Yours is the Day, Lord, Yours is the Night by Jeanie & David Gushee (Thomas Nelson)
Why would Baptists want to read a collection of morning and evening prayers? After all, Christians in the Free Church tradition typically have preferred to view prayer as spontaneous conversation with God rather than recitations from a prayer book, haven’t they?
Perhaps the best response to that objection is one word: “Psalms.” For 2,000 years, Christians have deepened their devotional lives by reading the prayers and hymns of Israel. Christians have recognized human nature has not changed, and believers in one age gain wisdom from the prayers and songs of believers who have gone before.
Poet Jeanie Gushee and her Christian ethicist husband, David, have collected prayers for morning and evening devotions, drawing not only from the Old Testament, but also from a broad range of Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox sources around the world who represent every era of Christian history. The authors make it clear their book is not meant to replace spontaneous conversation with God but to inspire it.
Consider one example from an evening prayer during Advent. The prayer says: “It is the season of darkness. Day hardly dawns before night again falls. And so too the world—we catch glimpses of day, of sun, of warmth against the backdrop of darkness, cold and gray. … This night I close my eyes in darkness and yearn for Your Light, brighter than a thousand suns.”
I read the prayer Dec. 15—the day after the mass murder of schoolchildren at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Romans 8:26 tells us when we are weak and don’t know how to pray, the Holy Spirit provides the words for us.
Sometimes, he uses a prayer book.
Ken Camp, managing editor
All to Jesus: A Year of Devotions by Robert J. Morgan (B&H Books)
All to Jesus is the latest book by Robert J. Morgan, pastor of the Donelson Fellowship in Nashville, Tenn., and the author of The Red Sea Rules and Then Sings My Soul among other works.
The key word is “all.” Morgan uses 365 scriptures of the 5,310 verses that have the word “all” in them to begin each daily devotional. For each day, a verse is printed at the top of the page with the word “all” in bold type. However, on the Day 90 entry that focuses on Job 31:4, Morgan includes four additional verses at the bottom of the page. So, the book actually includes even more than 365 verses with the word “all” in them. Following the verse listed at the top of the page, Morgan may comment on the verse itself or relate a story that illustrates it.
The book includes an extensive bibliography, as well as lined blank pages for readers to record prayer requests. Expect to find this book enriching. The devotions are succinct but with a great amount of spiritual depth.
Skip Holman, minister of discipleship
Northeast Baptist Church