Archives For Prayer

 

A True-pointing Compass
for the Journey

A Review of 

The Prayer Wheel:
A Daily Guide To Renewing Your Faith With A Rediscovered 
Spiritual Practice

Patton Dodd, Jana Riess and David Van Biema

Hardback: Convergent, 2018
Buy Now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Aarik Danielsen
 

Abbreviated from the review in 
our Lent 2018 magazine issue. 
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A fulfilling prayer life can seem like a white whale to many Christians: faraway, elusive, hard to line up in your sights. If the ideal and reality of prayer fail to match up frequently, disciples tend to turn their faces toward one of three sources of resolution. There’s innovation— inventing a new acrostic or mnemonic, treating an obscure Biblical prayer as the key that will unlock all heavenly doors. There’s tradition—planting yourself in ancient gardens such as lectio divina, or forging personal habits, custom-made to bring prayer to life. Saddest of all is attrition, when spiritual fruit dies on the vine because a Christian never grows comfortable in prayer or assumes God is too cruel or too cool to answer.

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Giving Us Words
 
A Review of

Four Birds of Noah’s Ark:
A Prayerbook From the Time Of Shakespeare
Thomas Dekker

Paperback: Eerdmans, 2017
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]

 

Reviewed by Colin Chan Redemer
 
 
Recently a young mother said she wanted to start praying with her kids but didn’t know how, or what to say. Had I known then about the new edition of Thomas Dekker’s Four Birds of Noah’s Ark: A Prayerbook From the Time Of Shakespeare edited by Robert Hudson I perhaps would have been more helpful to her. It is easy for folks who’ve spent roughly a seventh of their life in a church pew to say “well just speak to God.” But prayer isn’t quite the same as chatting with a friend over coffee; it is spiritual food. I can image Jesus looking down at us and, echoing Mark 6:37, saying “you, give them [words to say].” Well this prayer book from the 1600’s offers many such words which, hundreds of years later, are fitting. The day I started reading the book was in my son’s first season of kindergarten. There I read the first prayer titled “For A Child Going to School” and I realized the value of being instructed in prayer even as my son was heading off to class. “Be my Schoolmaster to instruct me,/ that I may repeat the rules of true wisdom.” It is a striking prayer, that God would be the one who instructs us. If he uses the teacher in my son’s public school, so be it. And if that teacher fails in her cosmic duty: have faith, God will make a way. That alone is worth the price on the back.  

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Sitting and Being Still Before God
 
A Feature Review of  

Imaginative Prayer: A Yearlong Guide for Your Child’s Spiritual Formation
Jared Patrick Boyd 

Paperback: InterVarsity Press, 2017
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

 

Review by Erin F. Wasinger

 

The first session, we were flying.

After welcoming the Holy Spirit into our prayer time together, my three elementary-aged daughters and I sat on the living room floor and imagined ourselves in the air.

Reading from the guidebook in my lap, Imaginative Prayer: A Yearlong Guide for Your Child’s Spiritual Formation(InterVarsity Press), I led us from the ocean floor to outer space, each time pausing to admire the beauty of God’s creation.

“There is so much here that God loves,” I read to my girls, then paused. The pattern of reading aloud and silence, of being guided and then left free to wonder for a few moments, is the masterpiece to the imaginative prayer sessions written by author Jared Patrick Boyd, a Vineyard USA pastor, father of four, and spiritual director.

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A Life Whose Very Breath
Depended on Prayer
 
A Review of 

Motherprayer:
Lessons in Loving

Barbara Mahany

Hardback: Abingdon Press, 2017
Buy Now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]
 
Reviewed by Janna Lynas
 
 
 
I shift my weight on hard wood floors, beneath middle aged knees, offering pleas to the air, because he’s in the air, God is, for my children. There are a whole litany of requests and generalities, but sometimes things specific and so guttural I can barely get the words to pass over dry lips. There are prayers of thankfulness and scripture that are repeated because it is truth and is as much a prayer over my babies as it is story from long ago. And it’s in these moments I find myself, as Barbara Mahany suggests in her most recent book, Motherprayer, wrapped in the “shawl of prayer… with utterances that come from our most stripped-down essence.” (4)

