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Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers: Prayer for Ordinary Radicals [Paperback]

Shane Claiborne , Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Sept. 16 2008
"Prayer is not so much about convincing God to do what we want God to do as it is about convincing ourselves to do what God wants us to do." —from the Introduction

Activists Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove show how prayer and action must go together. Their exposition of key Bible passages provides concrete examples of how a life of prayer fuels social engagement and the work of justice. Phrases like "give us this day our daily bread" and "forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors" take on new meaning when applied to feeding the hungry or advocating for international debt relief.

If you hope to see God change society, you must be an ordinary radical who prays—and then is ready to become the answer to your own prayers.

Frequently Bought Together

Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers: Prayer for Ordinary Radicals + Common Prayer Pocket Edition: A Liturgy For Ordinary Radicals + Irresistible Revolution
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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but the same March 29 2013
By M. Thom
Format:Paperback
I really enjoy both of these young men and their passion to authentically follow Jesus' call. This is a good book. However, if you are familiar with both authors then much of the stories are already well-know to the reader. Still a good book, and good price. If you have not read any of their works yet then I would definitely recommend the purchase.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a small book written with great love Oct. 8 2008
By Scandalous Sanity - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Shane Claiborne, mostly known for his book The Irresistible Revolution and Jesus for President, has teamed up with Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, author of New Monasticism and Free to Be Bound, to explore the nature of prayer as it concerns to "ordinary radicals."

The book explores in depth three major prayers found within the new testament. They focus on the Lord's Prayer, Jesus' prayer for his disciples in John 17, and Pauls prayer to the church in Ephesians(1:15-23). The over running theme, as they look at these three examples of prayer, is that prayer necessitates action.

The book is extremely well written. The two voices of the authors intermingle so well that, without the help of parenthetical notings, one would assume that there is but one voice coming from the pages. Whether this is intentional or not, I can't say. But it does further drive home another major point, that we are to be one in spirit.

The book hits on issues of politics, economics, community, justice, the Holy Spirit, and the intricacies of prayer found within all of these. Anybody who is looking for a book with some girth to it concerning prayer this book would be a beneficial read. It takes no attention away from the art of praying or the church, but pushes for reflection on the prayers of the saints and early christians so that we may see that prayer becomes mere murmering to God when we fail to follow up with appropriate actions. Instead of praying for people's burdens, this book will push you to make others burdens your own, as we are called.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Book on (un)Common Prayer Oct. 22 2008
By Eric N. Tonjes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Many teachers I've read tend to emphasize what prayers does, not to God, but to the person praying. They argue that the primary purpose of prayer is to make our hearts more like God's rather than His more like ours. I'm inclined to agree, at least in large part, and this is the tact taken by Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove in their new book Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers: Prayer for Ordinary Radicals. The two authors examine the Lord's Prayer, Jesus' high priestly prayer from John 17, and a prayer of Paul, all the while asking the question "How should the priorities here inform the way we live?"

Those of you who have read Shane before will see many of the same themes here: social justice, community, love for the least of these. He and Jonathan do a pretty good job of linking them to the texts themselves. At the same time, I felt like this book was a clear demonstration of the fact that, despite accusations to the contrary, they're thoroughly evangelical.

Two things stood out to me about this book. One was the way the authors managed to pull off an admirable co-writing project. Rather than simply writing different parts of the book as individuals, the two consistently use the plural when talking about themselves, slipping into singular only to tell personal stories (of which there are a number; both these young men have certainly lived eventful lives). I was impressed by how well they worked as a team.

The other thing I liked were the prayers interspersed through the book. Interspersed with the text are little boxes with different prayers from saints and liturgies. Many of these were fantastic, and I especially appreciated how historically-rooted and catholic the selection was. Too many young evangelicals have never been exposed to the rich tradition we have from the early and medieval church, and this is a good place to start.

My biggest complaint about this book is that the actual exegesis of Scripture is a mixed bag. Shane and Jonathan clearly have an agenda coming to the texts, and I think there are times that this shows in their readings of the different prayers. They have a tendency to read a text and then take one application and say "Here! This is what it means!" This is fine as long as it's recognized that it's one of many things you could do with the text, but at times I get the feeling the authors would feel like their emphasis is the only one the prayers could give you, and I'm not so sure. That said, I don't want to be too harsh on them; every time you use a text to make a point you necessarily do this, and I'm not unhappy with the points they're making.

