I’ve been enjoying two books recently, that I’m happy to recommend and giveaway—the ESV Prayer Bible from Crossway and Hope When It Hurts by Kristen Wetherell and Sarah Walton. See below for reviews and giveaway information.
The ESV Prayer Bible
I’ll admit that I’m generally not a fan of new Bible editions, including study Bibles, for the simple reason that I already have more than enough Bibles. And, while I enjoy study notes, commentary, and devotions, I don’t have space on my shelf for more Bibles. (I’d rather just have the notes and commentary in a stand-alone volume to use with an open Bible. But no one asked me.)
So, when Crossway sent me a copy of the ESV Prayer Bible, I expected to be a bit annoyed by it. But, to my surprise, I wasn’t. I think this printing of the Bible has a unique value and promises to help readers in their prayer life.
The Bible includes an introduction by Donald S. Whitney. If I were forced to pick one contribution to Christian spirituality of Whitney’s to highlight, I would choose his emphasis on prayer the Scriptures. This brief introduction offers a summary of how the Bible should inform and shape our prayer life, and how passages of the Bible can and should be turned into prayers. This sets up the rest of the Prayer Bible.
Scattered throughout the ESV Prayer Bible are more than 400 prayers, written by historical Christian figures (including Augustine, Jane Austen, Lady Jane Grey, Martin Luther, and more). These prayers are set in amongst Bible passages that either inspired the prayers or are related by the topic. Two indices allow readers to look up prayers by author or by text. A third index lists the prayers and references to prayer in every book of the Bible.
Those struggling to pray will find this resource helpful. They may simply turn to one of the prayers, read the surrounding Bible text for context and inspiration, and then read the prayer, meditating on it until it becomes their own. Likewise, when used with a bible-reading plan, these prayers pop-up almost once a day as a prayer-prompt.
Hope When It Hurts
Hope When It Hurts is a beautiful little resource in several aspects. The cloth-over-board cover, thick paper, and size make it a delight to hold. You want to engage with this book.
More importantly, the authors offer beautiful content—shared suffering, compassionate perspectives, biblical truth. Wetherell and Walton come alongside their readers as fellow sufferers, both dealing with long-term suffering in their personal lives. Without over-focusing on their own stories, they share appropriately, transparently, and humbly. Without being trite or over-promising immediate relief, they point readers to the hope of the Gospel. Learn more about Kristen and Sarah’s story in this video.
Hope When It Hurts walks through 2 Corinthians 4-5. However, the short, accessible, and well-written chapters (titled by topic) can each stand alone. This allows the reader to pick chapters that apply to immediate circumstances. Each chapter concludes with reflection questions, a prayer, scripture texts for further meditation, and a lined page for journaling.