A concise Christian guide to prayer and other topics.
“Churches all over the diaspora preach on the need to pray and instruct their members to pray,” Burns writes in her nonfiction debut, “but there is still a large number of churchgoers who are afraid of doing it wrong, shy away from prayer, and prefer the pastor, minister, prophet, evangelist, or missionary to pray over them.” Christians, she points out, are urged to pray without ceasing, but often what’s lacking is the development of a “lifestyle of prayer.” To facilitate that lifestyle, Burns offers a handbook of original prayers for a wide variety of life’s trials and challenges, from police brutality and gang violence to child abuse and bullying. Physical ailments are invoked, everything from the nervous system to the urinary system. There are prayers about enemies (“May they not devour me nor cause me to stumble”), prayers about intercourse problems (“I ask that the genito-pelvic pain…will be healed”). And of course there are dozens of prayers about far more traditional subjects like marriage; e.g., “God please give me the strength to be a husband that operates in love just like You love the church.” In all the book’s prayers, Burns combines plainspoken diction with wide-ranging scriptural quotations, shoring up her contention that prayer should be the daily language of the faithful. She intends her book to be used continually throughout the various stages of life. Some of her more action-oriented readers may take issue with the totality of dependence evoked in several of these prayers (the grieving, for instance, are instructed to pray “God, I ask that You will send me the right support system to assist me during this time,” and so on), but the sheer variety of invocations here will likely overcome such reservations; it’s a rare prayer book that can touch on both digestive problems and PTSD.
A varied, real-world Christian prayer book for all occasions.