Book Review of This Day: A Collection of Simple Prayers

As I mentioned in my last post, I have a new treasure that I picked up recently at my favorite used bookstore, Better Books and Bibles.  It was made from prayers used in the Daily Broadcast Service of the BBC radio program, compiled by an unnamed and un-credited person.  There are no dates that I can find anywhere in the book, which I find intriguing, but according to the National Trust Collections and other resources, it was published in 1928 or 1929 by St. Martin’s Review, London.

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After some searching, I found that Hugh Liddon Johnston is credited with being the compiler.  I wonder why his name wasn’t listed.  Perhaps it was his own humble choice?  Or the publisher’s?  A similar book of his, When Two or Three, was published in 1932 as a new version of This Day; and a later version of This Day was apparently published in 1953.

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The Reverend H.R.L. Sheppard, who wrote the introduction, conducted the first church worship service ever broadcast on BBC radio on January 6, 1924 at St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church, in London.  You can find a fascinating and inspiring biography of him here.  He “preached in a style that made Christianity live for the ordinary listener.”  Amazingly, and fortunately, the Daily Service is still broadcast on BBC, here.

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This is one of those books that looks pretty ragged on the outside (which isn’t surprising, being 86 years old and originating in London, England), but brand new on the inside and perfectly relevant to today.

In its 70 pages, each containing three separate entries, are one-sentence prayers focused on a short phrase of scripture.  What a simple and valuable way of praying, to be reading at any point in the Bible, and to stop at one place to speak to God.

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In fact, lately, even before picking up This Day, my own scripture reading has naturally merged with prayer.  I always have questions to ask the Lord, but I also make comments and just start talking about my own thoughts and related ideas.  This book is a great starting point for that kind of lovely time with God.

It is not easy to buy, however.  Amazon U.K. lists This Day and When Two or Three, but shows all the volumes as not currently available.  But you can enjoy some of these images as inspiration for personalizing your own scripture reading and prayer times, and I hope you do!

6 Comments

  1. Now this sounds like a little treasure you’ve found. Aren’t used bookstores just the best thing?

    • So glad you visited, Brenda. Yes, quite a treasure, I am using it as my morning devotional–so simple and deep at the same time. Let me know if you have a “previously enjoyed” treasures to share!

  2. hugo

    Hugh {Hugo} Liddon Johnston is my Grandfather. He was a remarkable man. I have his copy of this book. He brodcasted the daily prayer on the BBC during the war. Sheppard was dear friend and I think was the vicar at St Martin in the Fields in London were Grandfather aslo served; I have photos of them in Portifino on holiday together!

    • Hugo, what an honor to hear from you! How did you run across my post? I sincerely admire your Grandfather, and cherish this book that he wrote.

      • hugo johnston

        I was speaking to my cousin and remarked that there may be some audio of his prayers on line. He died when I was 6 and I only vaguely recall his voice. No luck on that front but I found you! All we are is what we share :)

      • So true. It would be great if you find audio of his prayers online, wouldn’t it? Glad the world wide web can connect us!

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