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Prayers of Great Traditions: A Daily Office by Christopher Voke

June 24, 2015

POGTWritten by a Baptist, this is a splendid resource for daily prayer. It follows the usual pattern for the daily office of morning and evening prayer with suggested psalms and readings but its main strength is that it draws on prayers compiles from a variety of sources – the Old and New Testaments, The Apostolic Constitution, Ephrem the Syrian, John Chrysostom, Augustine of Hippo, Julian of Norwich, Martin Luther, Lancelot Andrewes, William Laud, Jeremy Taylor, John Wesley, Charles Spurgeon Soren Kierkegaard and Karl Barth. There are also Celtic Prayers from Carmina Gadelica, Prayers from the Benedictine and Franciscan traditions and Celtic Prayers from Northumbria. Most up to date, prayers inspired by Creation.

Normally, there are three pages for morning prayer and one for the evening – though working people might prefer it the other way round as they have more time after work.

I disliked the prayers of Karl Barth as much as I dislike his writing as a whole. The book says that his work is the foundation of all theology. I am mightily glad that it wasn’t in my day because it has little or nothing to say to us human beings in the daily realities which we face.

The psalms were translated specially – although I am steeped in BCP Coverdale, it is a refreshing change. e.g. Ps.43 ‘Why am I so downhearted? And why am I churned up inside?

One psalm reading in the morning and one in the evening will complete the whole Psalter in 12 weeks. Thirteen rotations of 28 days will cover all 150 psalms more than four times in a year.

The Bible readings are set out in 28-day cycles so that the New Testament may be read through in about a year and a half (84 weeks) and the Old Testament in about two-and-a-half years.

I was intrigued by two self-examination questions of John Wesley: Have I contradicted anyone, either where I had no reason to, or where there was no likelihood of convincing them? Have I let anyone I thought in the wrong (in a trifle), have the last word?”

(The author, after several years in teaching and student work he studied at Spurgeon’s and then pastored two Baptist churches before his appointment as a tutor in 1996. is doctoral research was on the subject of corporate worship and the doctrine of creation and he continues to think and write about contemporary Christian worship as well as framing liturgy for church and personal use)

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