Prayer, our conversation with God, needs no set formulas or flowery phrases. It often needs no words at all. But for most believers, the words of others can be a wonderful aid to devotion, especially when these words come from faithful fellow pilgrims.
An African Prayer Book is just such an aid, for in this collection all the spiritual riches of the vast and varied continent of Africa are bravely set forth. Here we overhear the simple prayer of the penniless Bushman, the words of some of the greatest Church fathers (Augustine and Athanasius), petitioning and jubilant voices from South Africas struggle for freedom, and even prayers from the Africa diasporas of North America and the Caribbean. Here are Jesuss own encounters with Africa, which provided him refuge at the beginning of his life (from the murderous King Herod) and aid at its end (in the person of Simon of Cyrene, who helped Jesus carry his cross). From thunderous multi-invocation litanies to quiet meditations, here are prayers every heart can speak with strength and confidence.
Desmond Tutu, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, retired as Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa in 1996. President Nelson Mandela then named him as chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the organization charged with bringing to light the atrocities of apartheid in South Africa and achieving reconciliation with the former oppressors. He is active as a lecturer throughout the world, and most recently he was a visiting scholar-in-residence at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. Archbishop Tutu serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Victims Trust Fund of the International Criminal Court, The Hague.