Prayer For Beginners Paperback – Feb 1 2000
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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!
Most recent customer reviews
The unanswered question is this: Why pray to an alleged deity who allows and even (if the Old Testament is to be believed) commands the destruction of the innocent? Read morePublished on July 3 2004
Awe inspiring in simple prose and stating simple facts. The book gives a rational explanation of why we must suffer. Read morePublished on July 19 2001 by scott sirk
Read this book to as many of God's creatures as possible. Read it to the demons & they shall be converted. Read it to the desert waste; it shall rejoice and bloom. Read morePublished on May 27 2001 by Thomas E. Defreitas
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