"Everyday Prayers" by Scotty Smith

Scotty Smith. Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith. Baker Books, 2011. 380 pgs. 

On the surface, this is a devotional prayer book which has one prayer for each day of the year. However, you do not have to read very far to find out that Scotty Smith intends to communicate far more than this. Through these prayers, Smith desired to find Jesus in every part of the bible, bring the gospel to bear on every part of his life, and help the reader to do these same things. He seeks to engage Jesus as prophet, priest, and king (a popular reformed rubric these days, and certainly not a bad one), as well as to continually return to basics of the gospel within the grand metanarrative of scripture. 

As you read these prayers you will find that they truly are everyday prayers. They range from poetic to personal in style, grand to minute in scope, and topically they are all over the place. This is, in my opinion, a good reflection of everyday life. 

My first problem with this book is not in reading it, but in reviewing it. One minor problem is that I didn't read it over the course of a year, and thus I experienced it differently than intended. A much more major problem is the question of how you review someone else's prayers? Smith is vulnerable, real, and personal. The prayers are clearly centered on Christ and on Scripture and other than some theological disagreements here and there (he is, after all, a reformed thinker; anyone who has read much of what I post knows I am not) these are solid prayers.

In terms of production, this book was put together from Smith's blogging/facebooking/posting prayers elsewhere on the net for quite some time. I think that is a great thing to do; to engage, within a community, in praying together, learning to pray, sharing our prayers, and growing together. By the time it becomes a book, all those elements of community have been removed. Thus, as I come to my conclusion in reviewing this book, I have to say this: I have a second problem with this book. It is not that it is a bad book; rather, it is superfluous. If you want to learn to pray, if you desire to pray more, to centre your prayers on Christ, and so on, these are great things. Do them within your Christian community. If this book can help, wonderful. But you certainly do not need a book for that. Instead go out and pray. There is no substitute for the act itself. 

Conclusion: 3.5 Stars. Not Recommended. It is a decent book, but not one you really need to read. 

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

1 comment:

Bebe said...

I agree with the statement that you do not need a prayer book to pray. They are helpful. My theory on it is that prayer books are good for people who have a great relationship with God and treat Him as their precious Friend. That way they learned to be able to talk to the Almighty instead of just patter.