Thursday, September 17, 2009
"My Prayer Book" - A Review
“My Prayer Book” is another extremely special book from Potamitis Publishing.
This is a very attractive large format, 62 page hardback book, illustrated throughout with full colour iconographic pictures.
You can "flick through" sample pages by going here.
The introduction highlights the nature of prayer and the reasons why we pray and when we pray. The basic Trisagion prayers in traditional language are introduced, followed by one Morning Prayer in modern English.
The prayer to the Mother of God “It is truly meet….” is illustrated with a truly delightful picture of a group of children decorating an Icon of the Theotokos and Child with flowers, and assisted by birds carrying flowers to add to the display. If this could be produced by the publishers as a print, it would make a beautiful greetings card!
Prayers for before and after lunch and supper are given, as is the Nicene Creed. One of the Akathist hymn prayers is given, the “To you my Champion and Commander”.
A prayer before sleep and the prayer to one’s Guardian Angel are lovingly and attractively illustrated, and a particular delight is the inclusion of prayers before and after receiving the Holy Mysteries. It is never too early to teach children to pray before approaching Communion.
For Great Lent, there is the Prayer of St Ephraim the Syrian, and Hymns for some of the Great Feasts are given, namely the Annunciation, the Nativity, Theophany, the Elevation of the Cross and Great and Holy Pascha.
Pages 44 – 62 are devoted to explaining the prayers and hymns in detail. A section on how to make the Sign of the Cross is included at the beginning, and the diversity of translations of prayers in use throughout the Orthodox world is also mentioned.
Each prayer and Great Feast mentioned in the prayer book is explored and given a thoughtful commentary.
This section of the book is ideal for children and adults alike who want to know more about their Faith, and it lends itself well to introducing discussions with children of all ages about the prayers and why we use them. It will be extremely useful for parents, Godparents and Sunday School teachers.
My daughters both loved this book. My eleven year old was familiar already with the prayers but she particularly loved the commentaries and found them fascinating. My seven year old just wants to pray the prayers and enjoy the illustrations at the moment, and it is an ideal prayer book for them both.
I think this book will rapidly become an invaluable resource to all Orthodox families. It is particularly ideal for those Orthodox parents who wish to be able to explore the deeper theological meaning of the familiar daily prayers in order to be able to say them with heartfelt sincerity and understanding themselves, and to enable their children to do the same.
On the back cover it says :
“How then are we meant to find the time to teach them about Christ, Orthodoxy and prayer? Do we know what prayer is? How do we pray?
This book will help unite your family in prayer”
And it succeeds admirably, in my opinion. When I am blessed with grandchildren, each grandchild will receive a copy of this book from me.