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Praying for Justice

This extraordinary new book guides through daily prayer for the marginalized in U.S. society (and the world) through all four years of the Trump presidency…

 

Praying for Justice: A Lectionary of Christian Concern
Anderson Campbell and Steve Sherwood

Paperback: Barclay Press, 2017
Buy Now:  [ Amazon ]

 

From the introduction:

“It’s easy to look at the campaign rhetoric during the previous eighteen months and conclude that the next four years are going to be profoundly difficult for the vulnerable in our society. The reality is that, for them, every year is difficult. Most of the Founding Fathers were slaveholders. Franklin Delano Roosevelt interred more than one hundred thousand Japanese American citizens. Liberal and conservative presidents led a country that for decades allowed Jim Crow laws to remain in place and denied women the right to vote. John Fitzgerald “Jack” Kennedy dragged his feet on civil rights reform. Ronald Reagan’s policies on mental health led to an explosion in the number of homeless in our country. Bill Clinton ushered in the mass incarceration of young African Americans. Barack Obama has deported more undocumented immigrants than any president before him. If one is convinced, as we are, that God’s heart is uniquely for those without power, without recourse to justice, then there has never been a time in our nation’s history when the powers that be have been in alignment with this passion of God’s.”

 

My endorsement for this book:

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This week marked the first anniversary of Phyllis Tickle’s death (Sept. 22).

In honor of her life, we offer these brief video clips that introduce her work…

*** Books by Phyllis Tickle

Three Poems by Phyllis Tickle


Phyllis:
A Brief Documentary



NEXT VIDEO >>>>>

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A Life Made of Prayer

 
A Review of 

Short Trip to the Edge:
A Pilgrimage to Prayer

Scott Cairns

(New ed.) Paperback:
Paraclete Press, 2016.

Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
 
Reviewed by Jeffrey Galbraith

 

In Short Trip to the Edge: A Pilgrimage to Prayer, poet and literature professor Scott Cairns recounts a series of trips to Mount Athos, a peninsula in northern Greece that has been home to a number of Eastern Orthodox monastic communities since the Byzantine era. The original edition of the book, published in 2006, described the first three trips that Cairns made to the Holy Mount. This new edition, which includes helpful photographs, maps, and an epilogue, confirms that the initial account was not just a travel narrative in disguise or a temporary solution to a mid-life crisis. As the epilogue reveals, these trips have become regular events in the last decade. A self-confessed “slow pilgrim,” Cairns has developed a good amount of momentum by this point, having now made eighteen trips in his ongoing “pilgrimage to prayer.”

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Teaching Us to Slow Down

 
A Review of 
 

Prayer: Forty Days of Practice
Justin McRoberts, Scott Erickson

Paperback, 2016
Buy now:  
[ Amazon ]  [ From The Authors ]

 
Reviewed by C. Christopher Smith

 

The new book Prayer: Forty Days of Practice by Justin McRoberts and Scott Erickson is a unique book, that doesn’t teach us how to pray or offer a theology of prayer. Rather, what this elegant little book does is to offer a series of simple, but compelling images and brief guided prayers that are paired with each image. (See examples below)

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Steindl-Rast

I’ve listened to the following On Being interview with David Steindl-Rast three times over the past week (and sections of it a fourth time).  His perspective on gratitude is so invigorating!

 
If you like this interview, you should definitely also read his book:

Gratefulness, The Heart of Prayer:
An Approach to Life in Fullness

Br. David Stiendl-Rast

Paperback:  Paulist Press, 1984
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]

I hope you enjoy this and find it challenging:

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Love and Prayers in the Holy Land

 
A Feature Review of 

Where Jesus Prayed: Illuminating The Lord’s Prayer in the Holy Land
Danielle Shroyer

Paperback: Paraclete Press, 2015
Buy now: [ Amazon ]   [ Kindle ]

 

Reviewed by Alex Joyner

 

On my initial visits to the Holy Land I felt under-mapped.  Overlaid on every piece of terrain I visited there were lines and boundaries – some seen, (like the security barrier that snakes along as fence and concrete wall), some unseen, (like the real and present divisions between Palestinian and Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem).  I was always uncertain of the significance of the land where I was standing.

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