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Why We're Publishing "Ash and Starlight"

Ash and Starlight: Prayers for the Chaos and Grace of Daily LifeAs a single dad to three awesome kids running a small nonprofit publishing house who could use a little balance in my life, prayer often slips through the cracks. I try hard to find time to center my mind each morning when I’m stretching, maybe take a few deep breaths as I’m making dinner, and unwind a bit each night as I slip into much-needed sleep.

My hunch is you identified with something in that first paragraph, right? At any given moment, 363 percent of Americans will say they’re too busy to find time to focus. (I would look up the accurate stat, but I don’t have time.) Sometimes it takes a prompt to remind you to take that moment to step back, rub the sleep out of your eyes, and look at the Big Picture.

Ash and Starlight: Prayers for the Chaos and Grace of Daily Life is the prompt you need.

When Arianne Braithwaite Lehn brought this proposal to Chalice Press in partnership with Young Clergy Women International, it was the breath of fresh air we needed. It read like poetry, and it addressed subjects that our overwhelmed minds can’t always find words for. Arianne organized 62 prayers into seven sections, and each prayer is accompanied by scripture references for further meditation and nourishment. Here are some of the prayers that resonate with me on a hectic day in a busy week after an overpacked month:

  • Prayers for Centering: When I’m completely scattered, When I’m at the end of a hard week, When I need some steadiness.
  • Prayers for Confession and Release: When I need forgiveness and to forgive, When I don’t want to love someone, When I need a fresh spirit.
  • Prayers for Guidance and Transition: When I’m in the messy middle of something, When I’m not sure what to do, When I’m wondering if this thing can live again.
  • Prayers for Waiting and Struggle: When my waiting needs a shift in focus, When I feel wronged, When I cry for the world.
  • Prayers for Trust: When I need to trust where I am is right, When I’m unsure and doubting, When I need to do something scary.
  • Prayers for Comfort and Strength: When I’m grieving a goodbye, When my body’s in pain, When I feel as if I can’t go on.
  • Prayers for Seasonal and Liturgical Times of the Year: For Summer’s ending, For Christmas Day, A blessing for someone you love (and yourself!).

That’s about one-third of the prayers, and the remaining prayers apply to other days that call for other prayers. In a selection of 62 prayers, there’s a really good chance you’ll find a prayer you need, whether you know it or not, inside these beautiful pages.

Better yet: If you find yourself drawn to writing your own prayers, your own ash and starlight, there are blank pages in the back for that too. Ash and Starlight is, in the end, a do-it-yourself prayer book.

With her husband, Jeff, Arianne is the mother of two and a minister in the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. in the Chicago area. She sees prayer in the Bigger Picture we all seek:

While God created us from the ash and dust of the earth, God then blew divine breath into us. This same breath created the stars – what ancient people saw as “heavenly beings” filled with transcendent, pure, and powerful beauty… We are made of earth and we are made of heaven. Ash and starlight woven together.

With a delicate design resembling a book of poetry, Ash and Starlight will be an energizing, inspiring Christmas gift. The prayer continues at, Facebook, Instagram, and a regular email.

May Ash and Starlight: Prayers for the Chaos and Grace of Daily Life become a part of your daily life routine for prayer, reflection, or meditation; a reflection of who you wish to be and can become; and a reminder that we are all a divine blend of God’s ash and God’s starlight.




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