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At the Still Point: A Literary Guide to Prayer in Ordinary Time Paperback – April 1, 2011

4.8 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

As we look toward Lent and Easter, I am happy to recommend a new book by Sarah Arthur, At the Still Point. In this lovely book, the author has compiled selections from Holy Scripture, along with works from 20th century writers to give her reader something new each day. When you are taken unawares in your meditations by a line of poetry from Christina Rosetti or a scene set in a novel by John Irving, Arthur offers new language in various contexts to provoke and to nudge readers toward a quiet moment with God. As we look forward to Jesus rising from his ultimate sacrifice to let us follow him on the road home, we can find a poet, a novelist, an essayist, or a musician to light the path. Enjoy this generous new book in the spirit of love, joy, and thanksgiving. —Novice Mary Cathryne Vanek, St. Placid Priory

About the Author

Sarah Arthur is a graduate of Wheaton College and Duke Divinity School. She is the author of several popular books including Walking with Frodo, Dating Mr. Darcy, and The God-Hungry Imagination. Sarah is married, the proud new mother of a baby boy, and a consultant for the C. S. Lewis Festival Board. She lives in Michigan.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Paraclete Press (May 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 155725785X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557257857
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sarah Arthur is a fun-loving speaker and the author of numerous books and resources on the intersection of faith and great stories. Her first book was the best-selling youth devotional, "Walking with Frodo: A Devotional Journey through The Lord of the Rings," followed by the award-winning "Walking with Bilbo: A Devotional Adventure through The Hobbit" (both with Tyndale). She's also the editor of the literary guides to prayer series by Paraclete Press, including "Between Midnight and Dawn: A Literary Guide to Prayer for Lent, Holy Week, and Eastertide" (Jan. 2016). A graduate of Wheaton College and Duke University Divinity School, she speaks around the country on the role of stories and imagination in spiritual formation. She lives in Lansing, Michigan, with her young sons and her husband, Tom, pastor of Sycamore Creek Church. www.saraharthur.com.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Sarah Arthur's ministry in writing is aimed at connecting the world's great literary arts with the intimacy of our own spiritual adventures. You may be familiar with two of her earlier inspirational books: Walking With Frodo: A Devotional Journey Through the Lord of the Rings and also Walking through the Wardrobe: A Devotional Quest into The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. As those titles suggest, they are invitations to "walk" with Sarah into a couple of the 20th Century's great fictional cycles.

In her new book, a prayer book especially for summers and autumns, Sarah doesn't take us into a single literary work. Instead, she's inviting us into a whole library of her favorites. If you're familiar with more formal prayer books, such as the terrific works by Phyllis Tickle like The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime, then you know that these books are designed to flip open each day (or, in Phyllis' case more than once a day). The texts invite us to throw open the windows in our prayer life and reflect on texts that we quickly make our own.

While Phyllis' popular "hours" series reaches back to traditional forms of daily prayer, Sarah carries our spiritual connections outward to such popular voices as Jane Austin and Victor Hugo. Imagine reflecting on Les Miserables (Everyman's Library) in a moment of prayer?
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Format: Paperback
This unusual devotional is a book after my own heart. Sarah Arthur has thematically arranged classic and contemporary fiction and poetry to look a little deeper at the worship inherent in the words.

Designed for use in Ordinary Time, themes range from "Seeking God's Face" to "Quarrels with Heaven" to "Rending the Veil." Readings are taken from such diverse fiction sources as The Wind in the Willows and Mansfield Park, and from poets spanning the Italian Christina Rossetti to Enuma Okoro, a contemporary Nigerian-American.

I must admit I've had this book since the beginning of Ordinary Time and now we are approaching the end of it. I haven't written a review until now because, to tell the truth, I do not know how to do it justice. However, I will try.

The daily readings pull one into an almost inadvertent practice of Lectio Divina*. It makes me slow down, look outward for God and inward for my self, and brings me to a place I haven't been before.

I usually am not drawn to poetry and the daily immersion leaves me feeling as if I've stepped out of real time when I'm done reading it. It shakes me up mentally in the best possible way. It is transformative, even if I can't label the transformation ... which, now that I think of it, may actually speak to the authenticity of the "shaking up" that these meditations carry for me.

I do wish that the publisher had provided room for the daily scripture readings instead of simply putting the reference. I, for one, am too lazy (yes, I said it and it's true) to go look up the references. It may have taken a few more pages but would have made At the Still Point a complete devotional.
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Format: Paperback
Poised to become a collector's item, this book is written with the objective of letting readers appreciate Ordinary Time using good literature and prayer guides. The 29 weeks of readings are designed for use during the period from Pentecost to Advent. Readings such as prayer guides, meditative readings, provoking thoughts and literary masterpieces, are compiled from writers, philosophers, theologians, from the Early Church to the modern era. Arthur has selected the pieces that tend to focus on helping readers to be worshipful in the reading, meditative on the praying, and to cultivate a more reflective and contemplative mood in a society often thought to be busy, distracting, and downright confusing. She calls the anthology a kind of "moonlit garden" to invite readers to walk the long Ordinary Time period, traversing the full range of spiritual experiences "from conviction to calling, quarreling to awakening, dark nights, redemption, and everything in between." The title of each week's readings is a good reference point on where the author is attempting to invite into. Each week follows a similar structure. There is an opening prayer and Scriptures to be read. There are choice readings from various writers and poets, most of them considered classics or masters of spirituality. There are opportunities to pray and reflect upon the readings. At the end of it all, there is a closing prayer, chosen from some of the best worshipful prose and poems.

I am also amazed by the huge collection of materials that dovetail so well into the theme of each week. Arthur brings together the different writers from different eras, selects their literary pieces, and let them speak for themselves. At the same time, she lets them converse with one another through the minds of the reader.
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