Opening To God: Lectio Divina and Life as Prayer Paperback – Oct 1 2015
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I wonder how many of us can say that our prayer life is about openness to God. It is so easy to categorize prayer as an 'act' that we start and finish at some point in the day. Some of us have longer times of prayer than others but it is almost always seen as a period of time with a beginning and end. For Benner, this is not enough. Prayer is far more than that. In a winsome way Benner encourages us to look afresh at prayer. The heart of the book (chps 3-8) take us through the 'movements' of Lectio Divina, an ancient form of prayer using scripture, allowing the words of God to penetrate deep into our spirits. But the first two chapters and the introduction are as good an introduction to what is prayer and how we should prepare for prayer than I have ever read. I challenge you to read this book and not come away from it longing not just to pray more but to live a life of prayer. This book is a great addition to the books available on prayer. The only worry is that there are so many books on prayer that this 'gem' might be overlooked. Don't overlook it.
constant awareness of His presence and deep communion to Him. Our lack of awareness of His nearness is due to our being fearful or otherwise unwilling to open ourselves to Him. he has already revealed His deep desire to be come near to us through His atoning sacrifice. Benner describes the practice of Lectio Divina as a discipline that will help one open to God's presence. Overall, I found this book to be quite uplifting and refreshing. It is a wonderful book for personal spiritual encouragement. It would be well suited for a small group discussion guide, or a message series on personal spiritual growth and learning to walk with the Lord. I would highly recommend it.
Advice on spirituality is often limitted, either because it suggests only one practical step in a multi-step effort or because it suggests a full pattern in theory but doesn't really flesh out a way to practice the theory. Benner, on the other hand, is able to offer both the theology/anthropology AND a step-by-step method of turning to God.
Take for example "The Welcoming Prayer" (154-56), which Benner suggests involves three elements: (1) recognition of a negative emotion, (2) welcome of the negative emotion, (3) surrender of the circumstance and emotion to God. One is often encouraged toward one of these pieces, but not all three. Sometimes a spiritual director will suggest noticing the body's sensations as a way of identifying the presence of negative emotions (step 1). Or one will read about Jung's "befriending the shadow," without a clear idea of how to do that (step 2). "Surrender" is a favorite concept for evangelicals and out of favor with liberation theologians (step 3). But Benner puts them all together, both in theory and in practice.
Benner uses lectio divina as a scaffolding for the book, develping each "rung" as a way of explaining his perspective on whole-person prayer. If you want a practical how-to on the traditional form of lectio divina, I'd suggest Daniel Harrington (Awake My Soul: Contemporary Catholics on Traditional Devotions). But if you want a well-rounded life of prayer and simple suggestions for turning to God ("attending, pondering, responding, and being"), see what Benner has to say.
Step 2, welcome the negative emotion? Turns out that can be done simply by speaking the words, "Welcome, emotions of _____." But don't take my word for it. Benner's words are better. Definitely read Opening to God: Lectio Divina and Life as Prayer.