Thought I’d pass along a prayer book that has been very influential in my life. Evening prayers was written by an almost unknown German preacher, Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt. You can get a free online copy of the book here. I have been using the book as a prayer guide for three years and it has helped me greatly.
First, in praying through the book, I have learned how what we pray shapes how we see the world. The book has some great themes that used to not be on the forefront of my life, but now are. For example, this season in my life – new baby, older babies, end of the school year, etc. – has been exhausting and stressful. Today, I prayed this prayer:
In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for
help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him
reached his ears. Psalm 18:6, RSV
Dear Father in heaven, we rejoice that you are our
Father. We rejoice that you rule and guide each of
us so that our path in life leads to what is good and
genuine and we do not get stuck in this or that concern.
Lead us, renew us, and again and again free us
to go forward, finding new courage and joy for ourselves
and for our fellowmen…
This is one of the consistent themes of the book, praying that our daily cares don’t crowd out the work God is doing. Before the book, I would have been praying for whatever I am dealing with this week, and now, I have a bigger, less self-centered perspective. God is doing more in my life than what’s presently stressing me.
Second, I often have trouble knowing what to pray and I end up praying the same thing over and over. It usually goes, “Lord, I’m not sure what I should pray about, but you know, so I pray for your will.” The book has hundreds of beautiful prayers that easily express what I feel and think, but cannot come up with in the moment. This is especially helpful at work or in between taking care of my children. I simply can’t always express what I’d like and as I mentioned above, it also helps to get out of me what I should be praying for.
I would encourage you to download the book and use it as you see fit. Here are a couple more examples of prayers that have impacted me at some point. It should give you a nice look both into my heart and provide you a snapshot of the book.
poor, faulty, sinful, and death-ridden lives we may
find shelter in your love. We thank you that we are
your children. We thank you that whatever we are,
however depressed we are about ourselves and the
inadequacy of our own nature, we are still your children.
Give us your Spirit, we pray. Give us your Holy
Spirit, penetrating our whole nature, our flesh and
blood, keeping us firm in faith under all temptation
and distress. Give us your Spirit to fill us with hope
as we look to the future, to fill us with certainty in
our Lord Jesus Christ, who was, and is, and is to
come, whose victory is before our eyes so that we
never waver or become afraid. Give us your Spirit so
that we may live in this certainty and prepare ourselves
more and more for your coming into the
world. May we come to know that your loving-kindness
is at work today, that in the end your deliverance
will come quickly, to the glory of your name. Amen.”
through good days and through days that to us seem
bad – we know that our lives are guided by your
will, what you do and what you want. For this we
thank you. We want to love you above everything in
the world. Our hearts long for you, for you are our
Father. We want to love and honor you with our
whole lives. Lord our God, bring your order into
the world. Help us at all times to do your will and
to fulfill your commandments. Amen.