A Book of Uncommon Prayer


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100 Celebrations of the Miracle & Muddle of the Ordinary

Brian Doyle was a one-of-a-kind author who wrote one-of-a-kind prayers about everyday subjects that help readers change the way they see the world.

Prayers for cashiers and good shoes; for shorter sermons and better senators; prayers for the bruised, foolish, glorious, stumbling, brilliant Church; for chaplains and mathematicians; for idiot authors and muddy dogs: These are the most heartfelt and headlong prayers you will ever read and share—the grinning, snarling prayers we mouth quietly in the car and the shower and the pub, the small chapels of our everyday life.

Doyle said he aimed to write short pieces that functioned like “arrows to the heart.” This book is a quiver full of those sharp arrows, “stealth theology” that explores everyday encounters—from nuns to possums, from Chet Baker to Port-A-Potties—through a Catholic, sacramental imagination.

Since Doyle’s death in 2017 from a brain tumor, enthusiasm for his award-winning writing has only swelled, whether it’s his quirky prayers, kinetic essays, or magical novels such as Mink River and The Plover. This tenth anniversary edition of A Book of Uncommon Prayer includes a new foreword from his wife, Mary, and an afterword from his good friend Peter Boland, who delivered the eulogy at Doyle’s funeral.

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