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Why a collection of prayers? Some of us were brought up with written prayers, and we take comfort in them. Others were brought up with the custom of impromptu or conversational prayer and may consider praying someone else’s prayer “cheating” or, at the very least, inauthentic. You may have heard some people claim that reciting written prayers is not a good spiritual practice. Yet there are many good reasons for written prayers.
When coming before the Lord, we may not be sure what to say. This is especially the case for new believers. I remember well the sense of dread I always felt if was asked to pray for our small group. (“Dread” is too weak a word. “Terror” is more accurate!) The words of others can impart confidence as well as structure. We benefit from others’ efforts—the fruit of their own struggles to express their thoughts to God in prayer.
Moreover, having a template or model before us—whether we speak these prayers verbatim or only begin with these words and expand them as we pray thoughtfully—keeps us from rambling.
Further, one of the greatest reasons for written or memorized prayers is their ubiquitous presence in the Bible—for example, the Psalms or the Lord’s Prayer. In Scripture we find not only structured prayers, but also structured times (hours of prayer, days of fasting, annual festivals). Intentional times keep us aware of his presence throughout the day.
Another reason for written prayers is the nature of modern society, with its countless distractions and conflicting obligations. When our schedules are full and we are fatigued, it’s too easy to let prayer slip. Without practical help from a friend, we may go through an entire day without praying at all.
Accordingly, Amen: Collected Prayers and Hymns for the Journey offers a wide selection: formal and informal, ancient and modern, historic Christian prayers, prayers in Scripture, intercession, and numerous hymn-prayers. If you’re like me, you will benefit greatly by having these at your fingertips.
Douglas Jacoby, Edinburgh, Scotland
This handsome leather-bound prayer book is smyth-sewn for endurance, with a cloth ribbon to mark your place. The handy size fits in your pocket or purse so you can take it with you wherever you go.
180 pages of prayers.