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Kneeling with Giants: Learning to Pray with History's Best Teachers Paperback – March 22, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 238 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books (March 22, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780830835621
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830835621
  • ASIN: 0830835628
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #221,657 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Here is a book that invites each of us to learn how to pray. Not only is Gary Hansen a superb scholar and historical theologian, he also writes with a personal warmth and earnestness that makes his readers feel safe and encouraged as they trace with him the journeys of a company of remarkable men and women from Christian history. The mark of each was that they cared deeply about prayer, and because of that we are enriched as we learn from them. Hansen also invites us to experience our own life of prayer as we learn from this rare community of brothers and sisters--people like St. Benedict, Martin Luther, Ignatius of Loyola, St. Teresa of Ávila and Andrew Murray. I was personally challenged and encouraged in each chapter, and I recommend this book enthusiastically." (Rev. Earl F. Palmer, Earl Palmer Ministries)

"Prayer is one of those areas where one model or one mentor just isn't enough. I've never been good at prayer, and mostly blamed my lack of discipline. But Kneeling with Giants is changing all that as I am now experimenting with many more ways to pray--and doing so under the tutelage of some of God's great heroes of faith. Gary Hansen has provided us with a very practical guide drawn from these saints' actual prayer practices. He also supplies wonderful materials at every turn to make the journey rich and expansive. This is a unique and wonderful resource!" (Stephen Hayner, president, Columbia Theological Seminary)

"By seeing prayer through some of church history's most valuable mentors, this book leads us into practices that are both deep and accessible. It is a book that informs, invites and nourishes our hunger for God. Feast in it!" (Mark Labberton, author of The Dangerous Act of Worship)

About the Author

Gary Neal Hansen (Ph.D., Princeton Theological Seminary) is associate professor of church history and the chair of the history and theology division at University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. He has written numerous articles and papers for academic journals and conferences. Hansen and his wife live in Iowa with their young son and daughter.

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Customer Reviews

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Hansen provides an appendix describing possible ways to use this book in classes or small group studies.
Amazon Customer
The historical figures Hansen chooses for teaching these prayer styles are St. Benedict of Nursia, Martin Luther, and the "Pilgrim" of The Prayer of the Pilgrim.
Jeff Borden
Really a unique approach and excellent survey of various ways of prayer from all corners of the Christian tradition.
Nathaniel Rhoads

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Borden VINE VOICE on May 23, 2012
Format: Paperback
Kneeling with Giants: Learning to Pray with History's Best Teachers

"Excellent, excellent, excellent...this is really great stuff here!" These are the thoughts and the words that I've found coming to mouth and mind over and over again as I have read and referenced from Gary Hansen's book Kneeling with Giants. This is an exceptional book; it will prove to be an invaluable resource for years to come as I integrate it with my teaching and discipleship methods. At a personal level, it will prove to be an invaluable resource for my own spiritual development and maturation as I incorporate some of the prayer applications with my current disciplines.

I was excited when I first saw this book offered by InterVarsity Press. While I have studied prayer disciplines across many traditions of the Christian church, I have not found a resource that has been as ecumenical as this; they may exist, but I have not found any before I received this book. This is a very good thing. Gathering a diverse sampling of prayer methods, Kneeling with Giants, provides a safe way of exposing people to different styles of prayer and ultimately communing with God. In my opinion, Gary Hansen has done a remarkable job of bringing together a solid and historically representative grouping of prayer styles. I do not think curious readers will be disappointed with what they find in these pages.

Hansen has arranged his book into four primary sections. Each of these sections represents a different "style" of prayer and includes actual historical figures (people) to help illustrate those styles. Part one gives attention to Scripture prayers and liturgical prayer such as the Divine Office, The Lord's Prayer, and The Jesus Prayer. The historical figures Hansen chooses for teaching these prayer styles are St.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lois on November 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
I have been in the process of reading this book for a number of weeks. While I usually devour books, this is such rich fare that I find myself taking it at a snail's pace, taking time to ruminate and digest the content.

This book is not a difficult read, but it is a very rich and satisfying one. Gary's voice can be heard in the writing, and it is like a visit with a wise friend.

I recommend it highly to anyone who truly wants to Kneel with the Giants of our Christian heritage, whatever your brand of Christianity.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Steven Halbert on July 6, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dr. Hansen's Book is a gem of a book on prayer.

If you follow the suggestions of how to actually use this book as a tool, it will broaden your view, take you out of your comfort zone, and deepen you relationship with God. It serves as a primer, of sorts, for different traditions and types of prayer that have been with the Church for millennia.

The beauty of this book is that Dr. Hansen gives you the history, the tradition, and the practical application of each form of prayer reviewed.

Having grown up in mostly evangelical circles, I can tell you that a number of these prayers were out of my comfort zone. I have become particularly fond of some of the prayers in the Book of Common Prayer - which was a completely foreign publication to me prior to reading Dr. Hansen's book. I was also able to have an informed discussion of the Jesus Prayer with an Orthodox priest.

Kneeling with Giants has given me new ways to approach the throne, and has increased my prayer vocabulary.

I appreciate the work Dr. Hansen has done on this book, and the practicality with which he approached the topic.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By FaithfulReader.com on June 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
I've been asked to teach a series on prayer, which has prompted me to read a lot of background material. When I saw the cover of KNEELING WITH GIANTS, I thought of a book I'd recently pulled off my shelf: SIX WAYS TO PRAY FROM SIX GREAT SAINTS. That 30-year-old volume assumed a Catholic readership, included a lot of biographical information, and frankly wasn't very helpful or practical. So I turned to Gary Neal Hansen's book hoping for something fresh. And I wasn't disappointed. Here is an engaging, informative, practical book that makes you believe you could actually try this mode of prayer.

A seminary professor of church history, Hansen seems to be writing out his class notes for a semester course on classic methods of prayer --- methods practiced and promoted by various influential Christians, specifically St. Benedict, Martin Luther, "the Pilgrim," John Calvin, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Teresa of Avila, the Puritans, the author of THE CLOUD OF UNKNOWING, Agnes Sanford and Andrew Murray. If you know just a few names of Christian history, you can see that these "giants" of the faith cover a wide theological swath.

Hansen assumes his reader is Protestant, probably evangelical, and possibly resistant to forms of prayer that divert from a rather basic form of praise and petition. Without talking down to his audience (well, mostly), he explains the "giant's" mode of prayer, often laying out a systematic teaching gleaned from across the person's writings, even if the person didn't write a treatise on prayer. In several cases, most extensively for Agnes Sanford's prayer for healing, he counters common criticism of the person's teaching. But he also warns of places where someone veers from an orthodox path or where someone can be taken to an extreme.
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