Endless Grace: Prayers Inspired By The Psalms, Ryan Whitaker Smith & Dan Wilt. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2023.
Summary: Prayers in free verse inspired, psalm by psalm, from Psalm 76 to Psalm 150, responding with ideas from the whole of scripture as well as literature.
Endless Grace, covering Psalm 76 to Psalm 150 is the companion volume to Sheltering Mercy, prayerful responses to Psalm 1 to Psalm 75. This is a gem of devotional literature! What the writers have done is to render prayers of response for each of the psalms. These are not paraphrases. Rather, what the writers have done in free verse is to write prayers drawing upon the whole of scripture as well as references from literature and The Book of Common Prayer that connect to the themes of the psalm. Where they do so, they provide footnotes citing the relevant biblical or other text.
One of my favorite psalms is Psalm 127. Here is Psalm 127 in The New International Version:
A song of ascents. Of Solomon.
1 Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain.
2 In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
for he grants sleep to[a] those he loves.
3 Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him.
4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
5 Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their opponents in court.
Here is the rendering of Psalm 127 by the authors:
PSALM 127 LORD OF THIS HOUSE ------------ Who is our head and host? Christ, Lord of the Feast. Who watches over us? Christ, our stronghold and refuge. Who grants us peace? Christ, our Eternal Sabbath. Who is the giver of life? Christ, in whom all the families of the earth are blessed. Who is King over this house? Christ, who loved us and gave Himself up for us-- who call us His own.
The center justification of the verse reflects the format used throughout these psalms and, for this reader allowed meditative reflection on each phrase.
As evident in Psalm 127, the writers draw upon the full redemptive arc of the biblical material, praying these psalms through the eyes of Christ, or a Christ-centered perspective. Custom artwork throughout complements the text and the book is hardbound, allowing for many seasons of devotional use. I found this not only a way to read the Psalms with fresh eyes but to pray with fresh words.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers Program.
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