Learning to Pray: A Guide for Everyone

James Martin. HarperOne, $27.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06264-323-0
Jesuit priest Martin (The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything) argues prayer is for people of all religious traditions and denominations in this astute work. While Martin acknowledges that prayer and similar practices can be a cathartic “way to unburden ourselves when we’re feeling sad, angry, stressed, or frustrated,” the goal of prayer should be to deepen one’s relationship with God. By examining rote prayer, petitionary prayer, and a variety of techniques unique to his Catholic tradition, he seeks to move the reader toward “conscious conversation with God.” Martin invites readers focus on the “emotions, insights, memories, desires, images, words, feelings, and mystical experiences” one might encounter while praying. When potentially knotty theologic material appears (such as the difference between apophatic and the kataphatic prayer), the author does an excellent job of explaining it in simple language. Martin does not privilege any single form of prayer over another and frames his suggestions as “practices and preferences rather than rules and regulations.” He also addresses common questions such as “What happens when we don’t get what we pray for?” and “What does it mean to ‘feel’ something in prayer?” Those wanting to deepen their prayer practice should take a look. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 12/14/2020
Release date: 02/02/2021
Genre: Religion
Ebook - 400 pages - 978-0-06-264325-4
Paperback - 560 pages - 978-0-06-306311-2
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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