I enjoyed this book. It came at a time when my life has been busy, so I feel like I wasn't able to soak in it as much as I would have liked. However, I think some of the prayers littered throughout it will pay rich dividends down the road, so I'm sure I'll be picking it up again.

I'd recommend the book if you like Shane or Jonathan, or more general if you are active in areas of social justice and struggle to connect that with your prayer life. I should note that this is not a manual on how to pray. If you're a new believer or someone seeking advice in this area, I'd recommend Thomas Watson's The Lord's Prayer and Andrew Murray's With Christ in the School of Prayer.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lacking Clarity but Needs to Be Heard Oct. 20 2008
By Andrew Means - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I think Shane did so amazing on Jesus for President that I went into this book with very high expectations. I think that both Shane and Jonathan have amazing stories and experiences that need to be shared and so I was disappointed in how desultory the book felt. I didn't quite always get the connection between the prayers they were using and what they were saying and I think they could have done a better job connecting prayer and action.

That being said, these men deserve a voice. They are doing amazing things with their lives and they have something to share. And there are definitely glimpses of that in this book, I just think it could have been better.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars didn't live up to my expectations Jan. 22 2009
By C. Box - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
i previewed this book, looking at the table of contents and reading a little bit of the introduction. i was excited to see that the book was going to comment on three of the most famous prayers in the Bible, the Lord's Prayer, Jesus' High Priestly Prayer, and Paul's prayer for the Ephesians. I was also excited by the title and the fact that it was written by shane claiborne. unfortunately, this book was pretty fluffy with little content. its full of lots of stories and a few challenging examples...but many of the stories are simply cut and pasted from claiborne's "irresistable revolution." although it touched on the biblical prayers, none of the theological implications of the prayers were explored, and not much practical application was given. save the money and buy a book with a little more weight behind it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A psychographic that transcends age and other demographic categories March 4 2009
By FaithfulReader.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
It's both rare and refreshing to discover a new perspective on prayer. But if anyone can provide that perspective, it's Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove. Each is a prominent voice in what has come to be known as the "new monasticism" movement, which is characterized in part by an emphasis on prayer and communal living among the poor.

Not surprisingly, BECOMING THE ANSWER TO OUR PRAYERS also places an emphasis on prayer coupled with action. "Prayer is not so much about convincing God to do what we want God to do as it is about convincing ourselves to do what God wants us to do," the authors write in the introduction. That may mean not just praying that a homeless family finds shelter but actually opening your home to them, becoming the answer to your prayer.

Each of the book's three sections focuses on one of the three most familiar prayers in the New Testament: the Lord's Prayer, Jesus' prayer for unity in John 17 and Paul's prayer in Ephesians 1:15-23 that the followers of Christ would discover God's wisdom and power for their own lives. While the connection between the content and the particular prayer isn't always that strong or obvious, the authors pepper those chapters with relevant stories from their lives and the lives of others who are part of intentional communities --- and those anecdotes breathe life into the entire book. Claiborne and Wilson-Hartgrove leave no doubt that they live the life they encourage others to live.

Jesus, they write, brought to His time and place the concept of a new social order revolving around community, one that closely linked grace with liberation. Hospitality was intended to be a far more profound practice than simply welcoming guests into their homes. At the heart of community and hospitality is Jesus' command to His disciples to carry little with them on their journeys and to stay at homes along the way: "The disciples were not sent out in the simple poverty of an ascetic life but with a new vision of interdependence, trusting that God would provide for them." Instead of isolating ourselves by creating a super-pious community, Christians are to join with "broken sinners and evildoers in our world crying out to God, groaning for grace."

Claiborne and Wilson-Hartgrove are two young men who have the wisdom to speak to a psychographic that transcends age and other demographic categories. They have an established following among readers within that psychographic, and that means long-time readers of their books will find lots of familiar material in BECOMING THE ANSWER TO OUR PRAYERS. But that's not necessarily a bad thing, since these authors preach a message that bears repeating.

Recommended for anyone interested in social justice, intentional communities and the new monastics, as well as Christians who have grown beyond books on how to pray and want to learn instead how to live out the prayers they're already praying.

--- Reviewed by Marcia Ford
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