THE CONTEMPORARIES MEET THE CLASSICS ON PRAYER

Leonard Allen, Compiled by . Howard $17.99 (290p) ISBN 978-1-58229-287-8

This eclectic compilation of writings on prayer, gleaned from a myriad of Christian faith traditions both past and present, should appeal to a wide audience. The author, a visiting professor at Biola University in California, sets out to encourage Christians to find "a fuller, richer prayer life," expand their understanding of prayer's historic tradition and recover dimensions of prayer that may be neglected or unknown in contemporary church life. The collection is organized using 10 themes—all beginning a bit cloyingly with the letter "P" (Psalms, Passion, Posture, etc.). Kicking off the book is Ole Hallesby's striking essay "Why Should We Pray?" which sets the tone for the compilation, eschewing the idea that prayer is about getting something from God. This collection is an ambitious project, and makes for unlikely bedfellows—Evelyn Underhill and Shirley Dobson; Mother Teresa and Stormie Omartian; Joni Eareckson Tada and Jonathan Edwards. Here, cheek-by-jowl, mystics rub shoulders with charismatics, and Catholics hobnob with Protestants who mingle with the Orthodox. Several reader favorites may be omitted (Billy Graham, PW contributing editor Phyllis Tickle), but most of the expected ones make at least a brief appearance—some authors more than once. Allen succeeds in creating an opportunity for readers to examine prayer in all its facets as understood by a broad spectrum of writers of faith, and vividly reminds readers that prayer is both timeless and relevant. The delightful and sometimes startling juxtapositions make this collection one that will invite personal reflection. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 02/10/2003
Release date: 02/01/2003
Paperback - 290 pages - 978-1-4767-4107-9
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