From Publishers Weekly
Jones (The Next American Spirituality
), a campus minister and associate pastor in Tennessee, opines that many people want to talk to God but don't know how; he sets out to direct our efforts and reassure us that small steps add up. Jones employs a polished style to guide the reader with a nudge rather than a shove, emphasizing the practical over the theoretical. The work does not neglect Scripture—in the nine-page first chapter alone, Jones cites Ecclesiastes, Isaiah, the Psalms and Matthew—but it focuses on telling us how to believe, not why. As it moves through ways to approach God, what we should say in prayer and how we can improve at it, the book provides many illuminating quotes from noteworthy Christians. Sharp observations keep things moving (on unanswered prayer: "The most difficult part is not the denial as much as the fear that we have been ignored"). A study guide with in-depth questions for each chapter adds to the manual's usefulness. Readers' responses will depend in large part on their acceptance of Jones's frequent references to his own experiences; for example, we hear about his meditation, jogging, family and career. Nevertheless, the encouraging tone and down-to-earth suggestions may prove useful to those who seek a better way to talk to God. (May 17)
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From Library Journal
Jones, a former pastor and editor at Christianity Today magazine, draws on his personal experience as a Christian and as a seasoned observer of human nature in this exploration of the possibilities of prayer. He considers the desire to pray and the inability to pray as two equally valid starting points for approaching the divine. Jones reflects that when we practice silence as a form of prayer, when we face our incompleteness as human beings by examining our failures, when we cultivate gratitude for our blessings, rail at God for our misfortunes, or lift others in prayer?we open life to the immense possibilities of love and hope. Jones provides reassurance and inspiration on a topic of importance to a growing number of readers.
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