Richard Bansemer has thought a lot about prayer. His O Lord, Teach Me to Pray, a catechetical prayer book based on Luther’s catechism and published in 1995 has been the ALPB’s single best-selling book. His We Believe, a prayer book for adults based on the Augsburg Confession, has been used by thousands of individuals in study groups and personally. Bansemer, a retired bishop of the ELCA’s Virginia Synod, knows that praying the psalms or the prayers of the church at worship or prayers based on the Catechism or the Confessions can help us grow into the kind of people who order their lives by God’s priorities. But in this newer volume, he approaches prayer from a different angle and looks at the prayer of the person who finds himself in difficult circumstances, with a heavy burden thrust upon him, and literally forced to pray by what has befallen him. He examines the lives and prayers of 5 persons in the Bible — Jonah, Job, Mary, Jesus and Paul — and considers how God might likewise drive us to pray by choosing us for some “hard heavenly work on earth.”
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