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His Affirming Presence – A prayer for every day of the year

Author: David Adam
Published By: Kevin Mayhew (Buxhall)
Pages: 543
Price: £16.99
ISBN: 978 1 84867 373 1

Reviewed by Philip Joy.

Devotional materials are always hard to review, as one man’s meat is another man’s poison. This compact, almost pocket-sized edition provides a short prayer for every day of the year.

 

Most prayers are simple one-liners:

The Trinity be over me,

The Father protecting me,

The Saviour…” etc.

Some are responsorial with bold type:

God Creator:

To you be glory and praise.

Christ Saviour:

To you be glory and praise.

Spirit, Guide,

To you be glory and praise.

Still others employ that prayer book style:

Lord [who has so-and-so character], draw near to me…”  etc ,

While others use a more Jewish style:

Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, you…”

Loosely formed around the church year, it is somewhat Anglican in tone as it also includes prayers for some Saints’ Days (e.g. St Andrew, St Barnabas, etc.) and at the back of the book there are prayers pertinent to feasts such as Easter, Pentecost, Ascension and the numerous Sundays after Easter which change according to the phases of the paschal moon. On the non-specific days, the author has found various sources of inspiration for prayers dedicated to certain emphases, whether natural or spiritual. So in January, the Epiphany focuses prayers around the manifestation of God in the flesh; February, Candlemas inspires intercessions concerning the light of Christ. In March, light, apparently, increases (length of daylight hours?) – inspiring a parallel spiritual theme; April focuses on growth and renewal (spring?); May is, for some unspecified reason, a time for looking at relationships; June, the Trinity (Trinity Sunday, doubtless); July, the presence and peace of God (The Holy Spirit?). In August, the Feast of the Transfiguration directs thoughts towards the glory and vision of God; September is about harvest themes, naturally; October is, inexplicably, “the time when we consider God’s healing and wholeness”; November’s ideas stem from Remembrance, and December’s, unsurprisingly, from Advent.

After the above I suppose I should say this book is more than ‘somewhat’ Anglican in tone, but there is no really denominational heaviness in the actual prayers and an author must get an organizational structure from somewhere! I did wonder how this would all play out to the ordinary unchurched Joe. I tried April 1st, but did not find any prayers for fools! Similarly I checked out May Day, but found no prayers for workers or manufacturing! Some days seemed downright odd. It is a bit arbitrary to find oneself on the 16th October praying “God, I am frustrated by this illness…” (how does he know?); on the 21st “God come and enter my darkness…” (doubtless caused by the illness?); and by the 25th “O God, my heart is restless (presumably due to the darkness caused by the frustrating, elusive, illness!). On the other hand I had very few theological bones to pick, such as prayers to Mary or the Saints. Most focus on personal piety and wonder, but there is some evidence of ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication? Ed.), prayers for social justice, the occasional mention of rulers and the even more occasional mention of Mission. If I was being naughty, I might say this book would be quite good for Sunday plundering, but as far as personal renewal goes, that is David Adam’s big thing, and as a school of prayer the volume offers plenty of models for the development of personal spontaneous devotions – the author’s best wish for the book, in fact. As I say, it’s a matter of taste. So if you liked this taster, give it a go.

Philip Joy

Specialist in Old Testament narrative and typology

Ministry Today

You are reading Issue 55 of Ministry Today, published in July 2012.

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