Monday, January 07, 2013

Book Review of A Book of Prayers by Arthur A.B. Nelson

A Book of Prayers
by Arthur A. B. Nelson
ISBN 978-0-8308-5736-4
IVP Books
Reviewed by Clint Walker

book cover

I recently moved from a church that was Baptist and decidedly non-liturgical to a church that is multi-denominational and expressed in clear terms that they wanted some liturgical influence in our worship and in my ministry.

As a result of this, I have bought a number of prayer books. Several of these pertain to appropriate worship sourcing. But other books like this that I have purchased also give guides for prayer in specific situations. For instance, I often use the Presbyterian Book of Common Worship to guide my reading of Scriptures and praying with the ill, the dying, and the recently deceased. I have used the Methodist Book of Worship to guide the work of our servants who bring communion to those who are shut-in or homebound.

In the process of using these denominational resources, I had wondered why there were not more resources like this to guide the prayer minstry and pastoral care of church leaders who are not a part of mainline churches. I have found a few resources out there like this, but most of them are dated and out of print.

Recently, IVP released A Book of Prayers by Arthur A. B. Nelson. This book fills the gap of what is needed. It provides a set of written prayers for a number of occasions. Many of these prayers would be helpful for anyone. A few of them would be helpful for specific situations that lay people find themselves in once in a while, but pastors find themselves in quite often. For example, one might feel lost on just what to pray when asked to pray with someone who just lost their unborn child, but this book has a prayer that at the very least could serve as a blueprint for someone who finds themselves in that situation.

In addition to pastoral care, there are several prayers in this book that are fit for public worship. Even more, there are several prayers for situations Christian people, and especially ministers, find themselves called upon to lead in public prayer. Feel lost for words on how to pray for an election? There is a prayer in this book for that. Wonder what to pray to begin a meeting? There are some prayers for that in this book as well.

A Book of Prayers is a great resource for lay leaders and pastors alike. It will guide you in both private and public prayer leadership, and at the very least spark some ideas. For the cost of the book, it is a text a lot of people should have on their shelf. And, it is actually small enough that many pastors should have it in their glove compartment, briefcase, or coat pocket.

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