Call and Response by Fran Pratt is a book full of poetic and inclusive litanies that are perfect for congregational use.
Thank you, Speak Easy, for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
What is Speak Easy? SpeakEasy is a website that exchanges free books, especially those focused on religion and spirituality, to bloggers and podcasters in exchange for honest and candid reviews. As the pastor of two churches, it is part of my call to be the resident theologian. Therefore, I am always seeking books to read so that I can learn and expand my world view. SpeakeEasy is a great resource spiritual books that are unique and “off the beaten path.”
What are you reading? Let me know in the comments below!
My Review for Call and Response: Litanies for Congregational Prayer by Fran Prat
Call and Response by Fran Pratt is both poetic and powerful. It is an excellent resource for pastors and worship planners. As the pastor of two churches in Pennsylvania, I am constantly searching for prayers and litanies that I can use with my congregation on Sunday mornings. I am so glad that I came across Pratt’s little book. It is a worship planning resources that I will use time and again.
Timely and Eloquent Prayers
Pratt writes with a style that is both clear and elegant. Her prayers read like responsive poems. Their language is both inclusive and life affirming.
My copy of the book arrived only a few days after the tragedy in Dayton, Ohio. My heart was broken over the sufferings in Ohio and throughout the world. Often, I would have written my own litany for use in worship, but I was too deeply troubled to find the words. Pratt’s words were a blessing. Her prayer, “Litany for Chaos,” was the perfect fit for my congregation. The language eloquently expressed everything that I wanted to say but could not find the words to pray.
Powerful, Poetic, and Diverse
The book is divided into five sections with three appendices. The sections include, “Litanies for Looking Forward,” “Litanies for Looking Outward,” “Litanies for Coping,” “Litanies for Church Rituals,” and “Litanies for Communal Worship.” The Appendices include resources for advent and lent and two litanies for injustice.
All of Pratt’s prayers are beautiful, but I was particularly drawn to, “Litany for Surgery,” “Litany or Diversity,” “Litany for Refugees,” “Litany for Post-Disaster Trauma,” and “Litany for Doing Hard Things.”
From a Disability Perspective …
One of the aspects of Call and Response that I truly appreciated was the author’s commitment to using inclusive language. On her website, Pratt states, “I began writing litanies because I couldn’t find congregational prayers on the internet that articulated what I felt or addressed a particular subject or event in a way that suited my church’s casual, non-denominational setting. So I started writing them myself.”
As a pastor with a visual impairment, I will admit that I often have trouble finding litanies that are inclusive of all ability levels that I can use for worship. Although Pratt does not specifically include a prayer for people with disabilities, her litany, “Litany for Privilege,” manages to address the issue of able-bodied privilege (as well as other privileges) in a way that is both sensitive and rooted in biblical scripture.
The litany begins with an invocation to God, along with a recognition of the fact that life here on earth is a “mixed bag,” that includes both “joy and pain,” as well as “grief and exuberance.” Although we cannot choose our circumstances, we are all God’s children. For me, the most striking lines in this litany are the ones that reference the issue of disability and able-bodied privilege. “In many ways, we are born to pain. / Let us bear one another’s burdens. / In many ways we are born weak and blind. / Let us be kind to one another.”
I find the use her phrase, “in many ways we are born weak and blind,” particularly apt in this litany. The simple addition of the words, “in many ways,” and the use of the pronoun “we,” reminds us that blindness in scripture and literature takes on a meaning that is both metaphorical and literal. We all suffer from some form of spiritual blindness. No human can fully “see” God’s plan or understand God.
This gentle yet convicting litany would be an excellent choice when planning liturgy for a Disability Awareness Sunday. This litany provides the words to help the pastor and the congregation to address the unique privileges we all share, while also inspiring us to show the love of Christ to those who may not have the same level of privilege.
Perfect for Congregational Use & Personal Devotions
I highly recommend Call and Response for worship leaders. I also recommend it for those who enjoy reading spiritual poetry. Although the litanies are written for a congregational setting, they would also work well for personal devotions. I know that I will continue to use this little book for many liturgical seasons to come.
Note: I received a free copy of this book SpeakEasy in exchange for an honest review.
About the Fran Pratt:
Rev. Fran Pratt is Pastor of Worship & Liturgy at Peace of Christ Church in Round Rock, TX, where she lives with her spouse and two daughters. More of her work can be found at www.franpratt.com
Author: Fran Pratt
Genre: Nonfiction/ Spirituality & Religion/ Christian Worship Planning
Publisher: Outpost Press
Publication Date: December 10, 2018
If you are interested in religious poetry, please consider checking out my chapbook, Through My Good Eye: A Memoir in Verse
Book Review: Speaking Out- Gifts of Ministering Undeterred by Disability is an important book for all seminarians and church leaders. People with disabilities bring unique gifts and graces to ministry.
Personal Testimony: Sight Loss and Faith – Guest post by Amanda Gene
What are you reading?
What are you currently reading? I’m currently reading Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are on Audible! Have you heard of Audible? You can try Audible and get two free audiobooks as well as two Audible Originals! As a person with low vision, I absolutely LOVE Audible. I use it all the time! Sign up for a free trial and even if you cancel your membership, you get to keep the audioboooks! Try Audible today. Your Ears will thank you!