Monday, February 14, 2011

Book Review – In Constant Prayer by Robert Benson

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From the Publsher:

Why is it important to pray as the early Christians did? And what does it mean to pray without ceasing? In Constant Prayer explores the ancient practice of fixed-hour prayer, a structure for our lives where we can live in continuous awareness of God’s presence and reality. This classic discipline of praying at fixed times during the day and night has transformed the lives of millions around the world. Learn what the apostle Paul meant when he encouraged the Thessalonian church to “pray without ceasing, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

The Ancient Practices is a new eight-book series from Thomas Nelson Publishers that covers the seven essential spiritual disciplines. Though various books have covered some of these in the past, there has never been a definitive series until now. Immensely compelling and readable, each book also features a foreword by Phyllis Tickle.

The church that I go to is very *NOT* liturgical, and it’s really the only church I’ve attended, so the whole idea of the daily office is brand new to me. This book did a good job explaining what it is and more importantly, why it should be an important part of our lives. What this book does not cover is the how and specifically what to pray during the daily office. The author makes sure to give resources that cover that material.

Each chapter has several stories from the author’s experience, seemingly unrelated to each other. In the latter part of each chapter, he draws them all together to prove the point of the chapter. I found this style of writing refreshing and easier to read than a lot of non-fiction books which hammer the point throughout the chapter with little stories tucked here and there. It made the points seem more personal and easier to internalize.

The author has a very good sense of humor, although it did take me a little bit to catch it. At first, I couldn’t tell when he was being serious and when he was being facetious. Once I caught on, however, I was laughing aloud and ended up reading large chunks out loud to explain to my husband what I was laughing about.

Reading this book in conjunction with doing B90 Days has really opened my eyes to the calling of God on me to rise earlier for the purpose of starting my day with Him. As I prayerfully attempt to do this more, I find my time multiplied and my heart more open to what he has for me each day.

After reading this book, I may or may not start praying the daily office, but at least I know what it is and why I might choose to do that in the future. I also have a good idea of where I would go next to find more information thanks to the appendices.

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~S

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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