Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A new resource for daily prayer

Prayer is one of the greatest gifts God gives to His people. The ability to call upon Him as Father, as taught to us by our Brother and bestowed upon us in Baptism, is a rich blessing. Nevertheless, prayer is another of God's gifts that often finds itself neglected. I certainly speak for myself in this matter. I've tried ex corde prayer (prayer from the heart). I've tried using my miniature-sized copy of Lutheran Worship as my prayerbook. I've used numerous books that are specifically prepared as prayerbooks, such as The Brotherhood Prayer Book from the Lutheran Liturgical Prayer Brotherhood; The Minister's Prayerbook, which was edited by Dobberstein; and my favorite to this point: The Daily Office, edited by Herbert Lindemann. I even wrote my MDiv treatise on daily prayer. (And it's no earth-shattering work, I assure you. If I had it to do over again, I'd at least quadruple the research and spend more than six months working on it.)

Despite all this, my prayer life has always been a struggle for me. Too often I find myself not praying when I get up in the morning, when I eat, when I go to bed at night. My prayers lately seem to have become the products of the moments of need. "Lord, help me put the children to sleep." "Lord, give me patience." "Lord, I'd like to be a parish pastor again." The Lord certainly hears and answers these in-the-moment prayers. However, being outside the parish ministry at the moment, the struggle to maintain daily prayer has become more difficult. As a parish pastor there's always some flexibility to your morning schedule, and you can pencil in time for prayer and study before you head out for visits or hit the books for your sermon and Bible class work. But working in an office and having young children in the house, maintaining a schedule has been difficult at best.

Though no book can make it easier to schedule time to pray, the new Treasury of Daily Prayer from Concordia Publishing House has the potential to help you make the most of the prayer time you have. With orders of worship, daily scripture readings included in full, the entire Psalter, and a liturgical calendar to follow, you have a large collection of resources in one place. If you feel the need to supplement these resources with readings from the Book of Concord, the book suggests readings from the Confessions for each day. It's a flexible book, and it's completely Lutheran--and thus completely Christian--in its content.

I received my copy of the Treasury today, and I used it for prayer tonight. I prayed the Order of Compline, which is exactly as I remember it from Lutheran Worship as we prayed it at Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary. The ease of the book and its convenient size--about the size of a hymnal or mid-sized Bible--are surprising. Though it's too early to say for sure, Treasury of Daily Prayer may supplant The Daily Office as my favorite prayer book. I can already without hesitation recommend it highly.

1 comment:

Scot K said...

Thanks for the mention and for the endorsement. Keep in touch. I am interested to hear more of your assessment as you use it more and have a chance to evaluate the various resources in it.