A prayer book? What in the world would an Evangelical ever want with a prayer book? Well, a lot actually. This reviewer is an Assemblies of God minister who wishes the Assemblies included more of a liturgical aspect in its services. A Morning and Evening Prayerbook, edited by Jeanie and David Gushee, is a great tool for the individual who wants to incorporate a component of liturgical prayer to his or her life in a way that is easy and simple to do.
To start with, I find A Morning and Evening Prayerbook to be more logistically useful than a book like The Book of Common Prayer. One of the big reasons is that every church holiday that the High Church celebrates, all the feasts, saints’ days, etc. is included in it. A…Prayerbook keeps the church calendar simple and focuses on the holy days around Easter (Ash Wednesday-Pentecost) and the Advent season. It also provides an index for the years 2019-2023 of when those dates fall. From there, A…Prayerbook functions like a daily devotional reader; there is no skipping from one index of readings to another section, back to an appendix of other prayer readings, and back and forth. This prayerbook starts on January 1 and the reader can move forward through the days, marking where he/she is pausing in the book in case the holiday readings are on a different day so he/she can go back to them. It is very usable in that regard.
Another thing I appreciate about A…Prayerbook is the breadth and variety of prayer sources and authors. Some of the prayers come from liturgical sources like the Catholic Book of Prayers and The Book of Common Prayer. But other writers whose words are included are individuals such as Karl Barth, George Fox, Kierkegaard, and others who one would not necessarily assume would be included in a “liturgical” prayer book. The images included throughout the book provide an additional layer to the effectiveness of contemplation to the book.
As a tool, A Morning and Evening Prayerbook is an easy way to incorporate prayer rhythm into daily devotions, using it as a starting point for conversational prayer. At worst, the user of this book is exposed to a broad amount of Church history, and at best uses that exposure as a way to join an eternal conversation in the Church. You will not be dissatisfied with this book.
I received my copy of this book for free through the BookLook Bloggers program in exchange for writing a review of the book. I was not obligated to write a positive review; the opinions expressed are my own.