GUERILLAS OF GRACE: Prayers for the Battle. By Ted Loder.
GUERILLAS OF GRACE: Prayers for the Battle. By Ted Loder. Minneapolis: Augsburg Books, 2005. 142 pages. Paper. $14.99.
Reviewed by Henry Rowold
Admittedly, the Concordia Journal doesn’t often offer books five years old for review. Even more striking, this is a 20th anniversary edition, which makes it 25 years old. One of the things that gives a somewhat timeless nature to the book, however, is not only that it is a book of prayers, but that author Ted Loder (Methodist pastor) has a unique ability to phrase these prayers in words that combine striking elegance with earthy, physical directness.
Loder begins with a helpful reflection on prayer: “God’s grace operates in the world quite independently of us. Prayer is one way of attempting to focus on grace, to pay attention to it, to praise it” (15). This perspective gives context to the subtitle he gives the book—prayer as a worldview and an agenda often at odds with prevailing cultural values. Loder also helpfully distinguishes urgent, spontaneous prayer driven by and focused on immediate concerns from the elegantly crafted (and formatted) prayers in this book, offered as focus for devotional reflection in addition to usage as prayers.
Loder provides prayers under themes of quietness and listening, thanks and praise, unburdening and confession, comfort and reassurance, restoration and renewal, commitment and change, and seasons and holidays. Each of the prayers is more reflective and expressive than the one before. The impact of these prayers on this reviewer is comparable to the impact of the prayers of Kierkegaard or Quoist.
There is one “wish he would have.” As much as the content, imagery, and theological base of the prayers are clearly immersed in and expressive of the gracious deeds of our Lord, there is a strange reluctance to root the praying itself in the name of Jesus Christ. Since Loder does not address that, it is unfair to project reasons why.
That caveat aside, these prayers/meditations are treasures of spiritual richness and devotional depth.