Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Pastor Prays for His People @TyndaleHouse @AdamSab

This post is part of my series on prayer booksI received a complimentary review copy of this book without a requirement or expectation of a positive review.

This small, gift-like book, A Pastor Prays for His People, by Wendell C. Hawley begins with an introduction explaining the creation of the book. Most of the prayers in the book were crafted by Hawley to be read during services at his church throughout the year, for special liturgical occasions or particular (happy or tragic) events in the life of the church. He noted that people so often approach prayer as something that must be spontaneous. There is something good to spontaneity. However, as he noted, there is also something powerful about taking the time to contemplate the words of the prayer and connect them to words in Scripture and other ancient prayers.

I think this is where prayer books can be particularly powerful and helpful: They encourage an additional level of depth, thoughtfulness, and contemplation in prayer. When using already-made words as prayers, they can be used devotionally, which is quite helpful when we are lost for words.

Hawley's text is broken into months, although the prayers associated with the months appear to be generally arbitrary. However, he includes an index so the reader can search for topics. The prayers he wrote live up to his goal of being deep, meaningful, and yet easily understood. They can be useful for individual prayer, but I think they would be particularly helpful in more of a group setting (that was their original purpose anyway). This book tends to have a more traditional feel, which reflects the context from which it came.

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