Customer Reviews: Seeking God's Face: Praying with the Bible Through the Year, Compact Edition
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on December 21, 2010
This is one of the best resources for anyone looking to explore the ancient Christian tradition of daily prayer (sometimes known as the Daily Office). Most prayer books are either dauntingly complex (for example, the four volumes of the Roman Catholic Liturgy of the Hours) or overly simplified. The latter are great for a brief while, but don't give enough variation and depth to keep you engaged in the long term.

"Seeking God's Face" hits the perfect midpoint. Philip Reinders, the editor, has done a terrific job of presenting prayer that follows the rich variety of the church year - the seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter and so on - in an accessible and easy-to-use format.

Perhaps the greatest single bit of genius in the book is the little sidebars on each page giving dates to guide you through the church year until the end of 2026. You could pray this book for fifteen years without ever having to know anything more than today's date. Anyone who's ever used a prayer book will know what a boon this is!

Each day's prayer is split into seven sections: (i) Invitation - a short introductory verse; (ii) Bible Song - a section from one of the Psalms; (iii) Bible Reading - just what it says; (iv) Dwelling - an encouragement to richer engagement with the reading; (v) Free Prayer - three possible prayer themes to stimulate your own prayer; (vi) Prayer - a short prayer (see below on this); and (vii) Blessing - another brief Bible verse.

The whole book is great, but the Prayer for each day - section vi, which in liturgical tradition would be called the Collect - deserves special mention. Reinders,a Reformed pastor, has mined six of the great Reformed statements of faith such as the Canons of Dort or the Westminster Confession and turned their somewhat dry formulae (at least, they seem that way to me!) into beautiful and poetic prayers. I just opened the book at random, and here's an example from the page I found (205):

"God of glory, for centuries there were flickers of it in the ceremonies and symbols of the law, sparks of it in prophetic words. I thank you that all this foreshadowing is eclipsed in the brilliance of Jesus, my glorious Savior. Amen."

The abbreviated note after the prayer, BC 25, tells us that this prayer is based on Article 25 of the Belgic Confession. In case you don't have your copy of BC to hand (grin!), I googled it for you:

"We believe that the ceremonies and symbols of the law have ended with the coming of Christ, and that all foreshadowings have come to an end, so that the use of them ought to be abolished among Christians. Yet the truth and substance of these things remain for us in Jesus Christ, in whom they have been fulfilled. Nevertheless, we continue to use the witnesses drawn from the law and prophets to confirm us in the gospel and to regulate our lives with full integrity for the glory of God, according to his will."

You can see how the prayer comes from the Confession - but, at least for this Anglican who doesn't find the language of the Reformed confessions all that inspiring, I'll take the prayer any day of the week.

