There are many prayer books available to clergy, worship leaders and those who engage in spiritual direction. Some provide prayers to be adapted to one’s own use and some talk about the understanding and practice of prayer. What makes each of them work is the specific way that they engage prayer without going too broad. So I was surprised and delighted to discover that A Rhythm of Prayer: A Collection of Meditations for Renewal aims so broadly and yet touches so deeply on the heart of prayer I could imagine this book for almost anyone in my circle–pastors looking for sermon fodder, parishioners that want something to invigorate their personal devotional time, and friends that possess a spiritual longing yet don’t affiliate with a faith community.
What I appreciate the most is the diversity of the contributors as well as the diversity of texts. Each section brings something new and unexpected. A breath prayer adapted from scripture passages written by the editor, a prayer formed around the step of making chicken noodle soup from scratch that centers the work of justice by Osheta Moore, a prayer for those weary and tired written by Laura Jean Truman that reads as a traditional prayer or liturgy but feels like a Psalm, a liturgy for disability and prayer for chronic illness, a poem by speaker Kaitlin Curtice that reads like a breath of fresh air, an essay on the physicality of prayer by Kelley Kikondeha, each give breadth and life to the collection. And sprinkled throughout are quotes and scriptures that speak to the meaning and practice of a practice that at its heart seeks to know God. There is a steady candor to the work of prayer in this books that is both nurturing and challenging, a difficult balance to strike.
I would give this book to my Midwestern mother and to my coastal activist friends and know they would each get something pleasurable and thoughtful from the collection.