The Book of Common Courage

Prayers and Poems to Find Strength in Small Moments

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Pub Date Jan 17 2023 | Archive Date Feb 17 2023

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The Book of Common Courage is a collection of prayers, poems, and blessings to help you find a flicker of strength in the small and hard moments of life. Beloved author and therapist K. J. Ramsey invites you to journey word-by-word through Psalm 23 to experience how the Good Shepherd is with you and for you, especially in the valleys of life. When you struggle to find the words to hold your pain or trauma, be encouraged to cultivate the compassion and courage to believe that your story will, in fact, end in joy.

Through K. J.'s lyrical and emotive writing, you are invited to:

  • Surrender your anxiety and your tears to a faithful God
  • Validate your emotions and embrace them as the gift they are
  • Slow down and remember that good will come again
  • Replenish your soul with the life of Christ and the promises of God
  • Refresh your faith with a peace that lasts
  • Experience newfound confidence in prayer
  • Remember that even when pain is not past-tense, God is still present


Courage is a common hope that we can cultivate together. These prayers and poems can be read in group settings--among friends, families, and worshipping communities--and are also ideal for personal reflection.

Inside, you will find:

  • Colorful still life and nature photography
  • Prayers, poems, and blessings
  • A ribbon marker


This is a gorgeous gift to give for Easter, Christmas, birthdays, during a time of loss, during a life transition, or when looking for a new church community.

The Book of Common Courage is a collection of prayers, poems, and blessings to help you find a flicker of strength in the small and hard moments of life. Beloved author and therapist K. J. Ramsey...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9780310461333
PRICE $19.99 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

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Average rating from 25 members

Featured Reviews

I have long loved Ramsey's writing and was delighted to she had written another book. This is a beautiful collection of prayers, poems and liturgy that walk through Psalm 23. The language felt like my own and I deeply connected with it. The layout is beautiful, the changing colours and textures demarcate the end of one passage and the start of another well. The photography is a beautiful addition to it and I found myself meditating over these as much as the words.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for gifting me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Thanks to NetGalley for the e-ARC. I feel like seeing the final version of this book will be utterly breathtaking but the formatting on this edition did make it a little hard to read.

On the other hand, KJ's writing is poetic and prophetic - a real balm for bruised souls. I also loved the pairings of KJ's photography with her writing -the two work so well together.

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This is a beautiful collection of poetry, prayers, and thoughts on Psalm 23. This book offers strength and courage for difficult times, reminding one that He is with you. This is definitely one I will return to again and again. Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the advanced copy of the book.

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Thanks to NetGalley for this early review copy of The Book of Common Courage, by K.J. Ramsey. This work is encouraging, beautiful, and inspiring. In the face of loss, grief, sorrow, and growing pains, our courage is often among the last things we find access to in our lives. K.J. reminds us where to find our sense of self and to pursue the grounding we need to stir up courage when we need it most. It's also incredibly beautiful.

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Absolutely beautiful book! So giftable. I wish it was coming out before Christmas for this reason. Highly recommend. It's a great, uplifting read!

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Emotive. Healing. A keeper. Describing K.J. Ramsey’s latest book, “The Book of Common Courage” isn’t easy, it’s immense in its scope! K.J. sums it up as “These words are my small witness to your life, my with-ness to your weariness, and my welcome back to the home of your heart. Within these pages, you will find prayers, poems, and some blessings to bridge the space between your pain and God’s promises.” What she describes as her small witness felt like a big, warm, soothing hug, a space to be revisited when needed which in this broken and hard time is frequently.

No part of pain is overlooked, unseen, or diminished. K.J. gives voice and form to the hard, the intangible and I found myself saying “yes”, and “oh, wow, you feel that too” often. But she imbues too such hope, such resilience, and directs the reader to ways of upliftment and comfort.

It is poetic, it is visual, and it is a Bible reflection. It’s honest. It’s brutal. It’s an outpouring from a soul that has walked through hardship and found hope, that is deeply compassionate and for one who I am incredibly grateful

If you love the book of Psalms, if you enjoy the Book of Common Prayer, if art and music are a space of comfort, read “The Book of Common Courage”. I read the e-book (beautiful) but will be buying the hard copy for my shelf. It’s a five out of five on the enJOYment scale.

