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Prayers in Every Season

The first two prayers for evening time on p.17 were pointers on the map of God's transcendence and his immanence. Seeing God as holy and set apart along with seeing him come down to Earth is a good way of both honoring what Scripture says about him, but also rightfully bringing worship to Him. Secondly, the prayers for Evening Time were close to recount the ways in which we need God's help and goodness to avoid the snares of the Evil one and the fantasy of the devil (18-19). The truth here is that we are prone to wonder but God is the one who we draw strength from to fight evil, even combating the desires within our own hearts for sin. With another reviewer, I am not willing to offer up prayers to the Holy Virgin being an evangelical Christian,yet, I was still appreciative of the way she is referred to in certain prayers like the Theotokion (28).

These prayers certainly brought me to a place of praising God that I was not accustomed to before. One of the beautiful things about many of the prayers in this book is the Trinitarian nature of them. In the prayer of St. Ioannikios we find this short prayer, "My hope is the Father. My refuge is the Son. My shelter is the Holy Spirit. O Holy Trinity, glory to you (32). The beauty of extolling the Father for his plan, for the Son in the carrying out the plan and the Holy Spirit guiding and interceding for us is an unmistakable element in these prayers.

Lastly, the prominent use of Scripture throughout these prayers, focusing in on the Psalms is a breath of fresh air. The format in which the Psalms are placed reminds us of the poetic quality of the psalms and also their inherent power for following after God in dark and desolate places. Being the hymnbook of Israel, McGuckin points us to the corporate use of the Psalms as well (102-3) At the end of the prayer book, McGuckin collects various prayers of the ancient saints (one of my favorites is the Evening Hymn on page 180-181).

This prayer book should have a wide reading in both Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox circles. Whether you are in a high church or low church setting, these prayers are a reminder of the majesty and glory of God and his coming to earth in the incarnation. Beautifully translated and edited, John McGuckin has done a masterful job with the prayers.

Much thanks to Paraclete Press for the review copy of this book.


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