Samuel Wells and Abigail Kocher
Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Mich. 365 pages
This is a great gift to the church by two pastors who previously collaborated in “Shaping the Prayers of the People: The Art of Intercession.” As with the previous book, the purpose of “Eucharistic Prayers” is to strengthen the worship of the local congregation. The authors, one a priest in England and the other a pastor in North Carolina, have composed these prayers for every Sunday in the three-year cycle of the Reformed Common Lectionary. The prayers are steeped in the Scriptures of the day and thus tie together the entire worship. What is even more valuable is that the authors are excellent writers who skillfully join contemporary concerns with the language of Scripture. Note, for instance, this prayer for Epiphany 2 Year A: “When you ask us to take holy risks, deepen our faith. When you call us to be faithful in small things, give us perseverance. When you invite us to do beautiful things in the life of the kingdom, inspire our imaginations.”
Those in the Reformed tradition will welcome the ecumenical spirit of the prayers. In a helpful introduction, the authors explain their desire to acknowledge the four main streams of Eucharistic theology that emerged in post-reformation church life. The result is that worship leaders in each stream will find these prayers acceptable and enriching. As the Presbyterian Church moves steadily toward the union of Word and Sacrament, this book will be a valuable resource. The introduction essay alone provides rich reflection.