Saturday, December 25, 2010

In Constant Prayer, Robert Benson & Phyllis Tickle

If you are Catholic you might love this book – if not you might find it difficult to read. I was interested in reviewing this book as I am always interested in growing spiritually. In fact I believe in both the discipline of prayer and bible study. I was hoping to find within the cover of this book new ideas on how to organize and creatively set aside time for prayer. However, what I discovered was far from this. I found an attitude almost akin to the Pharisees of Jesus’ time. Prayer was approached as a must do every three hours with the aim to attain power or favors from the Lord God. This was more about the keeping of a ritual for the benefit of one’s self than the keeping of a relationship for the betterment of one’s spiritual life and the physical as well. I approach my prayer time as an avenue to visit with my Father – not for what my Father can do according to my request (not to manipulate His will) but to hear His divine voice whisper across time and age to speak to my heart. I also found it a little offensive to be advised in the “ancient practice of the office” (i.e. prayer time) by a person who felt that he must swear that certain events transpired because of the “keeping of the office”. If I recall correctly one of the ten commandments states Thou Shall not SWEAR and if you hold this to mean profanity it again states in the new Testament that one should not swear by the earth or stars – that one’s yes or no should be sufficient. This is a difficult book to tread through and complicates the beautiful time of prayer. Christ spent time with His Father to be renewed, led, comforted, etc. I spend time with my Father to better know him and to hear His leading in my life. I approach prayer like I do my relationship with others – I must purposefully set aside time to invest in that relationship by calling, writing, visiting or any other means to spend time with that person. Just as I set aside time each night to pray over each of my children and then to spend a few moments visiting with each one. I would not recommend this book.
Thank you Thomas Nelson for this review copy.

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