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Saturday, October 31, 2015

"The Pastor at Prayer" by Kraus and Kinnaman. A Review

The Pastor at Prayer - Revised EditionThe Pastor at Prayer - Revised Edition by George Kraus
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Years ago, when I was first ordained, I found myself in a quandary. For 20 years as an Air Force enlisted man I was used to a high-tempo mission, one that was constantly focused on churning out quality and quantity in a hurry. Then I retired, finished seminary, and was ordained in the Presbyterian Church in America. The pastoral and ecclesiastical tempo was different, more simplified, and slower-paced. I fretted that I wasn’t doing enough and that I was missing something terribly important. A friend came to my rescue, pointing me to the primo pastoral mission statement espoused by the apostolic band in the early days of their ministry. When confronted with the predicament of widows being neglected they wisely held to their prime directive, “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4). Prayer and the ministry of the word! I could easily get swamped in all kinds of busy-ness and bustle, but our main focus as ministers and purveyors of the Gospel is on prayer and the ministry of the word. Since then I have been frequently on the look-out for resources and utensils that I, as a pastor, can use for my own spiritual nurture and the enhancement of my piety. Recently I ran across “The Pastor at Prayer: A Pastor’s Daily Prayer and Study Guide”. It was originally put together by George Kaus, and revised by Scot A. Kinnaman. This 280 page hardback is manageable in its size and suitable for its purpose. The goal is to aid a man of God in sticking to the primary foundation of his vocation, prayer and the ministry of the word!

The six sections of “The Pastor at Prayer” follow the pattern of a week of Scripture reading and prayer. It expands into the ecclesiastical year for special days and seasons, as well as charting a course through the lectionary used by the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Each day has a long prayer, short prayer and liturgical prayer, which can easily turn the prayer guide into a three-week cycle of prayers. In addition to these main prayers there is an opening prayer of commitment, prayer of confession, and affirmation of faith and praise. There is also a collect, or the prayer for the week, and finally each day ends with Luther guiding the praying pastor through one of the petitions in the Lord’s Prayer sequentially.

“The Pastor at Prayer” initially looks daunting for those not used to the feel of a daily office. I applied sticky-tabs to section off the days of the week, the lectionary, and the seasonal propers, making it easier for me to find my way around. With a little additional use it will become an even more functional friend and director in word and prayer. If you’re a pastor serious about your charge of prayer and the ministry of the word, and yet find yourself in need of some structure or support, I seriously recommend this book.


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