The Catholic Man’s Review
The copy of Handbook of Prayers Student Edition, published by Midwest Theological Forum that I am reviewing today was bought at Steubenville Toronto Conference in 2017. I have never seen this edition of the Handbook of Prayers sold in Toronto. I have only seen the full, unabridged version of the book. Therefore, I bought immediately bought this edition when I saw it.
Handbook of Prayers Student Edition, even though it is an abridged version of the popular Handbook of Prayers, is a very handy prayerbook to slip into a backpack, briefcase or purse. I don’t think it is a necessarily a prayer book not only for students, but convenient for students to bring around with them with the many heavy textbooks.
I have reviewed two titles from Midwest Theological Forum, including the Manual of Prayer and the Daily Roman Missal. Midwest Theological Forum in my opinion, provides the best quality devotional tools for Catholics. Like those two books I have reviewed on here, the text have been printed in both black and red ink, a feature that I love (being a Liturgy fanatic).
The contents seem to be very similar to that of the Prayers and Devotions section of the Daily Roman Missal, containing the How to be a Better Catholic, Basic Prayers, Preparation for Mas, Prayers After Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, Guide for a Good Confession, Devotions to the blessed Trinity, Devotions to Our Lord Jesus Christ, Devotions to the Holy Spirit, Devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Devotions to St. Joseph, Various Prayers, Prayers for the Dead, and even a section for Baptism of a Person in Danger of Death. The main difference between the Student Edition and the unabridged edition is probably the absence of the Order of Mass. Personally, I wish the Student Edition would have the people’s responses in there, without all the rubrics as in the Daily Roman Missal and the unabridged edition.
Another critique I have is the Stations of the Cross meditation used, not only in this edition, but also in the unabridged edition and also the Daily Roman Missal. I question who was the author of these specific reflections. I would prefer if they used the meditations of St. Alphonsus Liguori because that is well known. Besides, I like how the images of the stations are depicted, as well as in the Mysteries of the Rosary.
There are a couple blank pages at the back which I like, so I can perhaps jot down my own prayers and attach other prayer cards.
The cover seems to be made of a vinyl material with gold ink, I assume. Unfortunately, the first day I bought it, I used it during the Adoration session that night. My hands were sweaty. When I went back to my room, I saw that the spine where the text, “Handbook of Prayers” were stamped on were faded, which was disappointing. I didn’t ask for an exchange, knowing that this prayer book would be worn out, and it sure did, after so many conferences, retreats and camps since then. It has been my prayer companion along with my breviary. For that reason, to not misrepresent Midwest Theological Forum’s Handbook of Prayers, I did not take pictures.
Ivy Pham Review
I am a person who does not like structure when saying prayers. I like a bit spontaneity when praying which is the complete opposite of my brother. I think this will bring a different perspective to this review.
I’m sure many people would appreciate the size of it. It’s about the size of my hand, and I have small hands. It is also less than a centimetre thick. This would be perfect for those who like praying on their commute.
Don’t let its small size deceive you though. It is jam packed with prayers of all kinds. It has the common ones most Catholics know, as well as various devotions some people may not have even heard of. For that reason, I think it is incredibly versatile. It can also let people try something new if they find they can’t connect with God through their current prayer routine.
There is both a table of contents and index, so navigation of the book is pretty easy. The text is easy to read, but I find it varies a bit too much. The division between different sections and devotions are clear though. The printing of the text is high quality. I can’t say the same about printing quality if the few pictures in the book though. It looks like it was printed by a dot matrix printer (basically pictures look like they were stippled on). Then again, the purpose of this book is not to look at the pictures.
I think the Handbook of Prayers for Students is a good option for anyone who want to discover more prayers and for various purposes. It provides versatility and convenience and is a great starter for anyone who wants to strengthen their connection to God.
On The Catholic Man’s Scale
A beautiful, pocket sized prayer book for anywhere on the go, a perfect companion for one’s breviary and pilgrimage!
You may purchase the Handbook of Prayer Student Edition here.