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Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers: Prayer for Ordinary Radicals Paperback – September 3, 2008

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Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers: Prayer for Ordinary Radicals + Red Letter Revolution: What If Jesus Really Meant What He Said? + The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 125 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books (September 3, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830836225
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830836222
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #537,630 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This latest publication from the new monasticism movement is the third book each for the two young Christian activist-authors, and it offers fresh insight on the well-worn topic of prayer. Some themes are repeated from earlier works, but the book deftly succeeds in drawing the reader out of the weeds of daily life and into a more spacious field. The text is structured around three New Testament prayers: the Lord's Prayer, Christ's intercessory prayer in Chapter 17 of the Gospel of John and Paul's prayer in the first chapter of Ephesians. From the very first pronoun of the familiar Lord's Prayer ("our"), the authors extract a compelling sermon on the power and centrality of community in Christian life and thought. The dominant theme--that prayer invites human beings into a partnership with God in answering prayer--is enlivened with earthy tales from the authors' own lives, wrenching stories of service and redemption from the people they know and lesser-known anecdotes from Christian history and sociology. Readers will never see prayer or community in quite the same way again. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"Not everyone will agree with every particular detail of biblical interpretation in this book by Claiborne and Wilson-Hartgrove, but no one can deny the truth of their main argument: God is calling each and all of us to be eager agents fulfilling His purposes in the world! This book compels us passionately to ask, in the power of the Holy Spirit, 'How am I "putting legs on my prayers"?' This is a tested book and a necessary one!" (Marva J. Dawn, teaching fellow in Spiritual Theology, Regent College, Vancouver, and author of Unfettered Hope, Joy in Divine Wisdom and My Soul Waits)

"Who learns more fully about the importance of prayer than folks living in Christian community and engaged in social activism? The authors of this wonderful little book share graciously and truthfully from the spiritual wisdom they have gathered." (Christine D. Pohl, professor of social ethics, Asbury Theological Seminary, author of Making Room)

"God always raises up new and courageous voices when the church is tempted to forget its own gospel. Here are two of those voices--and two who have been made into the answer to our own fervent prayers." (Richard Rohr, O.F.M., Center for Action and Contemplation, Albuquerque, New Mexico)

"Jonathan and Shane--along with the many friends they quote and tell stories about in these pages--are on a journey together toward a bold and beautiful way of living that makes people more truly alive. As one trying hard to stay that same course, I am more than grateful to them for sharing in such clear and practical language what they have been learning along the way about prayer, about community, and about keeping faith with God and our brothers and sisters with their backs against the wall." (Bart Campolo, writer, speaker and neighborhood minister)

"Jonathan and Shane, contemplative activists, humble prophets, and sincere lovers of humanity and God, provoke a new way of understanding prayer. Avoiding the tendency to reduce prayer to 'three easy steps' or trite formulas, Jonathan and Shane press the integrity of our prayer lives by challenging us to live into our prayerfulness. Rather than suggesting prayer as wishful thinking or hopefulness wrapped around memorized bedtime recitations, Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers recovers the essence of truly prayerful life--it's the recovery of a sacrificial embodiment of our prayers. God's answer to our prayers might be as close, or as far away, as our willingness to be available as part of the solution. Jonathan and Shane make this simple truth accessible and available, inspiring us to an authentic prayer life--a life lived to answer prayers." (Christopher L. Heuertz, international director, Word Made Flesh, and author of Simple Spirituality: Learning to See God in a Broken World)

"Claiborne and Wilson-Hartgrove have slipped the bonds of the ordinary and leapt the chasm of the customary. They have stood at brightly burning bushes that for most of us just won't catch fire. This book is a small invocation which, once prayed, calls for those who thought they knew the far country to see it for the first time. The far country is not so far as we supposed: it lies vivid and visible betwen our 'our Fathers' and our 'thy will be dones.'" (Calvin Miller, Beeson Divinity School, author of The Singer and The Path of Celtic Prayer)

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Customer Reviews

They call us to truly live out not just our own prayers, but Christ's prayers for us.
Kevin L. Nenstiel
Anybody who is looking for a book with some girth to it concerning prayer this book would be a beneficial read.
Scandalous Sanity
All in all, a very helpful tool to make you think about the prayers in Scripture in a whole different light.
Sarah A. Zeloof

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Scandalous Sanity VINE VOICE on October 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
Shane Claiborne, mostly known for his book The Irresistible Revolution and Jesus for President, has teamed up with Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, author of New Monasticism and Free to Be Bound, to explore the nature of prayer as it concerns to "ordinary radicals."

