Eerdmans, 138 pages
The disciples pleaded with Jesus, “teach us to pray.” He gave them a sturdy prayer that continues to fill the hearts of the faithful in every land and language of the world. Some say the desire to pray is universal, the very sign of the image of God within us. Yet from experience we also know that prayer does not come easily for everyone – perhaps for anyone – without steady attention to it. Prayer is the practice that centers our lives in God. Cornelius Plantinga has stepped into the venerable footsteps of John Baillie whose “A Diary of Private Prayer” has been the go-to prayer book for millions of disciples. Plantinga acknowledges his debt to Baillie, to the Book of Common Prayer and to other wise ones whose prayers have been food for the faithful. He also acknowledges that the reason such a collection of prayers can be valuable for Christians is that we grow weary of our own voice, or are weakened by depression or anguish, left without words and a flagging spirit. In such times, the prayers of others – like the ones in this collection – can be the way to stay grounded in God and grow in communion with Jesus Christ. He has put together a month of morning and evening prayers that echo the Psalms, as well as the prayers of Scripture and the ancient tradition. Everything about this is traditional, and we are living in such a time that a sturdy traditional collection of prayers will be enormously helpful to those who want to continue in the way of Jesus.