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A Book of Uncommon Prayer: 100 Celebrations of the Miracle & Muddle of the Ordinary

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  236 ratings  ·  57 reviews
Acclaimed, award-winning essayist and novelist Brian Doyle—whose writing, in the words of Mary Oliver, is “a gift to us all”—presents one hundred new prayers that evoke his deep Catholic belief in the mystery and miracle of the ordinary (and the whimsical) in human life.

In Brian Doyle’s newest work, A Book of Uncommon Prayer: 100 Celebrations of the Miracle & Muddle o
Paperback, 128 pages
Published December 29th 2014 by Sorin Books (first published January 1st 2014)
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4.44  · 
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 ·  236 ratings  ·  57 reviews

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Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015-list, favorites
I never expect a prayer book to make me smile, to inspire me to look up and marvel, to force a guffaw and a snort-laugh out of me before I've had my coffee. Obviously, I've never had a prayer book like this one before. A Book of Uncommon Prayer doesn't just raise the bar, it changes the standards altogether.

What Doyle has pulled together might be one of my favorite collections of writing. It's a glimpse into real conversation with God and a sliver of life here and there. When you read it...and p
Anatoly Molotkov
May 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've been looking for a Brian Doyle book to fall in love with, and now I've found one. And it is so that in his own struggle, he shows us an immense appreciation of all things - and if we don't agree with him about some old dude writing the rules, we agree that the rules matter, and also about the meanings of things that are not within things, but hidden deeply in our own small opinion-making units. And to you, the great Human Spirit that has created all the gods and all interpretations of gods, ...more
David Orenstein
Nov 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Amazingly lovely book of one-page prayers for ordinary folk, written with understanding, sympathy, humor. How many times did I look up and say: "that's it, exactly!" I'm not religious, yet even so, Brian Doyle's ability to see the good in everyone and everyday life is extraordinary. Lovely, lovely book.
May 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019reads
A prayer of thanks and amusement for Brian Doyle and his run-on sentences and his early editors who did not prevail:

Here I’m assuming that at some point someone tried to corral Doyle into a shorter more organized form, and I thank the universe for nipping that in the bud. This book is just the shot of relentless goodness and gratitude I (and you?) needed, despite the finer points of his theology with which I may violently disagree. Readable on a medium long flight, and truly delightful.
Oct 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a sweet little book. Not exactly one you'd sit down and read cover to cover, but a sweet thing to pick up to read one or two prayers and put down feeling much more grateful.

I don't identify with what goodreads and other places have called Doyle's "deep Catholic belief," but I CAN get behind the feeling of gratefulness for and wonder about all the amazing, overlooked things in this world. Reading this always made me feel happy.
Mar 15, 2019 rated it liked it
I read one prayer every night before bed. I really enjoyed the earlier parts of the book. Lots of creative things to be thankful for. I don't know if he ran out of steam, or if I got more "used to" it, but I didn't care for the second half as much.
Mar 19, 2018 rated it liked it
I loved some of the prayers in this book, some didn’t relate to me, some annoyed me, some made me laugh or cry. Overall this was a great way to open my eyes to prayer in everyday life, particularly situations where prayer might not be my first instinct.
Apr 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing

I got the delicious opportunity to hear author Brian Doyle in Seattle earlier this year. He entertained the packed audience by sharing his colorful writing, telling jokes and laugh-out-loud anecdotes, choking back tears, and entreating us to sing and cry along with him with his sometimes gut-wrenching words. Many of these uncommon prayers drew me in, and I decided to purchase the book.

A few weeks later I decided to use the prayers as my focus for the April
Camille Sheppard
Jul 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The thing about this book is that the only reason I can say I finished it is because I've read all the prayers. I can't imagine being finished with it actually because each prayer contains so many details and beautiful phrasings that they demand to be read over and over depending on mood and circumstances. Thank you Brian Doyle for the delights and surprises on every page that made me smile when I was angry or sad and depressed about the state of the world lately.
Jessie Pannell
Aug 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-read
I can't help but give these uncommon prayers an uncommon five-star accolade. These prayers represent the discipline it takes to notice, contemplate and then WRITE DOWN the moments in life that matter. Poets' special task is to take these moments up and then put them down in a memorable, meaningful way for the rest of us who fumble over our words or who lack the necessary discipline. Thank you, Doyle, for doing that for me with your prayers. I stole them and now they're mine.
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. Written by a devout Catholic, but one with his eyes wide open and with a killer sense of humor and yet he's serious enough to put you completely off your guard and make you cry the moment after you have laughed. This guy loves God and he helps me to love God and pray with more honesty.
Jan 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Ten stars. This book is a delight of honesty of heart. Beau Brown, if you have not encountered this book, I think you might really like it.
Nov 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
How can you not love a book of prayers about hot showers, nuns, birds, Altar Guilds,opossums and Girl Scouts. This is delightful!
Oct 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This little book has been my coffee companion in the morning for about a month. I read it slowly because many of these prayer essays just stunned me into silence.
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: get
Brian Doyle writes about religion/Catholicism in a way that is inspiring and not alienating. While I don’t agree with everything he says, he strives to be what a good Christian ought to be - loving and grateful and kind- and thus even when we disagree on a topic, it isn’t hard to listen to what he has to say and respect the difference of opinion. There are many poems/prayers here dedicated to Catholicism or Catholic themes, but many other topics from dragonflies to the kids he coaches to suntan ...more
Kay Carman
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Oregon author Doyle offers prayers for those things in our lives we would consider common, things we don't regularly notice, even those we might not consider worthy of prayer.

