Paraclete Press, Brewster, Mass. 128 pages
Prayer is an act of theology, however conscious or not. In this collection of prayers, the theology of the Reformers is revealed through the language of the heart and mind. There are other ways to learn, but prayer discloses theology in an intimate way. In this 500th anniversary year of the Reformation, we often forget the social, political and religious upheaval going on as pastors and theologians went about their task. They were discovering afresh what they believed about the God by the ways they prayed.
This collection contains 100 prayers drawn from 300 years of history. The author has provided “not a textbook, but a tool,” that we should learn from those who have gone before us. He points out, “The Reformers were convinced that we are all God’s instruments for the working of God’s purposes, and so we pray for what we need in order to serve God faithfully.” One can surely mourn the absence of female leaders in this collection that includes prayers from John Calvin, Thomas Cranmer, Theodor Beza, Martin Luther, John Wycliff, Martin Bucer and others. That absence is regrettable (and one can hope for another collection), but it should not hinder one from those gathered here. It was Karl Barth who famously said during the upheaval of the 20th century, “To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of a great uprising against the disorder of the world.” These prayers will help in that uprising.