Rating: Must read
Level: Quick, easy; over 300 pages, but meant to be spread over 90 readings
This is a 30 day devotional through all the Psalms, with Morning, Midday, and Evening readings, based on the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) and other prayer books. All reading start with a call to prayer, include Psalms, and the Gloria Patri. The Morning and Evening readings are slightly longer and include Confession, Blessing, Canticle, Lord’ Prayer, and what he labels Prayers of the Church, which is a prayer from either the BCP or someone in Church History – Augustine, Luther, etc.
This may be my favorite devotional of all time. At least the format, and prayers, etc. outside of the Psalms; I’m not a huge fan of the CSB Psalms, but it certainly isn’t a bad version (there are worse ones that are far more popular). If you have ever used the BCP, this will be pretty familiar by mixing the Daily Offices (all four – Morning, Midday, Evening, & Compline) with the daily prayer (Psalms), but in a daily devotional format (not reading Psalms, then flipping to various canticles, collects). I really enjoyed Wax’s collection of prayers of the church; it was a solid mix of old, very old, newer, prayer book, and also famous and less known prayers.
If you have never used the BCP, you may want to after this book. Being something of a BCP light, but with just the Psalms and not the full office readings (the whole Bible in a year) is a great introduction. This devotional is also a good way to introduce someone to Psalms readings. Reading through the Psalms monthly dates back hundreds, if not thousands of years, and has been practiced by millions of Christians.
I am more used to the Morning/Evening breakdown, but the Midday was a nice touch, it was shorter than the others, so if I couldn’t get to it at lunch, I’d either read it when I got home from work or add it to the Evening (which I think is shorter than the Morning, but not by much). On average, you read five Psalms a day, so it works to something like a 2-1-2 (though obviously not that nice and easy as sometimes you may read up 9 in a day as in the 140’s, or may spend days in one Psalm, as in 119).
There is no commentary or thoughts written regarding the Psalms, as this follows the prayer book model, which may seem different to those more used to the modern ‘daily devotional’ style. I personally prefer this style, as the ‘daily devotion’ can be hit or miss and oftentimes it seems the author had a short passage in mind before picking a verse (or whichever Psalm, if it is one of the many Psalms devotionals). If you want to keep reading the Psalms, but prefer that style, Keller’s is probably the best and he stretches it to last a whole year. However, the prayer book style has been lost and often it seems daily reading/devotionals have become overly complicated. Martin Luther reportedly told people to say/read a Psalm and then say the Lord’s Prayer and get on with your day. Luckily, we are more literate and have infinitely more access to books/materials than even the richest parishioner from 500 years ago. That doesn’t mean we have to over complicate it, but being able to read all the Psalms (not just recite the few we have memorized from church) and other prayers/confessions is the best of both worlds. If you have any interest in the Psalms or daily prayer, this is a must read. If you already reading the Psalms on a monthly basis, swap this in for a month a year to great benefit.