What shall I pray for ?

What shall I pray for ?

Prayers for Living 500 Prayers for Public and Private Worship by Rosalind Brown (Sacristy Press 2021)

I wonder if you pray how do you go about this activity either for public worship or private devotion? In the middle of a recent conversation, I was invited by another person to pray with them. This often happens – I am a priest ! I willingly agreed but in the moment of pause wondered what to say and even how to pray into a space that was unfamiliar with the nature of prayer.

Slowly words are merged helped by the attentiveness of the person with me. There was a tangible sense of both openness and careful listening. I stumbled over some words and there were certainly some gaps but what moved between us in these moments were graceful.

What followed was a searching and questioning about the nature of God. Where is God? Does God listen? What language should be use in prayer? And of course, the million-dollar question – does God answer prayer?

Those whose duty it is to pray in public know the importance of finding the right words that connect, uplift, challenge and hold a situation or focus for prayer. There is a relationship between private prayer and public prayer and Rosalind Brown opens some of these questions and connections up in this well-organised and carefully written book.

Divided into nine sections we are offered prayers which focus on – the needs of the world, national and local life, daily life, families and friends, people in need, creation, and the church. There are also two sections which offer some litanies and deal with saints and seasons. Brown demonstrates her attention to detail and deep pastoral sensitivity as phrases, descriptors, invitations, and offerings are carefully articulated. Prayer and poetry belong together in this volume.

Any reader, any who pray, any searcher for the divine amidst this changing and complex world of ours will be enriched and enlarged by this volume. Perhaps they might also be inspired to articulate their prayers for living and so step into several spaces with an intentional care and focus on how we live our faith.

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