Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Earth Afire With God: Celtic Prayers for Ordinary Life (Book Review)

This little book from the editors of Anamchara Books contains several dozen short, sweet prayers.  Some are modernized versions of ancient prayers collected and published at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, while others were written by the editors themselves.

Three things struck me about this collection.   First, it emphasizes God's presence in the natural world, a welcome aspect of Celtic Christianity.  Second, it doesn't shirk from applying the gentle grace of prayer to contemporary life; there's a prayer to the God of the Internet!  (Nothing about texting, though.) And third, many of the prayers take the form of litanies, with a repetitive lilt that would be appealing for simple, ordinary moments, whether those spent alone or those in which community gathers.

I would caution potential readers that a few of the prayers center on Celtic festivals, such as Imbolc (the Feast of St. Brigid) and Samhain (the Celtic New Year), which might disturb those sensitive to pagan echoes or Wiccan overtones.

That said, I think that in this era of renewed interest in Celtic Christianity, this slim volume would make a lovely gift in honor of a new home, a new baby, or any event in which grateful attentiveness to God is called for.


I received a pdf version of this book ~ and nothing else ~  from the publisher, and offered no guarantees in return.


  1. Hmmm.... This looks like one I'd be interested in.

  2. I think it's funny (not in a ha-ha way) when Christians get offended by prayers or echoes of our past.

    It is our past. We must all really come to terms with the presence of pagan elements as well as Greek philosophic influences, and the fact that Jesus was a Jew! :)

    I feel blessed that this particular offense is not one I have to struggle with. Instead I am overjoyed to find myself swimming in Celtic prayers, or Spanish pageantry, or Greek prototypes.

    Lucky us.