For almost 70 years, Reverend Dr. David Watermulder served as a man of God in a number of Presbyterian churches in the American Northeast and Midwest. And like any good pastor, he prayed fervently for his congregations. Some men of the cloth are good at this. Others are great. Reverend Watermulder was excellent, as evidenced in Pastoral Prayers for the People of God.
In this collection of prayers from the pulpit, editors Paul and Martha Watermulder bring together highlights from their father’s benedictions and thanksgivings over the years, shedding light on a man of great faith, compassion, and gratitude and inspiring readers to “embrace our days and anticipate our adventures.”
Organized by such topics as Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter, Reverend Watermulder’s prayers demonstrate a loving appreciation of creation and a sincere and earnest desire to express gratitude to the Divine: “Almighty God who has filled the earth with beauty and who brings life out of death, joy out of sadness: we come into Your presence and give thanks even when our spirits are not fully thankful.” The good pastor often references scripture, history, and world events, revealing his deep love for God and country. “We remember the sick and suffering,” he writes during the Vietnam War era, “the lonely and the discouraged, and the men who must do battle.”
A couple of quibbles: Within the various chosen categories, entries bounce back and forth in time. For instance, a prayer from 1979 might be followed by a prayer from 1974, which is then followed by one from 1976. This feels disjointed and forced. The book would have worked better if the prayers were presented sequentially so we witness how Watermulder developed as a pastor.
That criticism aside, this is a lovely book. The editors have created not only an endearing keepsake for their family, but a beautiful book for believers looking for a burst of inspiration or pastors looking for ideas to invigorate their sermons.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.