I received a complimentary copy of the book from Thomas Nelson and Zondervan Gift through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in these reviews are completely my own.

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Have you ever had an artist who always seems to arrive when you need them the most?

Creativity has always been an integral part of both my faith journey and my healing journey. So, I suppose, it's unsurprising that I have at times found myself drawn to similarly inspired creative spirits who resonate with my soul.

Artists like folk/Americana singer John Hiatt, cartoonist John Callahan, and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman have been a few of those artists whose entire careers seem to resonate deeply within me.

My faith journey has always been an interesting one. From being raised Jehovah's Witness to being kicked out of a Vineyard Christian Fellowship congregation to my time spent as an ordained minister in a New Thought congregation to my years in licensed Church of the Brethren ministry, I have long found both peace and frustration within my faith journey and within the world of organized religion.

For anyone who has followed my reviews and my writing for any length of time, it's no secret that I was born with spina bifida and have lived far beyond my life expectancy. Having had well over 50 surgeries before I was 21, I went through a relatively lengthy period without having any major medical issues before a few years ago when the difficulties of aging with spina bifida, double amputation, and a myriad of other issues became a challenge.

In 2019, I was hospitalized with dehydration and a serious infection that resulted in further limb loss. I'm now a below-knee and above-knee amputee in addition to the existing challenges of life with spina bifida. I started over in terms of learning life skills, no small challenge considering I have a relatively small circle and most people were encouraging me to "just go on Disability."

Um, no.

As a longtime person of faith, I found myself on occasion reaching out those whose writings, music, or social media presence had inspired me. This included such diverse creatives as Nadia Bolz-Weber, the band Rend Collective, theologian Miroslav Volf, and several other writers.

In the midst of it all, I discovered K.J. Ramsey.

You knew I'd eventually get to this book, right?

As I shared in my review of her book "This Too Shall Last," I discovered Ramsey rather accidentally when she happened to "like" my review of Rachel Held Evans' "Wholehearted Faith." Having been unaware of her prior to that moment, I began following her on social media and read her first book.

It was refreshing to have an author not try to change me because, quite honestly, there's so much of my life that will never change. If I'm not okay with God now, I'll likely never be okay with God because, quite simply, this is me.

I am a sexual abuse survivor and sexual assault survivor as an adult.

I am a widow who lost both my wife and newborn.

I am a disabled adult with a myriad of health issues.

I am an adult who once (okay, more than once) tried suicide and comically failed.

I sometimes think that my middle initial should be T instead of D because it feels like trauma is my middle name.

Quite simply, Ramsey has become one of "those" authors for me. She's a literary lighthouse whose writings seem to come along at exactly the right time. With "The Book of Common Courage: Prayers and Poems to Find Strength in Small Moments," I began reading not long after my holiday season was interrupted by a diagnosis of bladder cancer.

I assumed this was Santa's way of saying I was on the naughty list.

Since my late 2019 hospitalization and amputation, life has been a weird kaleidoscope of awesome achievements and heartbreaking losses. My mother, only brother, and one of my dearest friends have all died in the past three years. I've had smaller health issues and a seemingly endless array of wound care issues.

Yet, I've also been promoted at work, received several awards for activism, had a film festival start an award in my name, and officiated my goddaughter's wedding.

Weird and wonderful.

The cancer diagnosis hit hard. I've always lived with the idea of death hanging over me, however, this felt like it was knocking on my door. I'd only recently joined a new church and I felt incredibly overwhelmed while also remaining optimistic.

I must confess that I found myself in tears on page one of "The Book of Common Courage," a collection of prayers, poems, and blessings designed to serve as a companion for life's small and big moments. Both an author and a trauma-informed licensed professional counselor, Ramsey's weakness is her strength as she guides our journey through Psalm 23 as we experience God's presence meeting us wherever we are at.

As is always true for Ramsey, this is not a step-by-step guide toward change because as Ramsey herself knows our circumstances don't always change in life. "The Book of Common Courage" is a warm embrace from a literary friend who understands both significant health concerns and the world of dysfunctional, abusive organized religion. It is possible as a writer to truly hold space for your reader and this is what Ramsey accomplishes with "The Book of Common Courage," a book that is beautifully designed, magnificently illustrated, and written in language that vulnerable, compassionate, bridge-building, and absolutely inspired.

