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Fall 1995 · Vol. 24 No. 2 · pp. 100–101 

Book Review

Prayers of an Omega

Katie Funk Wiebe. Scottdale, PA: Herald, 1994. 110 pages.

Reviewed by Elfrieda Nikkel

Here is a delightful, easy-to-read book which reflects on some of the inner feelings, thoughts and struggles of older adults. The term Omega (last letter of the Greek alphabet) suggests that these adults are the last in the family or at the head of the line. Wiebe is a world traveler, writer of hundreds of articles, editor of eleven books, professor emerita of English literature at Tabor College (Kansas), and after twenty-four years of teaching is now a freelance writer and editor.

Prayers of an Omega contains thirty-four short psalm-prayers, each beginning with a Scripture focus around which the everyday experiences of life are given new meaning. These prayers are short, easy to read, and uplifting, especially for older adults.

Prayer titles like, “Lord, I Don’t Like Lawn Mowers,” “I Sure Like to Drive My Car,” or “This Old Dog Learned a New Trick Today,” encourage the reader to see the humorous side of life’s experiences.

Wiebe has grouped the prayers under five topics: transition into the land of the older adult; family life; changes an older adult faces; trials that challenge faith; and accepting mortality.

The down-to-earth themes, as well as the everyday language, gives one a sense that God is a friend and interested in all the little details of life. The prayers encourage the reader to share feelings of uncertainty, vulnerability, loneliness and powerlessness which are so much a part of the life of the older adult. Even though Wiebe acknowledges these feelings to be there, she has a way of turning one’s attention toward the positive side of the situation. Prayers like “Lament for an Unrecognized Gift” and “New Years Eve Reflections” give one a sense that no matter what the age of a person, God has a task for each throughout every stage of life. The importance of recognizing the inner beauty that is of such great value to God even when one is older, is stressed in “Bald Heads and Purple Hair.”

Although the book is written for older adults it would seem that many of the struggles faced at that age have their roots in life’s prior stages. Therefore it could be very helpful for younger people to read these prayers as a preparation for their senior years. The prayer “God is Good” prompts one to be aware of the many good gifts we receive from God. For the older adult the gift may be the clean park benches on which to rest, the young people who hold the heavy doors, or a friend to call and pray with. The lesson is for all ages even though the list of gifts may vary.

Prayers of an Omega can also be very helpful for caregivers who {101} relate to older adults at work, in the church or in the family. The book has the potential to help people talk about the deeper needs and frustrations experienced in daily life.

Although Wiebe touches on the blessing of having a family, friends and the church to help the older adult, it seems that these resources could have received greater emphasis since people often forget those who are the closest caregivers.

In the last prayer, “Here I Raise my Ebenezer,” Wiebe erects a monument of praise to God with each of the twelve stones symbolizing a special blessing. How appropriate it would be for all Christians of all ages to periodically build such a monument to share with others the goodness of God in their lives.

Elfrieda Nikkel
Dean of Women
Bethany Bible Institute
Hepburn, Saskatchewan

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