I am excited today to introduce you to a beautiful and phenomenal resource, Every Moment Holy. The book is an excellent cross between John Baillie’s classic A Diary of Private Prayer and Tish Harrison Warren’s Liturgy Of the Ordinary. Andrew Peterson wrote the foreword for the book, which highlights some of his journey:
Several years ago some good friends gave me a book. The fact that they gave me a book and not a gift card is evidence of our friendship, because my love language is books.
The book I received was Scottish minister John Baillie’s A Diary of Private Prayer, and it not only reminds me fondly of those friends, but it represents my earliest realization that I need help praying.
Growing up in a nondenominational church in the American south, I was suspicious of anything that could be described as liturgical, assuming as many do that prayer should be extemporaneous and “from the heart,” and anything less was in danger of becoming rote at best and ritualistic at worst. Baillie’s book is arranged into morning and evening prayers for each day of the month, plus special prayers for Sundays. Our family tried them hesitantly at first, but soon found ourselves reaching for the book more and more, in the end treasuring it so much that I bought copies and gave them to friends.
If you come from a liturgical tradition you may find it surprising that I was so surprised by all this; it may be perfectly obvious to you that there’s a good reason certain prayers have survived for centuries. But the fact is, there are millions of Christians the world over, for a host of reasons, who have never engaged in liturgical worship. For many of us, this old thing is a new thing, and that brings with it some discomfort—but also a heightened appreciation for the ancient rhythms of prayer and meditation which have been more or less absent from our experience.
And as much as we may need this new (to us) language for prayer, those who grew up with it may also need our fresh enthusiasm for it to remind them what a profound gift it is to speak these ancient tongues, not just to know but to be reminded by all the saints how wide, high, deep and broad is the love of God in Christ. It is through this great cloud of witnesses that the Lord is teaching us to pray.
I, like Andrew Peterson, was raised in a tradition that, while emphasizing prayer and discipleship, did not value the kind of liturgy shown in this book. I have already been challenged and encouraged by the prayers in this book and plan to continue using this book and encouraging my family to join me as well. Every Moment Holy was produced and published by The Rabbit Room:
The Rabbit Room was conceived as an experiment in creative community. After author/singer/songwriter Andrew Peterson visited the Oxford home of C.S. Lewis, he returned to Nashville with a conviction that community nourishes good and lasting work. The Rabbit Room, the name of the back room of the pub where the Oxford Inkings (including Lewis, Tolkien, and Charles Williams) shared their stories, began as a simple blog of contributing authors, songwriters, artists, and pastors.
Over the years, the Rabbit Room has grown to include podcasts, a thriving music and book store, Rabbit Room Press, a yearly conference called Hutchmoot, the singer-songwriter series The Local Show, and an office in a 150-year-old farmhouse called North Wind Manor.
Here is a trailer where Andrew Peterson describes the genesis of this project. Douglas McKelvey, the writer of these liturgies, also shares his thoughts as to why he would work on such a project and why he chose Rabbit Room as the publisher:
Every Moment Holy is divided into a few different categories, though the author is quick to say these categories should be considered only as guidelines. The categories include liturgies of the hours, liturgies of labor & vocation, liturgies of creation & recreation, liturgies of blessing & celebration, liturgies of petition & provision, liturgies of sorrow & lament, liturgies of the moment, and liturgies for table blessings. Here’s an excerpt from their liturgy for fiction writers:
Lord, let me love the reader, ever writing for their good, writing words that might, in the employ of your Spirit, bring life and hope and conviction. And when I have written lines that are but my own vain ramblings, or when I am too enamored of my own cleverness, grant me the humility and the courage to make the hard choices, to amputate my own ego. Reveal these deficiencies to me before I send my words out into the world, that I might not add to the noise. But if I do, may it please you by your grace to turn my darkness to light so that even the fruits of my pride and insecurity would be redeemed for the good of your people and the furtherance of your kingdom and the glory of your name.
As if the physical resource was not great enough, the publishers have made available some of the liturgies and beautiful illustrations online. You can download some of the liturgies here, as well as purchase prints of the stunning illustrations from the book.
Thanks for Rabbit Room Press for providing a complimentary copy of Every Moment Holy for my review. I heartily recommend this fine resource for your church and/or for your individual use.
Click here to purchase your own copy of Every Moment Holy from Rabbit Room Press.
Image Credit: Doug McKelvey