Donald Spoto, Author . Viking Compass $24.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-670-03347-8

Explaining his decision to add to the innumerable books on the subject of individual prayer, Spoto asserts that the most worthwhile subjects humans can write about and mull over are those they can never fully grasp. The author of 19 celebrity biographies, Spoto brings a tempered passion and scholarly competence to the broad topic of prayer in human experience. Included in the volume are chapters on prayer as dialogue, petition, forgiveness, suffering, abandonment, serenity, loving, transformation and silence. Although he frequently refers to the spiritual traditions of Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism, Spoto, a practicing Catholic, seems better versed in the Hebrew prophets and in Christian spirituality, anchoring his book in frequent references to Christian mystics and theologians. Spoto is also an advocate for linking personal piety with moral practice: "To love God, then, means to want what is good—to seek the benefit of others in this world." An interesting blend of devotional manual and scholarly treatise, Spoto's book may appeal to prayer practitioners who, like him, find themselves fascinated by the subject of why, across cultures and continents, human beings continue to seek this profoundly personal connection to God. (Oct. 7)

Reviewed on: 10/11/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
Paperback - 238 pages - 978-0-14-219638-0
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