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Answering God: The Psalms as Tools for Prayer Paperback – April 26, 1991


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Answering God: The Psalms as Tools for Prayer + Praying with the Psalms: A Year of Daily Prayers and Reflections on the Words of David + A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; Reprint edition (April 26, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060665122
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060665128
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.2 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Guidelines for using the Psalms as prayer.

About the Author

Eugene H. Peterson, author of The Message, a bestselling translation of the Bible, is professor emeritus of spiritual theology at Regent College, British Columbia, and the author of over thirty books. He and his wife, Jan, live in Montana.


More About the Author

Peterson, now retired, was for many years James M. Houston Professor of Spiritual Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. He also served as founding pastor of Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air, Maryland. In addition to his widely acclaimed paraphrase of the Bible, The Message (NavPress), he has written many other books.

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Customer Reviews

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Eugene Peterson is the perfect person to write this book.
NotATameLion
I would highly recommend this excellent little book for every pastor and layman alike.
William D. Curnutt
I used this in my devotions and found it very thought provoking and meditative.
Pres rev

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

75 of 76 people found the following review helpful By NotATameLion on August 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
I have to agree with the reviewer of August 7, 2001's enthusiasm for this book. I first read "Answering God: The Psalms As Tools for Prayer" when I checked it out of a local library. The book so moved and changed me that I had to stop midway, turn the book back in at the library, and order a copy.
"Answering God" is the kind of book that helps the reader open doors that have always be locked to them. In my case, it has revolutionized the way I pray while giving the Psalms greater meaning to me.
It is a small book of great depth. It looks at the Psalms--warts and all. It digs deep into the topics it discusses. It looks at the basic questions of what a Psalm consists of. It then teaches what prayer is and how it affects those who pray. It follows this by teaching the reader how to pray the Psalms.
This book is full of practical advice and direction. Eugene Peterson is the perfect person to write this book. He is an expert in the field of prayer...not because of any degree he holds but because he is a deep person of prayer (this will be crystal clear to anyone who reads the book). Peterson is a trusted guide for the sometimes unforgiving terrain of the Psalms.
I give "Answering God" my most heartfelt recommendation. I urge you to get a copy today.
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By GA Williams on August 7, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just placed an order for six more copies of this book to give to friends and family ... and that's only a start. Am I new to the Bible? Not hardly. I'm one of those "veteran" Christians who has been active in church and other ministries all my life. Even so, "Answering God" introduced me to the Psalms in a way I've never before experienced. I'm excited about using the Psalms to help me develop a deeper, richer prayer life. As Peterson writes: "Prayers are tools for being and becoming ... The Psalms come from a people who hear God speak to them and realize that it is the most important word they will ever hear spoken. They decide to respond." So have I.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Michael Christensen on June 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
Peterson delves into the literary components of the Psalms to bring out the passion and the purpose of the Psalms in community and individual life. His love for Psalms and the reality of its content further illuminates the power behind the emotion, the praise, and the faith of Israel's musicians and priests. Peterson writes with such a great command of language (both English and Hebrew) that his writing can leave you wondering if you caught what he is saying. It reminded me of reading a CS Lewis book. I always feel like I'm missing the nuances of what he is saying but am awed at how he puts it into words.
This is a tremendous book if you want to begin to read the Psalms with the passion of King David and want to infuse your spiritual life with a more complete understanding of who God is and how we communicate with Him.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A. M. Nelson on July 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
Until I read this book, I felt that I ought to pray, even wanted to pray, but when I sat down to do it prayer seemed so complicated and burdensome, and I would come away with a haunting feeling that I never got it "right". This book taught me that prayer means listening, and responding to God--not just talking at him, or coming at him with lists. It set me free to rest in the presence of God, something I often enough ended up doing anyway, but then would feel guilty for. After all, wasn't I supposed to be "praying?" Thank you to Eugene Peterson for this beautiful, well-written, well-expressed book, which is a joy to read. I have heavily underlined and re-read my copy 3 times. It is fresh each time.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By cookman@seacoast.com on January 26, 1998
Format: Paperback
I very much enjoyed reading this book. It does have a lot of $1.00 words in it, and occasionally, I was taken back at his wordsmithing, however it is a very thoughtful book. As soon as I finished it, I started reading it over again. It is not light reading. You need to take time to digest it, Psalms in hand.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By M. Carr on May 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book was my introduction to Eugene Peterson. I immediately fell in love with it. The truth within it's pages has transformed my prayer life. Since reading this book, I have read several other of his books, but I always come back to this one.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Fr. Charles Erlandson TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
Just about anything by Eugene Peterson is going to be wise and wonderful. "Answering God" is no exception. In "Answering God" Peterson combines two important aspects of the Christian life- the Psalms and prayer - in one book. In moving ideas and beautiful language Peterson reminds us of the necessity of both prayer and the Psalms.

Peterson begins by telling us that prayer is a technology and prayers are tools. He further asserts that the Psalms are necessary, just as the Church has always taught, for they train us in prayers that are honest and comprehensive. The Psalms are our prayer masters to which we apprentice ourselves in the school of prayer. Reading the Psalms is an act of obedience because they call forth responses from us to the God who calls us.

Peterson divides his discussion of the Psalms into 10 chapters:
1. Text
2. Way
3. Language
4. Story
5. Rhythm
6. Metaphor
7. Liturgy
8. Enemies
9. Memory
10. End

As just a small sample of Peterson's wise thoughts, he writes in Chapter One ("Text") that the Psalms are poetry, which is language used with personal intensity and that prayer is language used in personal relation to God. The Psalms, for Peterson, come embedded in Holy Scripture and not as something independent. Furthermore, they were prayed by the worshipping community and should be today. They are, as well, the primary means by which we develop our lives in worshipping communities.

Every chapter is filled with similar wonderful insights. If you're looking for a book on either the Psalms or on prayer, "Answering God" would be an excellent choice. Highly recommended.
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