“Can you recommend a good book of prayers?”
I’ve been asked this by a farmer in Teesdale, a long term prisoner, an asylum seeker from the Middle East and a University student, and many more people during my ministry. Of course the answer I give varies according to who is asking.
Sometimes the person is asking how to pray, or about different ways of praying, at other times what is wanted is a collection of prayers, or prayers at a specific stage in life.
Whatever prayer should be central to the life of a Christian and there are plenty of good books to help us to pray.
Eamon Duffy, a noted Cambridge academic and church historian, has produced an outstanding collection of prayers, The Heart in Pilgrimage. I’d strongly recommend it to all Catholic minded Christians be they Anglicans, Roman Catholics or others. Its a book of prayers to treasure through life and would make an excellent gift to a friend or family member.
Duffy’s rich collection has prayers from all periods of Christian history, from differing traditions, famous and not so well known ones. There are traditional devotions, as well as modern prayers and guides to prayer. As well as litanies, prayers for special occasions, and forms of prayer for daily use are included.
The Foreword by Archbishop Rowan Williams, and the Preface by Fr Timothy Radcliffe are special additions to the book in themselves. Rowan Williams explores, as an Anglican, what it means to also be Catholic, whilst Timothy Radcliffe writes of the meaning and nature of prayer.
The Church Times reviewed the book well saying “Eamon Duffy is to be congratulated for providing us with such a wonderful compilation, beautifully bound and illustrated, which is a tool to help our heart on its pilgrimage..”
The Tablet concluded its review by saying “This is a book to change the lives of those who use it, and that is what I intend to do.”
Buy it, use it, treasure it, and buy a copy as a gift for friends or family.