Common Prayer | Shane Claiborne

It’s quite a pretentious act to review a prayerbook. I believe that God loves talking with his children no matter what sort of liturgical language they use, so who am I to say these prayers are “good” or “bad”? Here’s another problem: It’s next to impossible (as well as completely fruitless) to read through a year of prayers in a few weeks.

Here’s what I did. Before this book arrived, I was following Phyllis Tickle’s The Divine HoursTM Pocket Edition in my personal prayer life. I’m a Pentecostal who has developed a love for liturgical prayer. Over the last few weeks, I’ve substituted Common Prayer into my normal routine. Here’s the report on what I’ve experienced.

Common Prayer has prayers for three times of the day:

  1. Midday: There’s only one prayer for midday, but it’s simple and centering. It reminds you of the beatitudes and gives you an opportunity to meditate. I’ve enjoyed incorporating this into my work-week.
  2. Evening: There are seven prayers for the evening (one for each day of the week). While there’s nothing wrong with them, I still prefer Tickle’s Compline Office to close the day.
  3. Morning: Here’s where this volume shines. Claiborne and company have provided prayers for each day of the year. Each month has a certain theme (based loosely around his marks of new monasticism). Each day reminds you of a saint (traditional or otherwise) who has made an impact for the Kingdom.

Claiborne’s blatant dismissal of our society’s love for warmongering along with his clear passion for godliness make this an excellent volume. Here’s the best thing I can say about it: I plan on using it throughout the whole year for my morning prayers.

One last thing. The production quality of the book is very high. The cloth-bound cover with embossed cross along with graphically illustrated pages throughout make this a lovely book to hold and to use.

Disclaimer: A free review copy of this book was provided for me by Zondervan.

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