Friday, April 30, 2010

First Fruits of Prayer: A Forty Day Journey Through the Canon of St. Andrew

Paraclete Press sent me a complimentary copy of The First Fruits of Prayer by Frederica Mathewes-Green. Overall, the book is an excellent devotional resource that would be particularly suited for the Lenten season. The bulk of the book is a lengthy prayer called "The Canon of St. Andrew" which has been divided up into forty sections by Frederica Matthews-Green. The Canon of St. Andrew is a prayer of repentance. It works its way through lots of Old and New Testament material. The prayer puts the one praying in his proper place--as the chief of sinners. The author provides lots of very helpful commentary--showing what passages of Scripture are being alluded to and what the prayer means in certain sections. There is also a short section at the end of each chapter that gives the reader something to think about in relation to the section. The book concludes with a short biography of St. Mary of Egypt.

I will add just a couple of caveats. The prayer does call upon various saints to intercede. However, the reader can easily make minor changes to the prayer to avoid this. While we receive no promise in Scripture that the saints hear our prayers we do receive the promise in Scripture that the saints do pray for us.

Also, the reader should keep in mind that Frederica Matthews-Green is a convert from Western Protestantism to Eastern Orthodoxy and on a few rare occasions it seems like she has an ax to grind and is emphasizing something in her notes that the prayer itself does not. The notes deny any kind of forensic salvation based on a particular section in the prayer that is not speaking of salvation forensically. However, later on in the prayer, the prayer does speak of salvation forensically.

Also, the introduction perpetuates the false notion that Martin Luther removed the Apocryphal books from the Bible and that all the Protestants after him followed suit. Martin Luther did question the authority of these books but he included them in his translation of the Bible as did Protestants until the late 1800's.

No comments: