My Heart in My Mouth: Prayers for Our Lives

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Topics: Spiritual Exploration & Practice. Ages: Adult. Resource Types: Books.

Review & Commentary

One thought on “My Heart in My Mouth: Prayers for Our Lives

  1. Review

    The title of this book is Ted Loder’s definition of prayer. He explains, “From deep within, some plea or question or gladness geysers up to address a presence or power beyond our human limitations. There is an unadorned urgency, honesty, and immediacy about it. It puts your heart in your mouth.” Providentially, I received this book for review about a week before my beloved wife of fifty-eight years died. In the days that followed, I began to pray some of the “Prayers for Our Lives” and found they helped me put the sighs and groans of my heart in my mouth. One in particular, entitled, “Let Me Make Something of This Loss” expressed my pain and strengthened me in the midst of my grief . It begins — “God . . .damn this pain,    this shroud of darkness,        this gaping emptiness,    damn this sneering ache inside,        this death of one I love,            cry for, whisper after,                    can no longer engage. . .            save in the wandering graze            of my too-mortal memory,                and so miss as if life itself                    has withered pale away.The prayer continues at some length wrestling with God, ending:Help me along this long, bumpy, pockmarked road to glory.    I passionately hope my loved one watches for me there.        My hope is rooted in your promise.            Let it carry me with you                 Through the long days                     and nights ahead.And now, Mother and Father of us all,    Grace to help me fold my frantic, weary wings         beneath your enfolding, eternal ones,             and rest there in peace this night,as my loved one rests eternally in you. Amen. The Rev. Dr. Theodore W. Loder, was, for over thirty seven years, senior minister of the First United Methodist Church of Germantown in Philadelphia, an ethnically mixed congregation committed to the pursuit of artistic endeavors, political activism, and social justice. The National Observer named him as “One of America’s Outstanding Creative Preachers.” His book is divided into the following sections: Prayers of Invocation, Prayers of Praise, Prayers of Thanksgiving, Prayers of Confession, Prayers of Petition, Prayers of Reflection, Pastoral Prayers, Prayers of Dedication, Prayers for Special Occasions, Narrative Prayers and Personal Prayers. His prayers always meet the following self-imposed criteria: (I) how far does our prayer “take us into that urgent, honest and immediate experience at the heart of prayer. Does the prayer honestly put our hearts in our mouths?” and (2) does our prayer “discern those shocking, amazing things God is doing with and among us now rather than only referring us to past deeds? Does the prayer gather up, discern, and interpret our experiences in honest, relevant ways?” This criteria is important because, he emphasizes, “prayer is about imagining things that really are there in our experience and helping us imagine them, trust them, engage them as the gracious mysteries they are.” Loder has been called a “modern day psalmist.” His prayers are responses to the dimensions of depth we all encounter on our journey, interpreted in the light of the amazing grace of God. I commend this wondrous book as a gift to yourself and to as many others as you can afford!

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