Posts Tagged ‘Prayer books’
Book Review: Prayers for Today
Author: Kurt Bjorklund
Publisher: Moody Press ISBN: 9780802463500
I have been using this book of prayers in our morning family devotions since receiving it a couple weeks ago. Not only have I been pleasantly surprised by what I have found and experienced in Prayers for Today, I am genuinely impressed by the breadth, depth, and diversity of prayer contained in its pages.
I have quite a few prayer books and devotional studies in my library; I mention this to say that I haven’t found anything in this compilation that is extraordinarily unique, at least not in a standalone sense. There are; however, a few minor twists in form and flow of these prayers that are particularly endearing. I found, after spending some time alone with these prayers that I wanted to share them as a form of group prayers and have been using these prayers in our family’s morning prayer and devotional time. We are presently reading The Rule of St. Benedict: A Contemporary Paraphrase by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove (see my review here) and closing our reading time with a selection from Prayers for Today.
One of the things I am enjoying is the “cycle of themes” of prayer types. Kurt Bjorklund has compiled the prayers in groupings of themes cycling through Thanksgiving, Confession Affirmation, Petition, Renewal, Praise/Adoration, Christlike Character, Wisdom/Guidance, Intercession, and Surrender. Using these themes, Bjorklund constructs the prayers into three sections beginning with Scripture, then moving to written or recited prayers spanning the traditions and history of Christendom, and ending with a “Prayer for Today” that personalizes the prayer time with a moment of inner reflection and application.
As mentioned earlier, this prayer book calls on a number of great resources, traditions, and writers for this collection. A few of the sources used are The Book of Common Prayer, Celtic Daily Prayer, Catholic Prayer Book, A Church Hymnary, and there are many, many more! Some of the writers and teachers quoted include Max Lucado, John Piper, Tim Keller, John Stott, Oswald Chambers, John Ballie, A.W. Tozer, Andrew Murray, N.T. Wright, and dozens more. There are numerous other sources cited and included that contribute to the robust flavor of this collection of prayers, I truly look forward to the blessing of immersing myself and my family in these soulful reflections during the coming weeks.
From the Publisher
Summary—With 260 entries — enough for every weekday of an entire year – Prayers for Today guides readers through a unique kind of spiritual pilgrimage, a pilgrimage toward the very throne room of God. For any reader who’s ever wanted more out of prayer or who’s ever hungered for a greater sense of God’s presence, Prayers for Today promises deepened communion with the One who treasures the words and longings of His people.
Author—KURT BJORKLUND was educated at Wheaton College, Trinity International University, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. After serving two churches in the Chicago area, Kurt served as a Senior Pastor in a church in southeastern Michigan for a decade. He is currently the senior pastor of Orchard Hill Church, a large non-denominational church outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He and his wife Faith live with their four sons in Sewickley, Pennsylvania.
“I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.”
Book Review: Sacred Space
Author: The Irish Jesuits
Publisher: Ave Maria Press ISBN: 9781594712777
I have been a lover of prayer books ever since reading Scot McKnight’s book, Praying with the Church. Since reading that book, I have collected quite a few prayer books from various traditions exploring, using, and integrating them into my personal rhythms of prayer. Through the past few years I have found a number of the Ignatian Exercises (Examen, Imaginative Prayer, Journaling, Lectio Divina) very helpful in the ongoing development and maturation of my spiritual formation. It was because of this fond attraction to Ignatian Spirituality that I was especially drawn to this prayer book of the Irish Jesuits.
(From the Sacred Space Website) Sacred Space is a work of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus. It originated in the offices of the Jesuit Communication Centre in Ireland in 1999. Being a ministry of the Irish Jesuits, it is inspired by the spirituality of Saint Ignatius of Loyola (Ignatian spirituality).
The prayers are grouped into a weekly theme providing “something to think and pray about each day through the week.” Each day is then ordered into a session of prayer, which proceeds through a series of movements.
- There is the topic or theme with accompanying Scripture verse—Sacred Space ordinarily follows the scripture sequence of the Revised Common Lectionary. Adaptations are made to the Irish calendar to acknowledge the international readership of the site.
