Monday, February 25, 2013

BookPastor >> "Prayers for Today" (Kurt Bjorklund)

This review was first published at "Panorama of a Book Saint" on December 18th, 2012. I recommend it to you for your devotion and prayer activities.


TITLE: Prayers for Today: A Yearlong Journey of Contemplative Prayer
AUTHOR: Kurt Bjorklund
PUBLISHER: Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 2011, (288 pages).

How do we pray? That most of us know. How do we pray well? Lesser people know. Instead of fumbling around for some creativity, or hurry our prayers through some self-concocted prayers that may seem too superficial, why not learn from the spiritual masters of old? Why not pray with the prayer warriors through the ages? Then, as we learn from the past saints of old, we not only integrate our own prayer concerns, but let our prayer lives be enriched to know God better and to make God known wider. This is exactly what Kurt Bjorklund has done. Subtitled as "A yearlong journey of contemplative prayer," Bjorklund compiles a number of excellent prayers said by the contemplative masters. From contemporary prayer warriors like Andrew Murray, William Temple, Mother Teresa, Henri Nouwen, and many others, to ancient creeds like the Apostles' Creed, traditional hymns, Augustine of Hippo, and many more, this book is a treasure chest of prayers to use for all occasions.

Bjorklund sees prayer as a journey through the mountains of praise, adoration, thanksgiving, renewal, and Christlikeness, to the valleys of confession, petition, despair, distress, discouragement. It is also an adventure of navigating through affirmations, wisdom, guidance, and intercession. The "yearlong" for Bjorklund is actually for the five days each week. That makes a total of 260 days of guided prayer, leaving the reader with at least 2 days a week for their own prayers. The way the prayers are arranged flow out of the pattern indicated in the Lord's Prayer.
  • "Our Father, Who is in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name," Prayer of Praise/Adoration
  • "Hallowed be They Name," Prayer of Surrender and Thanksgiving
  • "Thy Kingdom come," Prayer of Affirmation
  • "Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven," Prayer of thanksgiving         
  • "Give us this day our daily bread," Prayer of Petition and Intercession
  • "Forgive us our debts," Prayer of Confession
  • "as we forgive our debtors," Prayer of Christlike character
  •  "lead us not into temptation," Prayer of Wisdom/Guidance
  • "But deliver us from evil," Prayer of Renewal
The pages are undated and provided in day numbers. This actually frees the reader to begin freely according to one's spiritual journey and maintain a pattern of praying that involves all the different facets of prayer. A typical prayer day comprises of an initial Scripture passage to reflect on. A selected prayer is given with sources cited, followed by a personal "Prayer for Today." The Bible passage helps the reader to be centered on Scripture. The given prayer gives the reader an example to follow. The personal prayer section allows one to personalize the prayer accordingly. The theme given at the top of each page helps readers to choose the kind of prayer, whether it is thanksgiving and adoration, or plain confession and petition. It is a helpful way to help readers focus and keep their prayers on track. Otherwise, there may be a tendency to wander to all kinds of mental places that are unfocused and unspecific. 

I have long been a fan of prayer books. I have treasured prayer books like the "The Oxford Book of Prayer," the "Book of Common Prayer," Andrew Murray's books on prayer, and other treasuries of prayers. The author has helpfully compiled the prayers from themes. With theme-based prayer books, there is always a risk of trying to tell God what we need instead of letting God show us our needs. That said, what is there to prevent the Holy Spirit from moving our hearts to prayer beyond one theme per day? Nothing. May the Spirit guide the reader to pray more richly and passionately through the use of this book.

Highly recommended for Church groups, personal devotions, and of course, during Sunday service.

Rating: 5 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me free by Moody Press without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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