Hey, my friends. Welcome back to Let’s Encourage One Another.
This year, I started a monthly series where I share some of the books have been so very meaningful and transformative to me. Ones that will either invite you to step closer to the Lord or ones that equip you to better care for those around you who are hurting.
Go back to episode 100 to hear January’s book recommendation.
The Benefits of Prayer Books
This month, I would like to offer you a prayer book. I have found that having written prayers helps me in those moments when I have no words, when I am lost in hurt or grief or overwhelm. They help me express the pain in my heart while also pointing me to lift my eyes to Christ and remember the truth in His Word.
So prayer books can help you find the words. They also connect you to other believers throughout time and space. Some prayer books have been around for centuries. Knowing that a prayer I whisper has been uttered by thousands of others comforts my soul and brings a sort of community around me. In fact, it reminds me of the cloud of witnesses that the book Hebrews speaks of.
But even modern prayer books can unite us. For I am not the only one with a copy of this book. Others have it, too. Others use it. Others pray through it and meditate on it and offer these words to still others. And it’s just so very beautiful.
February Book Recommendation: Every Moment Holy, by Douglas Kaine McKelvey
There are many prayer books available, and I definitely encourage you to find one that resonates with your heart and soul—not just the concepts that are presented, but the language that is used. Some of the ones I have sitting on my desk are Piercing Heaven, which is a book of Puritan prayers, and Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth, written by Walter Bruggemann. I also have a prayer book from the Daily Grace Co.
But the one I turn to most often in this season has been Every Moment Holy, by Douglas Kaine McKelvey.
If you are a client of mine, if you have attended a retreat or joined Journal Gently or have listened to the podcast for any length of time, you have probably heard me recite a liturgy from this prayer book. For example, bonus episode 13 in March 2022, where I read “A Liturgy for Returning to Daily Life After a Loss.”
McKelvey actually offers two volumes of prayers: one of the more ordinary sort and one volume focused on death, grief, and hope.
What’s interesting about my copy of volume 2, the one focused on death, grief, and hope, is that my copy was accidentally printed upside down. So if I open the front cover, all the pages are upside down. I can’t read it that way. Instead, I have to intentionally flip it over and backwards and that’s gets the text in the right direction for me. And it has become a sort of symbolic gesture to me that death and grief kind of turn life upside down for a while, don’t they? It reminds me of the fallenness and sorrow of our world.
The language he uses just really resonates with my heart and soul, and as I have shared prayers with others, I find it resonates with theirs, too.
Some of the Prayers
Let me give you an idea of some of the prayers McKelvey shares in each of his volumes, okay? First, know that he calls them liturgies, and a liturgy is simply often a form of public worship. So while we will likely read many of these prayers on our own, they are designed to be read publicly.
As I said, the first volume features prayers for the more ordinary sort of days, as well as for the more celebratory ones. He offers prayers for mundane tasks like:
- For the Washing of Windows
- For Laundering
- For the Preparation of a Meal
But he also offers prayers for those with specific jobs:
- For First Responders
- For Waiters & Waitresses
- For Students & Scholars
There are prayers for blessing and celebration:
- For Those Gathered on the Eve of a Wedding
- For Moving into a New Home
- For Setting Up a Christmas Tree
- For the Marking of Birthdays
And there are prayers of petition and provision:
- Before a Meal Eaten Alone
- For a Sick Day
- For Those Flooded By Too Much Information
- Before Serving Others
I really like the variety he offers and how he reminds me that even everyday tasks like dishes and laundry and changing diapers can be turned into an opportunity to connect with God and remember that He is there with you.
The second volume of prayers offers liturgies both for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one and those who are dying. So these prayers are a lot more specific to these situations and, I have found, provide both comfort and hope even as they help you name the grief and sorrow you feel.
Let me name some of the prayers in this volume:
- For Seasons of Uncertainty
- For Caregivers in Need of Rest
- For Those Facing the Slow Loss of Memory
- For Dying Well
- To Stir Courage in a Child Facing Death
- For the Loss of a Close Sibling
- For One Who Struggles with Guilt or Shame After a Miscarriage
- For One Responsible for an Accidental Death
- For When Someone Thinks You Should Be Over it by Now
You see how specific they can be? And, as I said, they help you express some of the things going on in your soul while also pointing you to Christ and the hope we have in Him.
Liturgies of the Moment
Though you can easily take a line or two from any of these prayers and turn them into a sort of breath prayer you carry with you throughout the day, one of my favorite features of these prayer books is that each one offers liturgies of the moment. These are short prayers written for specific occasions that are easy to memorize and use as God leads.
For example, there is a liturgy for that moment when you feel a stab of grief, or when feeling frustrated with others, or when you feel a surge of sadness. There are also prayers to practice the presence of God when you see or experience certain things, like hearing a beautiful piece of music or randomly thinking of another person.
Let me share one of these liturgies with you. It’s for that moment when you hear a bird singing. This is how it goes:
You draw praise
from the frailest of things.
So also draw praise
Isn’t that lovely? Isn’t it so simple, and yet it points us back to Christ and reorients our hearts to Him in praise?
Other Resources from Every Moment Holy
You can get copies of both prayer books through many bookstores or through their website at everymomentholy.com. They offer a regular size as well as a gift size, which makes it easier to carry around.
You can also download some of the prayers from Every Moment Holy for free on their website, or, if you’re on Instagram, you can read excerpts from some of their prayers. I love seeing their prayers pop up in my feed.
And actually, Every Moment Holy is offering a free Lenten Journal and Writing Guide. With Lent starting in just a week or so, this would be a great way to prepare your heart for Easter and the sacrifice Christ made for us.
What’s Your Recommendation?
What do you think? Is it a book you’re going to check out? Are you ready to see what other books I’ll recommend this year? Be sure to come back each month to see.
And if you have a book recommendation for me, I’d love to hear it. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And remember, my name is spelled K-A-R-I.
Okay, my friends, that is all for today. Until next time, let’s encourage one another…
- Website: Every Moment Holy
- Bonus Episode 13: A Liturgy for Returning to Daily Life After a Loss
- Episode 100: [Book Recommendation] Sensible Shoes Series by Sharon Garlough Brown
- Bonus Episode 16: [Written Prayer] In the Quiet
Learn more and register for Journal Gently, an 8-week program designed to help you use writing as a way to process hurt, grief, and trauma with God.