Prayers for the Pilgrimage: A Book of Collects for All of Life – W. David O. Taylor and Phaedra Taylor

Prayers for the Pilgrimage: A Book of Collects for All of Life by W. David O. Taylor
Published by InterVarsity Press on June 4, 2024
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life, Devotional
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Prayers for every aspect of life

During the pandemic, priest and theologian David Taylor began writing collects (an ancient form of short prayer) as a daily spiritual exercise. It was a way for him to offer back to God his own fears and anxieties. As time went on, he began to receive requests for written prayers from friends and even strangers for a wide variety of circumstances and needs. His collection of prayers grew until it numbered in the hundreds.

Prayers for the Pilgrimage is a compilation of Taylor's prayers, arranged by topic and accompanied by a series of paintings by his wife, Phaedra. Here are prayers for morning and evening, work and play, public life and private life, doubt and faith—from Advent to Lent, from birth to death.

The Christian faith invites us to pray all of our lives back to God, lest we begin to believe that there is any part of our lives that God doesn't see or isn't interested in seeing. Prayers for the Pilgrimage gives us not only specific prayers but also a model for understanding our whole lives as prayer.

This book of written prayers engages with topics from everyday life, reflecting lots of different concerns and common requests to God. In the introduction, W. David O. Taylor describes his experience writing daily prayers throughout the pandemic, and he explains the history and structure of collect prayers, showing how people can use this traditional approach to express their needs to God. He also explains some of the different emphases throughout the book, acknowledging the subjective nature of many of his selections and answering some questions that readers might have. There is also a brief appendix with instructions for writing your own collect prayers.

People can read through this book in order, flip through to find something that resonates, or consult the detailed table of contents to find a prayer on a particular topic. The organizing themes throughout this book include topics like prayers for secular and church holidays, prayers for birth and death, prayers for joy and sorrow, prayers for work, prayers for world issues, and prayers for mundane life. Because each prayer is so brief, there is room for a vast variety of topics, and people in any stage of life will be able to find prayers that resonate with their experiences, helping them express their needs to God and recognize His care for all of our everyday moments. The book also includes watercolor paintings from Phaedra Taylor, the author’s wife. This nature-inspired artwork is beautiful and calming, and it makes the book even more special.

Prayers for the Pilgrimage: A Book of Collects for All of Life is an excellent book for people from church traditions that regularly use written prayers, and it is also a great introduction for Christians who are less familiar with this form of talking to God. Some prayers reflect the author’s personal opinions more than others, and as he acknowledges at the beginning, not all of these prayers will be relevant to everyone. Still, the prayers are elegant and well-written without ever feeling pretentious, the artwork is beautiful, and the book feels honest and true from beginning to end. This is a wonderful source of comforting prayers, and a helpful model for readers who want to begin creating their own prayers in this style.