The book explores in depth three major prayers found within the new testament. They focus on the Lord's Prayer, Jesus' prayer for his disciples in John 17, and Pauls prayer to the church in Ephesians(1:15-23). The over running theme, as they look at these three examples of prayer, is that prayer necessitates action.

The book is extremely well written. The two voices of the authors intermingle so well that, without the help of parenthetical notings, one would assume that there is but one voice coming from the pages. Whether this is intentional or not, I can't say. But it does further drive home another major point, that we are to be one in spirit.

The book hits on issues of politics, economics, community, justice, the Holy Spirit, and the intricacies of prayer found within all of these. Anybody who is looking for a book with some girth to it concerning prayer this book would be a beneficial read. It takes no attention away from the art of praying or the church, but pushes for reflection on the prayers of the saints and early christians so that we may see that prayer becomes mere murmering to God when we fail to follow up with appropriate actions. Instead of praying for people's burdens, this book will push you to make others burdens your own, as we are called.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Eric N. Tonjes on October 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
Many teachers I've read tend to emphasize what prayers does, not to God, but to the person praying. They argue that the primary purpose of prayer is to make our hearts more like God's rather than His more like ours. I'm inclined to agree, at least in large part, and this is the tact taken by Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove in their new book Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers: Prayer for Ordinary Radicals. The two authors examine the Lord's Prayer, Jesus' high priestly prayer from John 17, and a prayer of Paul, all the while asking the question "How should the priorities here inform the way we live?"

Those of you who have read Shane before will see many of the same themes here: social justice, community, love for the least of these. He and Jonathan do a pretty good job of linking them to the texts themselves. At the same time, I felt like this book was a clear demonstration of the fact that, despite accusations to the contrary, they're thoroughly evangelical.

Two things stood out to me about this book. One was the way the authors managed to pull off an admirable co-writing project. Rather than simply writing different parts of the book as individuals, the two consistently use the plural when talking about themselves, slipping into singular only to tell personal stories (of which there are a number; both these young men have certainly lived eventful lives). I was impressed by how well they worked as a team.

The other thing I liked were the prayers interspersed through the book. Interspersed with the text are little boxes with different prayers from saints and liturgies. Many of these were fantastic, and I especially appreciated how historically-rooted and catholic the selection was.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Means on October 20, 2008
Format: Paperback
I think Shane did so amazing on Jesus for President that I went into this book with very high expectations. I think that both Shane and Jonathan have amazing stories and experiences that need to be shared and so I was disappointed in how desultory the book felt. I didn't quite always get the connection between the prayers they were using and what they were saying and I think they could have done a better job connecting prayer and action.

That being said, these men deserve a voice. They are doing amazing things with their lives and they have something to share. And there are definitely glimpses of that in this book, I just think it could have been better.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By C. Box on January 22, 2009
Format: Paperback
i previewed this book, looking at the table of contents and reading a little bit of the introduction. i was excited to see that the book was going to comment on three of the most famous prayers in the Bible, the Lord's Prayer, Jesus' High Priestly Prayer, and Paul's prayer for the Ephesians. I was also excited by the title and the fact that it was written by shane claiborne. unfortunately, this book was pretty fluffy with little content. its full of lots of stories and a few challenging examples...but many of the stories are simply cut and pasted from claiborne's "irresistable revolution." although it touched on the biblical prayers, none of the theological implications of the prayers were explored, and not much practical application was given. save the money and buy a book with a little more weight behind it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By on March 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
It's both rare and refreshing to discover a new perspective on prayer. But if anyone can provide that perspective, it's Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove. Each is a prominent voice in what has come to be known as the "new monasticism" movement, which is characterized in part by an emphasis on prayer and communal living among the poor.

Not surprisingly, BECOMING THE ANSWER TO OUR PRAYERS also places an emphasis on prayer coupled with action. "Prayer is not so much about convincing God to do what we want God to do as it is about convincing ourselves to do what God wants us to do," the authors write in the introduction. That may mean not just praying that a homeless family finds shelter but actually opening your home to them, becoming the answer to your prayer.

Each of the book's three sections focuses on one of the three most familiar prayers in the New Testament: the Lord's Prayer, Jesus' prayer for unity in John 17 and Paul's prayer in Ephesians 1:15-23 that the followers of Christ would discover God's wisdom and power for their own lives. While the connection between the content and the particular prayer isn't always that strong or obvious, the authors pepper those chapters with relevant stories from their lives and the lives of others who are part of intentional communities --- and those anecdotes breathe life into the entire book. Claiborne and Wilson-Hartgrove leave no doubt that they live the life they encourage others to live.

Jesus, they write, brought to His time and place the concept of a new social order revolving around community, one that closely linked grace with liberation. Hospitality was intended to be a far more profound practice than simply welcoming guests into their homes.
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