Congratulations to Yohanna Katanacho on his new book, Praying through the Psalms (Carlisle: Langham Global Library, 2018). The book is also available on amazon.com. Following are different comments on Katanacho’s book by significant leaders from around the world.
It’s been said that the Psalms were the place where Christians used to learn how to pray and how to praise God. Whether or not it was ever true, it isn’t generally true now. But it is where Yohanna Katanacho has been learning to pray and to praise over a number of years. It has led him to compose his own praises and prayers modeled on the psalms, one by one. There are at least three ways we can employ Katanacho’s prayers and praises to God’s glory and to our own blessing: we can simply use these prayers and praises as our own; we can use them as a way of identifying with our brothers and sisters in the Middle East and praying with them; and we can take these prayers and praises as models for our own prayers and praises that build from the biblical Psalms to say what we need to say to God.
John Goldingay, PhD Professor of Old Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California, USA
Praying through the Psalms is an extraordinary book written by a man who lives what he has written. I have known Dr Katanacho for the last twenty-six years. Our friendship began when he led me to the Lord of lords, Jesus, and since then his mentorship, friendship and spiritual example has made a huge difference in my character and ministry. This is reflected by the depth of the words written in his amazing book, and it reflects the heart and mind of the author as he encounters God through God’s Word. For the readers, it is going to be a journey that they have never experienced, as it will contextualize God’s Word written through the Psalms into their very own context in whatever circumstance they might be in –hard, rough, in war or persecution, or even betrayed! Through 150 prayers, Dr Katanacho brings the Psalms home to each and every one of us. Since I had the privilege of reading them both in Arabic and now in English, the words written by the psalmist have reminded me many times to think before I judge people and before I blame God for circumstances I go through in life. The new depth that this book has given to the Psalms has given me a stronger belief in God as a friend who understands me well in my everyday situations as he accompanies me in them all the time. Special thanks to Dr Katanacho, my friend and old-time neighbour, and colleague at the Alliance Church and at the Bethlehem Bible College, where I am honoured to serve alongside him in different capacities.
Rev Jack Y. Sara, PhD President, Bethlehem Bible College
If our psalmists lived today, how would they re-pray their prayers? How would the weight of our contemporary world make them rephrase their sighs towards heaven? Yohanna Katanacho has taken upon himself to transport the ancient psalmists to the dusty and bleeding squares of the Middle East and lend them his eyes, his heart and his pen. He draws the thread that connects their mouth to the mouths of today’s persevering church, but without substituting the ancient voice. This is not just one more translation of the ancient psalter –the new prayers come alongside the ancient ones as the alto joins the soprano to sing the same song in harmony.
Myrto Theocharous, PhD Professor of Hebrew and Old Testament, Greek Bible College, Athens, Greece
Praying through the Psalms is an important new work. The book sets forth a fresh and innovative approach to reading the Psalms by praying through the text in comprehensive and contemporary terms that are intelligible for the reader. Here we can find engagement with the Psalms and the Bible as whole, on one hand, and current challenges of life on the other. This contextual reading of the Psalms puts a new challenge in front of us; that is, how to offer the Bible in people’s own language. Perhaps this is the core of the Protestant reformation, that through translation normal Christians can connect with the sacred text. These contextual prayers deserve appreciation; specially as the writer is a scholar in a Palestinian context who seeks theology of his context including the challenges of the present moment.
Rev Andrea Zaki, PhD President of the Protestant Churches of Egypt