Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Prayer When You Don't Have The Words: Mini Reviews of To Light Their Way and A Rhythm of Prayer

When Kayla Craig's daughter was three years old, she was hospitalized with a respiratory virus. Sitting by her bedside, Craig discovered that she could not find the words to pray. When a friend sent her a book of prayers, she found comfort in praying words that had already been laid out for her. As she continued to raise her children, she found many moments when she just did not have the words for the joy or sorrow or doubt she was experiencing. So she wrote a collection of prayers for parents, for the ones who are overwhelmed, for those smiling and crying as they send their little love off to kindergarten for the first time, and for the ones who are feeding a baby in those dark early morning hours.

This collection of prayers and liturgies is beautiful and varied. Craig writes in the introduction that these are not prayers that ignore reality; instead, she includes prayers for the one who parents alone, a prayer for receiving a diagnosis, and one for when your child is the bully. Some are meant for a caregiver to pray by themselves, and others are meant to read with your child. There are even simple breath prayers intended to help parents connect with God in the midst of school pickup, getting everyone to practice, and ensuring every child has brushed their teeth. To Light Their Way is a beautiful reminder that it is ok to not always have the words, and it would be a fantastic gift to give to any parent or caregiver. 

To Light Their Way
A Collection of Prayers and Liturgies for Parents 
By Kayla Craig
Tyndale Momentum October 2021
240 pages
Read via Netgalley


Sarah Bessey had a similar moment of not knowing how to pray. She recalled the prayer circles of her youth, missing both the confidence of knowing that others were praying for her and the many different ways they reached out to God. Bessey asked a group of women who teach and challenge her to contribute prayers to this collection. These prayers are not necessarily meant to be read and repeated verbatim.  Instead, they are intended to inspire you to find your own new ways to pray. 

The prayers in this book are angry cries about injustice or a guided prayer for when you don't know what you want. Some selections are not prayers themselves; they are letters to a future self or musings on the power of a mother or grandmother's prayers. One of the prayers in this book even sparked controversy when the Black author prayed that God would just let her hate white people instead of having her heart broken over and over by people who won't address their racism. It is good for us to be reminded that prayer doesn't have to look just one way and sometimes the anger or grief we feel is uncomfortable to confess. A Rhythm of Prayer is exactly this reminder and a powerful tool for anyone who calls out to God. 


A Rhythm of Prayer
A Collection of Meditations for Renewal
Edited by Sarah Bessey
Convergent Books February 2021
176 pages
Read via Netgalley 

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