- The Presence of God—Opening prayer acknowledging/inviting God’s Presence
- Freedom—Prayerful acknowledgment that I am a free soul; asking God to give me continuing grace and strength to respond obediently to His instructions and guidance.
- Consciousness—A prayerful meditation and examen of consciousness; honest acknowledgement of the condition of my soul and spirit.
- The Word—Leads you to the daily Scripture reading and provides help with the text, if needed.
- Conversation—Prayer of imagination “Jesus himself sitting or standing beside me, opening my heart to him ” and sharing my truthful thoughts and feelings.
- Conclusion—Closing prayer; most often ending in the “Glory be.”
“Although written in the first person, the prayers are for ‘doing’ rather than for reading out. Each stage is a kind of exercise or meditation aimed at helping you to get in touch with God and God’s presence in your life” (p. viii).
I continue to enjoy this prayer book as a supplement to my daily prayer disciplines. I’m thankful that I have found it and plan to continue using it in the years to come. There is a website link that provides this same form and movement of prayer… although I have found some differences in the how the movement is guided. The Scripture readings have been the same as the days marked in the prayer book. I recommend this prayer book for anyone regardless of the stage you may be in your spiritual journey and close this review with a few words from the Sacred Space:
“…Remember that God is everywhere, all around us, constantly reaching out to us, even in the most unlikely situations. When we know this, and with a bit of practice, we can pray anywhere. — Every place is sacred space so you may wish to have this book in your desk at work or available to be picked up and read at any time of the day, whilst traveling or on your bedside table, a park bench, or…”
[01JAN2012] Scripture and Devotional Reading 2012
I’m so excited about beginning a new year of Bible and devotional reading. I get this giddy feeling with the start of each new year reading plan, but this 2012 year gives an extra little boost. The past three years I have followed the Daily Office of the Book of Common Prayer and Lectionary for my Bible reading plan. It has been very good and beneficial for the feeding of my soul. I will continue to use the Book of Common Prayer and the Benedictine Daily Prayer Book for prayer and meditative reading, but I am returning to my New Living Translation Chronological Bible as my guide for reading through this coming year.
I cannot speak with words strong enough to share how valuable the chronological Bible has been to my spiritual journey and Christian development. I believe I’ve shared the story before on the blog, but my first venture with the chronological style of reading was back in 2004. It is a bit of a long story, but suffice it to say my life was forever changed; I was finally able to see the “big picture” of the Bible…the whole story as it were. The years that followed my first chronological reading were repeats, choosing to read through the Bible in this same manner several times until I started using the Book ofCommon Prayer and Lectionary around 2008.
In addition to my Bible reading plan, I’m excited about a couple of new devotional reading projects. I’ve been a big fan of N. T. Wright over the years and couldn’t wait to get my hands on his translation of the New Testament when I heard it was coming in 2011. I picked it up through Amazon.com as one of my Christmas gifts to myself. I have already started reading beginning with the Gospel of Luke. I’ve got several new gospel commentaries that I’ve been looking forward to reading and plan to read a commentary alongside my reading of The Kingdom New Testament. The Luke commentary is a new commentary, The Biblical Imaginative Series, and authored by Michael Card published through InterVarsity Press. Also from InterVarsity Press, I have two volumes from the Resonate Series with The Gospel of Matthew by Matt Woodley and The Gospel of John by Paul Louis Metger. I don’t have a gospel commentary set aside for Mark just yet, but we’ll see what comes along down the road. In the mean time, I think this is a pretty good plan and look forward to what God the Holy Spirit has to say as He guides my reading and devotions.
I’ve added a couple of new prayer books to my line-up this year too. I ordered, and have been using, The Benedictine Daily Prayer Book since returning from the Pecos Monastery this past summer. My other Christmas gift to me was a two volume prayer book set, Take our Moments and our Days, from the Anabaptist tradition. I still plan to use the Divine Hours Prayer Books I’ve been using for the past five years along with these newer acquisitions.
I have several devotional books riding over from last year into this year. The only new devotional book I’m using this new year (as of now) is the Ancient Christian Devotional – Lectionary Cycle B by Thomas Oden and Cindy Crosby.
I think this is going to be a grand year.