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Prayer For Beginners [Paperback]

Peter Kreeft
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 1 2000
Peter Kreeft brings his unique insights to this most important area of our spiritual lives. He claims he himself is still a beginner in prayer, and this book is for all those, like him, who feel that they are not good at praying but desire to become much better at it. Thus, Kreeft offers simple, but profound advice and practical steps for developing a prayer life based on the time-tested wisdom of the saints and great spiritual writers, especially the principles found in Brother Lawrence's classic, The Practice of the Presence of God. In short, straight-forward and unsentimental chapters, Kreeft covers all the key areas for understanding and developing that intimate form of communication with our Creator that we call prayer. He covers such areas as the necessity of prayer, various motives and methods, steps, patience, suffering, sin, faith, and grace.

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Prayer For Beginners + Before I Go: Letters to Our Children About What Really Matters + Making Sense Out of Suffering
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

This accessible, brief primer on prayer asserts that any Christian can, and is in fact commanded to, pray to God unceasingly. Kreeft, a Boston College philosophy professor who has written more than 25 books on religion, attempts to teach "Prayer for Dummies" and "Prayer for Marthas" (i.e., those who are so busy attending to daily life that they feel they have no time to pray). Kreeft encourages beginners to commence with vocal prayer, regarding silent, contemplative prayer as a more advanced skill. Beginners must learn to "stop, look, and listen," with special emphasis on listening. (Since prayer is a form of conversation, and since we must attend carefully to the wisest person in any conversation, Kreeft asserts that "we ought to be listening most of the time" when speaking with God.) Prayers can begin with a RAPT structure: Repentance, Adoration, Petition and Thanksgiving. Another powerful novice prayer, says Kreeft, is the "Jesus prayer"; simply invoking Jesus' name is in itself a creative, prayerful act. Kreeft offers advice on handling distractions ("Get right back on the horse every time you fall off," he counsels straying minds) and on the more thorny issue of avoiding prayer because of unconfessed sin. Kreeft's approach is basically nondenominational, though references to the catechism and to perfecting prayer in Purgatory suggest that Catholics may find the book more helpful than other readers. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for beginners March 25 2004
Format:Paperback
This book is written in a simple and straightforward way yet it also contains much insight . It is for anyone who wants a better understanding of how to pray and what prayer means to a christian. The book starts off with why we should pray then goes into the effects of prayer and it's importance . Then we learn different methods of prayer and the role of faith in our prayer life. There is an ancronym used in the book to help us remember what to say in prayer. The acronym is RAPT, which stands for: Repentance,Adoration, Petition, and Thanksgiving. The book also talks about obstacles to prayer, such as sin and distractions.The last couple of chapters deal with suffering and Grace. This is another practical and helpful book by peter kreeft.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prayer is Simple and Essential May 19 2004
Format:Paperback
That is the message of Peter Kreeft in this small book with short chapters. In my opinion, the most striking chapter is on the Jesus Prayer as the "shortest, simplest, and most powerful prayer in the world" (p. 53). Also striking is Kreeft's analysis of the suggestion that prayer is a waste of time by pointing out that through prayer God will instead multiply our time (p. 124). As usual with Kreeft, the book is full of gems of insight that will strike readers in different personal circumstances with varying levels of significance. That is as it should be. There is something in this book for just about everyone.
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By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book is a wonderful guide for anyone who wants to begin praying in a more meaningful way, but doesn't know how to begin. It has changed my prayer life immeasurably... and I can feel my every day life being transformed as well.
I spent years thinking that I was doing something wrong when I prayed. I never felt any kind of internal "high," which I assumed was a sign that I was truly praying. I always felt rather like a fraud when I prayed, because I was sure I was doing something wrong.
This book helped me in so many ways. It dispelled the myth that there is some kind of special "feeling" you get when you pray. There is a list of ten reasons to pray that really opened my eyes up to why this is so necessary... the first one is that "only prayer can change the world," and that is so powerful all by itself. It doesn't tout a method of prayer, but gives strategies to begin and keep praying. It talks about what faith really means: "God said it, and I believe it, and that's that."
Most helpfully, it opened my eyes to the value and peace of praying in "words." Reciting the Lord's Prayer or prayerfully reading the Psalms isn't taking the "easy way out," as I always assumed. I always had the impression that "real" prayer is some kind of wordless conversation with God, and that only children need words to recite. Peter assures the reader that "mental prayer" is more difficult, and it comes naturally for very few people. The rest of us can be assured that we are not cheating by using the words of others to open ourselves to God.
I am Catholic, and this book is geared toward Catholics. However, I would recommend it for any Christians struggling with getting started.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not really for beginners. Aug. 9 2002
Format:Paperback
I think Peter Kreeft is a great thinker and writer. But be forewarned. If you are a person looking to begin a prayer life or you are a person looking to bring more meaning to your prayer life, I WOULD NOT suggest this book. At the beginning the book reaches out and grabs you with its potential. But as time goes by may become mired in lots of philosophical "if then" statements.
My thinking is that most people buying this book want some help. They are looking for a "how to" book and this is not that book. A better book might be Prayer Primer by Fr. Thomas Dubay.
I'm sure there are some that will get much out of this, but if you are a beginner to both prayer and a Christian life, you will find this book a problem.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Kreeft makes another direct hit Jan. 4 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Kreeft is straight-forward and direct. His thinking and writing are clear. This is book is immensely practical. It is small enough to be completed in a short time and deep enough to warrant re-reading whenever the beginning pray-er needs a boost.
Kreeft's point is that we must begin to pray. Kreeft first motivates. Then he offers an intelligent summary of the major forms of prayer and the progression from rote to contemplative prayer.
Kreeft speaks directly to the reader - to me - when he asks if I really want to pray, or if, by reading a book on prayer, I have deluded myself into thinking that I am doing it. What a challenge! What clarity of purpose!
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