Bible Review: ESV Prayer Bible

The ESV Prayer Bible from Crossway publishers has quickly become one of my favourite Bibles. It’s not a study Bible per se. By this I mean it does not contain verse-by-verse study notes or long essays. What it does contain is many prayers throughout the scriptures by insightful men and women of God.

From the publisher’s description:

  • Single-column, paragraph format
  • 400+ historical prayers interspersed throughout the Bible text
  • Prayer-related book introductions providing insight into how to use each specific book in prayer
  • Introductory essay by professor Donald S. Whitney, author of Praying the Bible, explaining how and why to pray the Bible
  • User guide
  • Author index featuring bios of historical contributors and relevant page numbers
  • Comprehensive index featuring every time prayer is mentioned in the entire Bible
  • Concordance
  • Reading plans

As the publisher’s description states, there are short introductions to each book of the Bible and an article which will aid the reader in praying through the scriptures. There are also over 400 prayers from various figures throughout church history. These figures are made up of both men and women, from multiple denominational backgrounds while still maintaining solidity and trustworthiness. There are some well-known figures such as Jane Austen, Anselm of Canterbury, and John Calvin, but there are also men and women that many readers will perhaps be introduced to for the first time such as Wilhelm Loehe, Christina Rossetti, and Gerhard Tersteegan.

As can be seen from the pictures included, the length of the prayers vary significantly, sometimes a short but meaningful prayer, other times a prayer significant in length and depth. Both are often helpful or thought-provoking.

In the back of this Bible can be found an index of all the authors of the prayers used as well as portraits illustrated by the talented Peter Voth and short biographies. Much like a child, I was actually rather disappointed upon my discovery that the only illustrations were the portraits as I had hoped to see Voth’s talent displayed throughout the Bible itself. Nonetheless, Voth does a beautiful job as always.

In addition to the added content that makes the “ESV Prayer Bible” is the translation of the Bible. The English Standard Version is one of the most trustworthy modern translations of scripture. It is clear and readable, yet faithful to original languages. By far, the ESV is one of my favourite translations.

I thoroughly enjoyed this Bible from the tranlsation of the text to the selection of prayers. I appreciate the historical voices used. Modern-day men and women of faith have much to contribute, but there is a certain appeal and aesthetic of including poets and centuries-old theologians. I intend to continue to use the “ESV Prayer Bible” for personal devotion and reading of scripture.


I received a copy of this Bible in exchange for my fair and honest review.

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