rather quickly. The second section, and meat of the Liturgy, follows evening prayer and is titled, Morning Prayer. This section is effectively the Liturgy of the Day comprised of prayers, psalms, Scripture lessons, and song/hymn for the day.

I like that the months have been themed and the prayer hours of that month have been appropriately grouped to compliment the month. I also appreciate there are suggestions for reading that help to inspire and educate the reader to selected theme.

Two remaining sections of the book include Occasional Prayers for specific events or seasons, and a songbook with hymns and songs. As a musician, I am thankful for the music notation and the guitar chords included in this collection of hymns.

While I prefer a couple of other resources for my personal devotions, I have found the perfect (first time) use for this Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals prayer book. I am starting the year using it with in my morning family devotions and Bible reading. I think the book is best suited for use within a community, but it can also serve well as a tool for personal prayer.

This is fine collection for prayer whether it is used corporately or individually. This morning’s prayers provided awakened awareness, conversation, and a challenging call for me and my family. I will enjoy using this resource in the coming year and for years to come. I think it has a place in the devotional life of the person who is used to fixed prayer and the person who has little or no experience with fixed prayer. I highly recommend it for anyone.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Zondervan Publishing to read and post a review on my site. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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