I did not grow up in a church tradition that emphasized the praying of written prayers, but I have come to love them as an adult. I don’t use them as a replacement for my own spontaneous prayers, but as a way to “prime the pump,” giving me words to express what is in my heart.
I was glad, then, to hear about Yours Is the Day, Lord, Yours Is the Night: A Morning and Evening Prayer Book by David and Jeanie Gushee. Before encountering the book I had already heard of David, who is a Christian ethicist. The book includes short morning and evening prayers for every day of the year, with each pair of prayers being for a particular date. The subjects of the prayers are also aligned with the seasons of the liturgical year, such as Advent, Lent and Easter. The prayers for those holidays that move around on the calendar are lined up with the days they will be observed in 2013; for example, the prayers for Easter are on March 31. In later years, readers will have to adjust a bit if they want to pray an Easter-themed prayer on Easter day. There is a handy chart that gives the dates for the next five years.
The sources for the prayers are intentionally broad. They are from Protestants, Catholics, Orthodox, men, women, and people from around the world. They range in time from the church fathers to the modern day; a few are from the Gushees themselves. Although they come from a variety of sources, they tend to be about the same length (50–150 words), thus making it easy for readers to create a rhythm of turning to these prayers for the same amount of time every day.
I encountered this book just after I finished editing my own book of prayers for use in worship. From that experience, I would note that while this book is intended for devotional use, some of the prayers are also well-suited for a worship setting. The one thing I wish this book had is a ribbon for keeping your place as you go throughout the year.
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Reading Length: 383 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Note: Thanks to Thomas Nelson for a review copy of this book.