Daniel E. Paavola
St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2017. 190 pages. Softcover. $12.99.
Reviewed by Rev. Dan Feusse, Pastor, Concordia Lutheran Church, Clearwater, Nebraska on 08/31/2018
In Our Way Home, Daniel E. Paavola indeed takes the reader on a journey through the Lord’s Prayer, petition by petition. He makes abundant use of storytelling and picture language which is both engaging and, at times, what one might term “folksy.” An example is when Paavola compares prayer to parents who give responsibility to their children such as a new puppy, a camping tent, or tossing your sixteen year old the car keys and saying “take it out for a ride.”
While some of his storytelling is not overly theological, many of his illustrations from ordinary life experiences do carry in them deeper theological truths which Paavola draws out for the reader. An example is when he uses the illustration of a real life flood in discussing the Fifth Petition, and sees in it the complete, all-encompassing nature of forgiveness. Also, a nice touch is the brief “Pray even when . . . ” text boxes that Paavola provides from time to time throughout the book, which give the reader little nuggets to consider in one’s daily prayer life.
Highly readable, in Our Way Home Paavola sprinkles in deeper theological insights and makes light use of Greek words in explaining each of the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer, which pastors may find helpful. Where the strength of Paavola’s theology shines is in his comprehensive treatment of the Sixth Petition, pointing out that the Lord puts limits on the worst Satan can do, even covering the temptations which come in our sleep, and of the Seventh Petition, where an intriguing connection is made between Psalm 121 and Revelation 21.
Our Way Home provides the reader with a clear, readable text which spurs thoughts about the Lord’s Prayer that are rarely explored. For the pastor who seeks to teach the Lord’s Prayer from a different, yet eminently orthodox, perspective, Our Way Home just might be that resource.