Prayers for the People: Things We Didn’t Know We Could Say to God

Terry J. Stokes. Convergent, $20 (208p) ISBN 978-0-59323-943-8
Stokes, a New Jersey youth pastor, debuts with an insightful compendium of more than 200 short original prayers that challenges the assumption that worship has to “be spontaneous, new, or unique in order to be faithful.” Occasions for the prayers range from somber (“For bereaved mothers”) to celebratory (“For after getting the job or offer”), and they often speak to modern concerns, including pleas for ecumenical unity among Star Wars fans and prayers “for when one has accidentally liked their crush’s old photo.” Yet Stokes’s most stirring entries are those which draw on the biblical injunction to do good, seek justice, and correct oppression, or those which address contentious contemporary topics—such as sexual identity (“For those experiencing gender dysphoria”) or economic inequality (“For economic justice”): “O Christ, who fills the hungry with good things and sends the / rich away empty, melt down and reshape our economy.” It is a mark of Stokes’s wisdom and empathy that prayers of excoriation and lamentation come across as more conciliatory than sermonic. Wonderfully blending traditional prayer rhetoric with humor and an eye for contemporary concerns, Stokes’s work will be a stimulating, inspiring resource particularly for those working in youth ministry. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 09/03/2021
Release date: 11/09/2021
Genre: Religion
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