Book: Prayers and Litanies for the Christian Seasons

Sharlande Sledge. Macon, Georgia: Smyth & Helwys Publishing, Inc. 1999. 144 pp. $16.00. 1-800-747-3016;

The prayers and litanies in this book, according to Barbara Brown Taylor’s back cover copy, are “biblically sound, theologically deep, and spiritually fresh.” I found them so, and also found them enjoyable to read—also to read aloud. Sledge has a fine sense for how words sound when they’re spoken. There is a fresh, open feeling to these worship aids. They have form without formality, and the diction is sophisticated but not cerebral. Worship planners will also appreciate the helpful arrangement of material, organized first by season (Advent, Christmas, and so on) and then by appropriate theme (the last six prayers in the Epiphany season are Reconciliation, Revelation, Seeking, Water, Winter, Wonder).

Ron Rienstra is associate professor of preaching and worship arts at Western Theological Seminary and co-author of Worship Words: Discipling Language for Faithful Ministry (Baker Academic, 2009).