Readers wanting an accessible, practical introduction to Franciscan prayer will enjoy The St. Francis Prayer Book: A Guide to Deepen Your Spiritual Life. Jon Sweeney (editor of The Road to Assisi: The Essential Biography of St. Francis) offers two introductory chapters about St. Francis's approach to prayer, including memorable stories and helpful information about praying with the scriptures. Part II takes the reader through the daily office and various occasional prayers, including the famous "Canticle of Brother Sun." (Paraclete, $13.95 paper 144p ISBN 1-55725-352-8; Feb.)

Thomas À Kempis's four-part treatise The Imitation of Christ is presented in a lovely illustrated edition in The Imitation of Christ: Illustrated with Illuminated Manuscripts. This full-color gift book pairs 40 passages from the 15th-century text with details from one of the British Library's illuminated manuscripts, including the Sherborne Missal, the Luttrell Psalter and the Bedford Hours. (Ignatius, $19.95 96p ISBN 1-58617-011-2; Feb. 10)