The prayers - each about a page - show gratitude and a deep reverence for God's creations and His love. Some made me laugh, some brought tears to my eyes. Among my favorites were prayers offered for patience with politicians, for the hesitant appreciation of death, for his wife and daughter, firefighters, and good men and w
Terre Cooke Chaffin
Spiritual Nourishment

What a life giving experience it has been to read this book. Brian Doyle never fails me. I read it each morning as a daily meditation, never more than one essay at a time as I knew it would be over too soon. Doyle’s comfort for and commitment to spiritual life in the midst of life is a constantly unfolding tale linking the reader to a stability in today, often forgotten. It’s the telling and his perspective that offer hope and humor, love and gratitude, despite pain. God res
Feb 11, 2019 rated it liked it
He’s a very lovely writer with a gift for poetic flow, and I appreciate his spirit and warmth and many of his sentiments. I enjoyed the wide variety of titles he ascribes to God: Engineer, Filmmaker, Composer, etc. But I’m not Catholic so there’s a fair bit to disagree with as well (YMMV on that, depending on where you fall in spiritual practice & theology) and authoring a book of prayers seems a little self-indulgent, though I think he just wanted to inspire others to think about all the li ...more
S. Murphy
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I know that Doyle was a devout Catholic, and for that reason I almost didn't buy this book. But he was also an absolute writing genius, and the gentlest and most gracious of men, so I did. And halfway through I ordered two more copies, one for a friend and one for a cousin, because I will be keeping my copy to go back to time and again, I'm sure, to re-read his prayers for brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers and proofreaders and jazz musicians and other odd beings who run the spectrum o ...more
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I carried this around with me for months, just to pull out and read when I had a moment. So touchingly human, so funny, so poignant. Brian Doyle breaks my heart with how he transforms every ordinary moment into something worthy of prayer and praise. I don't feel hopeful very often these days, but when I read him, I do. And my heart breaks for the fact that all of his words that will ever be in the world already are.
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
So many prayers. So many widely-applicable prayers. How he managed to turn snarling swear words at lousy drivers into sweet blessing with a giggle at the end only serves to prove this man's genius as a writer. RIP, Mr. Doyle, knowing that your brilliant words and tremendous soul live on in this incredible, provocative, evocative work of heart and spirit.
Tamara Murphy
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Read the book summary above and then go buy about five copies of this book. One for you to keep and the rest to give away as gifts to the people in your life you most want to bless. I need another copy because I've given mine away (originally a Christmas gift) - twice. While you're at it, read everything else by the gone-too-soon beloved Brian Doyle.
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Imperfect, but worthy of five stars regardless. I plan to keep it in my bedside drawer and reread in perpetuity.
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book so much. I ended the day by reading a bit each night to bring focus to the many unrecognized blessings that exist today and every day. What an amazing perspective.
May 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion
One of those books I will return to many times, because after all, it's Brian Doyle.
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017-books
Everything he wrote was lovely.
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Just flat-out lovely. A collection of reverent and irreverent prayers, humorous and solemn, pragmatic and ethereal. I loved every one.
Alex Murphy
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I haven't read a book this beautiful in a long time. Doyle had me crying my eyes out one page and laughing out loud the next. Astonishing.
Christine Seaver
Mar 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars
Gregg Koskela
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Love the way he finds gratefulness in so many pieces, love the turns of phrase and the humor and the pathos and the wisdom. A very distinctive voice, which if I am honest, grew tedious.
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Doyle's essays and poems have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, The American Scholar, Orion, Commonweal, and The Georgia Review, among other magazines and journals, and in The Times of London, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Kansas City Star, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Ottawa Citizen, and Newsday, among other newspapers. He was a book reviewer for The Oregonian and a contributing es ...more