All in all, a lovely book. I really can't find anything about it I don't like; even the engraved leather-like cover is attractive and a pleasure to hold, and that's always nice in a book you're handling daily. This isn't a book for the hard-core Office freaks; you won't find a seven-fold monastic office here. But for a new Christian, or a beginner at Daily Prayer, or someone who needs a simple but rich Office to pray, or for a community of folks who pray together daily, this could well be ideal. I spent around fifteen years working in Anglican parishes, and I wish this book had been available then. I would've bought one for every parishioner...
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on July 14, 2011
I've read a lot of devotional books in my life! I've been coached, lead, told and preached at about how I should spend my time with God. Honestly, a lot of what I learned left me feeling oppressed rather than filled with life. I found "Seeking God's Face" at my annual conference this past June and it has overwhelmed me! This is not just daily immersion in Scripture, but its done in such a way that gives life and brings challenge. Since I've started reading this daily gem, I've shared it with everyone I've met. If you're looking for more than a scripture reading, but an opportunity to let the scriptures really affect you and be read by them, this is the tool!
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on March 24, 2011
Love this book. It is small enough to take anywhere; do not need to juggle bible, devotional etc. Also like the fact that everything is on two facing pages for the day, no need to flip back and forth.
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on March 30, 2013
I had pretty much given up on 'devotional' materials. Often they have 1-2 verses then lots of someones thoughts on it. This resource follows the lectionary scripture readings for the year. So everyday I get to read scripture with brothers and sister around the world who follow the lectionary. It is almost all scripture with space recommended to reflect and prayer. And it crafts prayers for you to pray taken from some of the historic Reformed Christian documents (Heidelberg, Belgic, Westminster, etc) which I have REALLY loved. So in short, this is the best devotional book I have ever owned.
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on February 7, 2015
I love this devotional. However, the Kindle edition is very hard to navigate. If you try to use the daily devotional but miss a day or two, you can't jump to the right day. You have to go through each page of material. When you come to annual liturgical celebrations like Christmas, the material is not chronological. You have search to and guess, really, how to find the devotionals. A simple table of contents to let you access material by month and year would be a huge improvement.
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on November 26, 2015
This book was "OK." The Psalms were well-represented. Other passages are spotty - many are skipped. I didn't find the prayers that accompanied the passages all that inspiring. They are very male-centric. If you are inspired by the "tried and true" of the more conservative spiritual practice, this book may be for you. You definitely won't find modern language or metaphors within. It could have been as easily written in the 1800's as 2010.
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on March 10, 2012
This prayer guide has been the best prayer and meditation help! I am so thankful that a friend recommended this just before Christmas. My new year has been so much richer with a more steady diet of personal, daily reading and prayer.
The OT and NT readings are so well chosen and placed. The daily reminder to re-read and meditate has been a help to slow down and wait. The kingdom centered prayer is a great guide, and the suggested prayer always takes me to a deeper place than I would have gotten to on my own.
I highly recommend! (And I'm a pastor's wife.) :)
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on May 15, 2015
This is an excellent guide to help you get deeper in the scriptures. I have used this continually over the last couple of years and it never gets old like some of the other devotionals. The historical content for the holidays is very good but the bet thing about this guide is that it gives examples on praying the script. This type of praying opens us up the Holy Spirit to speak to you and guide you through the day. Get this book!!!
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on September 29, 2014
This little prayer book is magical. Not in the abra-cadabra, pixie-dust sparkles sense of magic, but often when I read the day's scriptures and prayers, I find them to be just exactly what I needed that day. So this makes me magically WANT to read it every day!! Not only am I reading the Bible, I'm also praying and enjoying a conversation with God every day with the guidance of these daily readings.

This book flows out of the ancient practice of praying the daily office, which structured the rhythm of the day around several fixed prayer times. As such, the daily readings include both scripture and prayer. But rather than several times a day, there is one reading for each day. So, you pick the time of day that suits you, and enjoy the daily reading. The daily readings include different elements: an invitation to God's presence, times of quiet, Scripture passages (always a psalm, old testament and new testament passages), free prayer suggestions, a set prayer, and a closing blessing.

There is a daily reading for every day of the year. When you reach the last day's reading, you start again at the beginning. So the dates listed for each reading include every day through the year 2025! I'm in my second yearly cycle of these readings, and while I remember some of them, I'm amazed how re-reading reveals a whole different layer of meaning. So in this instance, I find that the the yearly repetition of the scripture and prayers enriches the experience of every reading.

This format, for me, really does spark a conversation with God. I sit and quietly enjoy God's presence, I read scripture and pray about what strikes me from the passages, I read a common prayer and am sent off with a blessing. It's a wonderful time of devotion.

I first heard about this book from the blog of Richard Dahlstrom (rain city pastor) who suggested it as a good tool to facilitate daily Bible reading. It has indeed transformed my prayer time from something I felt I should do to something I do do, and enjoy doing, every day. Wonderful!!
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on April 3, 2013
This is a great devotional in that it gives lots of Scripture and asks you to meditate on that. There's not thoughts from the author on what you should glean from the reading. The only author-added words are suggestions for topics to pray for (ie - growth in personal holiness, our national and local leaders, etc). He also adds a prayer at the end of each devotion which I have found to be meaningful.

I really appreciate how this book sets you up well to pray and meditate on Gods word and spend time hearing God speak through it. It's really one of the best devotional books I've read.

Each reading takes between 5-10 minutes to go through but all depends on how long you like to read and meditate on the passages. I use this book in my own personal devotions as well as in group meetings at work and at church. It works well in both settings.
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