A dear friend gifted to me a new book on prayer. This book is not for a quick sit-down, but rather a guide for some lingering before the Lord. This dear friend so knows my heart’s desire. The Book of Everyday Prayer: Liturgies for Personal Devotion, written by Jeremy Steele, is a delight for this prayer-vocabulary-challenged gal.
Jeremy Steele is a husband, father of four, and the teaching pastor at Christ United Methodist Church in Mobile, Alabama. He confesses on his blog that sometimes he doesn’t always know what to pray. A fellow sojourner, indeed. Like me, he is fascinated with the ancient prayer texts and song lyrics that help us come before a gracious God with a heart unsure of what to say, when to say, and how long to listen. From his own words, “The book… is for everyone who, like me, needs more than what comes off the top of their head. It’s for the teen, young adult and adult who are ready to claim old hymns, beautiful Bible verses and a new word or two as their own prayers.”
The seven-day read-along guides offer prayers at different times of the day: dawn, morning, midday, afternoon, evening, and midnight. Each prayer opens with a Call to Prayer followed by a Confession, Invitation, Refrain, Scripture passage reading, the repeated Refrain, a Psalm/Song Lyric, the repeated Refrain, The Lord’s Prayer, a Prayer for Today, ending with a Concluding Prayer covering about three printed pages. I particularly like the text of Confession and Invitation. I know I don’t spend enough time inviting the Lord into the conversation and I sure don’t spend enough time in confessing before the Lord. The words bring me to pause, to breathe, to listen, to linger before the Lord.
At this point in my life, I find myself waking up a bit earlier and really enjoying the lingering in my prayer chair in the morning. I also find myself aware of a need to come before the Lord at other times of the day and this has proven to be the perfect tool.
Various prayer practices are also outlined in the book, but a special section is dedicated to prayers for occasions such as ‘cleaning a room’, ‘when a friend moves away’, ‘getting a new thing’, and even ‘coffee’ (I will insert ‘tea’ here). I’m not kidding! The prayers for situations of gain and loss as well as relationships are authentic and some may put a smile on your face. I think the Lord likes it when we come to Him with a smile…in prayer…for ‘working’, for ‘friendships’, even ‘video games’. Really, I’m not kidding…there is a prayer for video games and it’s fabulous!
The book is published by The Youth Cartel and is available here.
“Almighty and all-loving God. I thank you for the new friendships that are emerging in my life right now, and I thank you for the gift of all the friends that you have blessed me with in the past. I thank you for how growing closer to people helps me grow closer to you, and I thank you for the opportunities that friendship give to be a support and be supported by others.” ~ Jeremy Steele, The Book of Everyday Prayer, (page 183)