I was recently mailed a copy of the new Ancient Faith Publishing prayer book, The Ancient Faith PRAYER BOOK compiled by Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou. Much has already been said about the language style that was chosen for the prayers, so I will be brief in my summary of this detail. If you are one who prefers “Thy” and “Thine,” then this book is not for thee. While a few have argued that the use of a more modern English ruins the formality of prayer, I have only to say that it is my humble belief that this misses the point to prayer. While my favorite prayer book that I have run across is the Old Ritualist prayer book from an Old Believer church in Erie, PA, this is a great copy, especially for beginners and those new to an Orthodox prayer rule, helped in my opinion by the modern language.
Now that I have addressed the most common issue with the prayer book, I will simply point out that the contents are wonderful. The prayers themselves have been truncated lightly. By this I mean that you will not find the full length morning prayers found in the Jordanville, for example. But for those who are short on time or again, who are new to the Orthodox style of prayer, this is no problem. The prayer book contains the common morning, afternoon, mealtime, and evening prayers, as well as those for pre- and post-communion, and confession.
What I really like about this prayer book is the added little prayers for random occasions. My wife is a doula, so I was very pleased to find prayers for pregnant women, for a woman undergoing a difficult labor, and for the husband and wife after the birth of their child. Also included are prayers for beginning and ending work, for those who are sick, and many other prayers for certain occasions. Some of these can be found in other prayer books, but the compilation here I find to be very pleasant.
Another nice touch is the addition of prayers of the Saints, including Aidan of Lindisfarne, the breastplate of St. Patrick, and a personal favorite right now is the prayers of St John Chrysostom for every hour of the day.
Again, if you are one to value a rigorous prayer rule or an older English language, I would shy away from this prayer book as your go to. But for travel or the need for a shortened prayer time, I recommend this book. This is also a great copy to give to those who are new to the Church, as it will be a great introduction to the beauty that can be found in the prayer life of the Orthodox.
Simply put, this is a great addition for anybody to have in their prayer corners.
Jared Hall is a convert to Orthodoxy and a struggling sinner. He is married to a wonderful, natural-minded, woman and together with their two toddler boys, they are trying to make sense of this world. For this reason he chose St Brendan as his patron. He is a blue collar libertarian and passionate about birth rights, raising backyard chickens, a good scotch, and great conversations. You can follow him on Facebook and Instagram.