I thought I would show you how this book of prayers could be used alongside The Bible Retold – the two books can be read independently, of course, but I hope you will see that they could be quite helpful, powerful even, read together. I am drawing some examples from the second chapter. In the retelling, this chapter covers most of the well known stories from the later part of the Bible book of Genesis
The story opens with Abram setting out on a journey, called away from all he had known before. The prayers focus on our new beginnings, on uncertain ways, on “Life’s journey”.
From The Bible Story Retold:
Abraham took one last look behind him at the great city of Ur, with its narrow, crowded streets, and cool buildings made of hard-baked mud. It was his birthplace, but it would no longer be his home. His father was leaving for the distant land of Canaan, and Abraham was going with him. So they set off, with Abraham’s wife Sarah, who was childless, and his nephew Lot, who was an orphan. When they had travelled as far as Haran, they stopped and settled: their dreams of reaching Canaan fading with the passing years.
“Get up! It’s time to go!” God said to Abraham.
From Prayers and Verses:
As Abraham set off for an unknown land, so we begin each day, and each journey, knowing you are with us. Bless us on our way, and make us a blessing to those we meet.
Dear God, Help me to ﬁnd the right way to go, even though the gate to it be narrow, and the path difﬁcult to walk.
As the retelling of Genesis continues, we encounter squabbles and rivalry, deceit and betrayal in the families whose story we are following. The prayers turn to our own families, how we can live together with love, peacefully.
From The Bible Story Retold:
Esau boiled with anger against his brother. He fumed and stormed among the tents. “As soon as my father is dead, Jacob will be a dead man, too!” he roared. Rebecca heard him, and urged Jacob to flee to his uncle Laban’s lands. Isaac blessed him again before he left, and told him to find a wife among his Laban’s family.
He went alone, travelling until it was dark. Shivering in the chill of a desert night, he took a stone for a pillow, and lay down to sleep. As Jacob slept, a dream came to him. He saw a ladder, with its feet on the ground, stretching up and up to heaven. In his dream, he watched as God’s bright angels travelled up and down it between heaven and earth. And in his dream, God himself was there.
From Prayers and Verses
Help us, like Jacob, dream of angels.
Help us, wherever we wake,
know that you are there, too.
Help us to see with new eyes.
I give thanks for the people who are my home: we share a place to shelter; we share our food; we share our times of work and play and rest.
May we provide one another with love, encouragement, respect, and wisdom: through laughter and celebration, through tears and troubled times.
May we be to one another roof and walls, ﬂoor and hearth, windows and doors.
Give us the courage
to overcome anger
I hope these extracts give you a little flavour of how the stories can flow into prayers.
If it helps, please do use them, saying where they are from.