Over the recent months, prayer books have become my constant companion in my devotions and prayer time. Some of my most-loved prayer books are the Valley of Vision and Piercing Heaven—which are purely Puritan prayers—and the famous Anglican liturgy book, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. These books are very helpful especially at times when I am left with no words to say in prayer. Just recently, I came across a modern prayer book called Every Moment Holy, written by Douglas Kaine McKelvey. It is extraordinary and life-changing!
Every Moment Holy is a two-volume prayer book that brings new liturgies for the ordinary events of daily life. From laundering and gardening to consuming media and even for the loss of electricity—these books have a prayer for every event of every day, hence, the title. Reminding us that our lives are full of sacred purpose even when, especially when, we are too busy or too caught up in our busyness to notice.
Every Moment Holy can be used in a multitude of ways. Some liturgies are meant to be read by a “Leader” and the “People,” as in a traditional liturgical service or responsive reading. Some are intended for personal use, either read silently or aloud. Some contain multiple speaking parts for use in a group (such as the members of a wedding party). Some prayers are written with the intent of daily or routine recitation. Others are for use on special, memorable, difficult, or even tragic occasions.
The collection of prayers is vast. The first volume contains liturgies for the ordinary events of daily life – like prayers for stargazing, arriving at the ocean, even for changing diapers! This book is a much-needed wake-up call to us to slow down and encounter the presence of God. While the second volume contains liturgies for seasons of dying and grieving – liturgies such as “A Liturgy for the Scattering of Ashes” or “A Liturgy for the Loss of a Spouse” or “A Liturgy for the Wake of a National Tragedy.” In our world plagued with the pandemic, these prayers are needed and relevant more than ever before.
Physically wise, the books are stunning and well-constructed. They are literally beautiful inside and out. The pages are smyth-sewn with gold-gilded edges, bound in a leather-over-board cover. The paper is cream and highly opaque and the texts are very readable. I love that the pages are not fully maximized with text. Each page has very spacious margins on all sides—leaving plenty of room for you to write down your own prayers and reflections. The books are also filled with fantastic illustrations made by graphic designer and printmaker Ned Bustard.
Reading through the pages of these books awaken in me a deeper sense of gratitude, awe, and wonder to our God who ordains everything that happens in our lives. Every split second, moment, hour is decreed by Him in His power and genius. Every Moment Holy reminded me of Saint Paul’s admonition to the Corinthians to do all things for the glory of God, whether eating or drinking (1 Corinthians 10:31). At the same time, it saddens me thinking of those times I wasn’t a good steward of time, and how few and shallow my prayers are.
I was blown away by how deep, well-written, and profound the collection of prayers found in Every Moment Holy. Yet at the same time, I find them to be very accessible, truthful, and relatable. It contains liturgies for moments I didn’t know words can be found and be expressed in prayer—times I didn’t know were good opportunities to pray. After all, any time is a perfect time to pray. Words are just really hard to find sometimes. Those are the instances where we can get the most out of books like this.
Every Moment Holy is life-changing. It gave me more awareness of my time—how precious and sacred it is—and to be more accountable with it. In the busyness of life and the tyranny of the urgent, time can really easily slip by without us noticing it. Every Moment Holy calls us to pause and pray—and see how it changes everything. I cannot recommend this highly enough!
Disclosure: A review copy of Every Moment Holy was provided for review by The Rabbit Room, from whom you may purchase a copy.