Review: Common Prayer

Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals

Authors: Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrive, Enuma Okoro

Hardcover: 590 pages

Publisher: Zondervan

ISBN: 978-0-310-32619-9



When I requested this from Zondervan, I had it in my mind that it was something other than a One Year Daily Office.  But that isn’t always a bad thing.  When I requested this book. I was working on a youth retreat centered around the daily office.  I was looking for something with a history of the daily office and thought this might have something.  Unfortunately, it did not, but this is still a useful book to have around.I have several One, Two, and Three Year Prayer Books.  This one will make a great addition to my collection.

There are three main orders of prayer in this book: Evening Prayer, Morning Prayer, and Midday Prayer.  Morning Prayer makes up the majority of this book.  Reading come from the Old and New Testament with verses from the Psalms added into the liturgy.  Depending on the day, there might be a reading from the works of one of the many Christian saints (not to be confused with Saints, although the are represented) or a reading about the day from history (The reading for 9/11 mentions the terrorist attacks on that day).  Evening Prayer revolves around a weekly cycle (Sunday-Saturday).  Midday Prayer is the same every day.  Not really much I can say about them other than not all prayer books have a Midday or Evening Prayer, so this is a excellent feature.  There is also an Occasional Prayers section.  There are liturgies for House Blessings, Life Transitions, Adoptions, and many other times when a prayer would be appropriate.

At the beginning of each month is a short reflection on the Marks of New Monasticism along with some recommended reading for the month.  Also scattered throughout the book are sections that are set apart from the daily readings.  These might include a reflection on Advent or Lent, or a brief reflection on Confession.

Finally, there is a Songbook.  This was the feature that I liked the best.  Some prayer books have the chanted part in them, but not all do.  I recognized some of the hymns, but not all.  I’m not musically talented, so it’s not a help to me, but, the feature will come in handy for many others.

Overall, I was fairly impressed with the book.  I have been using the Morning Prayer as a part of my devotional time at work.  The one thing that I saw that I would want to push the authors on was why they chose to overlook the traditional definition of liturgy as “the work of the people.”  They instead opted for the definition of “public worship.”


I received this book free from Zondervan. Providing me a free copy in no way guarantees a favorable review. The opinions expresses in this review are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


2 thoughts on “Review: Common Prayer

  1. Thanks for adding your review of this book. Daily prayer is still new to this Pentecostal-turned-Progressive UCC Christian but my soul really hungers for it. As progressive as it is, I wish it was been a bit more expansive language. It seems daily prayer can’t be found without Lord and Father throughout.

    I want to lead a class at my church studying and writing Daily Prayer. Would you share the titles of some of your favorite books of Daily Prayer (even if they aren less than completely expansive language)?

    Be well

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