"The Book of Common Courage" works as much for individual reflection as it would for a group experience. It's the kind of book that comes to life in different ways for different people, each subsequent reading (and I've already read it three times) revealing new gems and touching me in entirely different ways.

"The Book of Common Courage" is a reminder that we are invited by God to surrender our true selves and our true life experiences. We are reminded that our emotions, our traumas, and our dramas are all sacred and holy. Yet, it's also a reminder to open ourselves to the restoration of God and good in our lives. "The Book of Common Courage" invites us into an authentic prayer life and into a journey with God that allows for our hurts to be fully present with us and to know that God doesn't go away.

If you're like me, you've likely experienced way too much going away.

As I gathered at an Indianapolis cancer center earlier this week for a surgery that would begin to reveal the next steps to be taken in this latest health challenge, I gathered feeling a greater peace and a little less alone for this journey that feels so profound and overwhelming that sometimes I can't help but feel alone even in a crowded room. With her trademark theological insights and fierce compassion, Ramsey holds space for those who can't quite see the light and for those who can, in turn, both give and receive the light to one another.

With tenderness and wonder, "The Book of Common Courage" equips us to have the courage to believe and the courage to love one another.

And so it is.

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It sounds simple, doing one more devotional about "the lord is my shepherd," but it becomes much more than the usual. The reflections recognize there is much struggle in life and refuse to ignore that, showing how it's in finding out God is with us during struggle, using our pain as the seed for something more, that we find the truly inspiring truth we need to keep going. The multimedia approach (poems, devotionals, Bible quotes, photographs) makes it more than just perusing a few devotionals.
Substantial, entertaining.

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Ahh, I Love this! Gorgeous photography is always a plus, and the graphics are stunning! So it starts out as a visual feast (which I love) but then the free verse passages… wow. Have you ever picked up a book in within just the first few pages, you know it’s one you Need to have in your life and one you will return to repeatedly? This book is exactly that!!

Huge thanks to NetGalley for a chance to read and review this book. It can only imagine how ever more amazing it will be to read it with the actual book in my hands.

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The Book of Common Courage is a lovely devotional and source of contemplation. It breaks down the 23rd Psalm in to it's individual words and phrases, breathing new life and understanding to perhaps the most famous Psalm.

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Such a beautiful book. It’s a great compilation of K.J.’s musings. I love when an writer doesn’t shy away from the hard and the broken. K.J. Leans into it and brings out the beauty!

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Thank you Netgalley for allowing me to read this book. My review is 100% my own.

Like all books of poetry and prayer there are some that relate to me and others that do not. This books was very well written and the content enjoyable to read.

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Definitely a book to be savored slowly! I think anyone could find this valuable, but particularly those going through seasons of suffering, church hurt, doubt, or illness. The book is visually beautiful as well, interspersing scripture, poems, and prayers with photos and art. I struggled somewhat to follow the mapping of a few of these poems onto Psalm 23, but that doesn't make them any less beautiful or relevant.

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"The Book of Common Courage" by K. J. Ramsey is a beautiful collection of heartmoving poems, inspiring prayers and blessings to give strength in the turbulent moments of life, through the time-tested words of Psalm 23. Courage is a common hope to cultivate together. In the low valleys of life, as we struggle with physical pain or psychological trauma, we can have the courage to believe that our story will surely end in joy and not sorrow. Through the lyrical and highly emotive words of this book, we can replenish our souls with the new life we have in Christ and the precious promises of God, to refresh, renew and restore our faith with divine peace. This book also contains colorful still life and nature photography to encourage and inspire. Get your own copy. You won't regret it!

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What a lovely book! I've read the author's other books and this one is just as soulful, thought-provoking, and powerful as her other books. I love the creative approach of looking at Psalm 23 through the lens of poetry and prayers. The photography is gorgeous and adds so much to the text! I can't wait to get my hands on a hard copy of this book.

Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the eARC. All opinions are my own.

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I picked up this book because I felt like I needed what the subtitle stated, "to find strength in the small moments." This book is truly beautiful in every way. The aesthetics, the writing, and the content. I felt encouraged, seen, and affirmed. More than that, it gave me words to pray when I didn't have them myself. I absolutely love this book and highly recommend it.

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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