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Pray without Ceasing: Revitalizing Pastoral Care Paperback – August 10, 2006


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Pray without Ceasing: Revitalizing Pastoral Care + Listening and Caring Skills in Ministry: A Guide for Groups and Leaders + Creating a Healthier Church: Family Systems Theory, Leadership and Congregational Life (Creative Pastoral Care and Counseling Series)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (August 10, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802847595
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802847591
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #142,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Pray Without Ceasing . . . [speaks] with beauty, grace, pastoral sensitivity and spiritual depth." Professor Rodney Hunter, Emory University -- Journal of Pastoral Theology, Spring 2007

"Van Deusen Hunsinger . . . is clearly a luminary, bringing to the understanding of pastoral care a depth of theological wisdom, pastoral sensitivity and a creative imagination." Professor Paul Ballard, Cardiff University -- Theological Book Review, Vol 18, No. 2, 2006

From the Back Cover

"Pray without Ceasing is a treasure of biblical, theological, pastoral, and practical reflections on this vital Christian practice." Leanne Van Dyk, Western Theological Seminary. "A beautifully written, theologically astute and spiritually wise text that will guide all of us who seek to be faithful in the ministry of pastoral care." Andrew Purves, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

"A must-read for both new and seasoned caregivers, ordained and lay alike." Allan Hugh Cole Jr. Austin Theological Seminary


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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 7 customer reviews
Hunsinger presents prayer and pastoral care in such a fresh way.
JRM
This is a nice departure from the therapeutic approach to pastoral care that still dominates, but is waning thanks to books like this.
Friar
A church person myself, what I learned suprised me, as well as enriched me.
Dorothy W. Martyn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By George R. Pasley on May 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
I like this book so much I wrote two mini-reviews of praise during my reading of it. As I got closer to the end, I liked it more and more. I bought an extra copy and had it shipped to a friend before I was through. I think it deserves a place on every pastor's bookshelf, but it should not stay long on the shelf- it deserves to be read over and over again.

One reason I like the book so much is that it serves two purposes, and each of those for at last two audiences. Yet all are bound together in one integrated narrative, as best described in the opening paragraph: "Pastoral care cannot be Christian unless conducted in a spirit of reverence. The work of prayer is integral to every step. If we believe that it is finally God who provides what is needed, then prayer is not optional" (p. 1). This theme is woven into the rest of the book. In the chapter on prayers of lament, Hunsinger describes Job's unseen encounter with the Holy Spirit, then writes: "The unique history that unfolds between God and Job is a paradigm for pastoral care. The decisive encounter is shown to be not between the caregiver and the afflicted, but between the afflicted one and God" (p. 149)

Hunsinger presents first a "Theology of Koinonia" in which "prayer in the context of pastoral care draws persons into intimate fellowship with God and one another" (p. 3), then lays solid groundwork for understanding that prayer is the essence of communion with God.

Chapters two, three and four speak to the listening aspect of prayer- listening to God, listening to each other, and listening to ourselves. Chapters five, six, seven, eight and nine speak to distinctive types of prayer.

The book is thus both a primer on pastoral care, and a primer on prayer.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dorothy W. Martyn on January 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
Initially a bit wary of this book title, since (as a psychotherapist) I am allergic to most things pious, I was thunderstruck from the first chapter. A church person myself, what I learned suprised me, as well as enriched me.

This splendid work by a professor of pastoral care, thoroughly grounded in theology, counseling, psychology, and literature as well -- not only revitalizes pastoral care; it also revitalizes FAITH in the true sense of the word.

Of the many ways in which I feel indebted to this book, two are especially important to me.

1) The church at its core is a community of mutuality centered in the relationship with Christ among us. Caring for each other means mutual hearing, mutual seeing, mutual service, and mutual joy, made possible by the love of the Lord working in us as a community. These are gifts bestowed upon an intimate fellowship of love that reaches beyond itself, indeed to the world. This koinonia, as it is expressed in Greek, is the subject of the first chapter that stunned me so. It is the sole purpose of pastoral care, which is an end in itself, not a tool in the desire to obtain other ends.

2) This truth includes the second one: the distinction between pastoral care and pastoral counseling from the practice of PSYCHOTHERAPY. The elegant and compelling distinction between the two is on pages 13 and 14 of the book. If you are interested in either of these disciplines, just buy the book, and start there. It is only the beginning of the treasures, but it is most revealing.

If you should be simply a titular "believer", or a church goer with a vague notion of what is going on there, or an interest in prayer as a subject to know more about, READ THIS BOOK.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By JRM on September 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
I loved reading it!!! Amazing! I've already recommended it to several people. As I was reading it, I kept thinking about how much fun it was to have excerpts from the Bible, Barth and others entwined for me to read, savor, and re-read. Hunsinger presents prayer and pastoral care in such a fresh way. Deeply grounded. Rich examples. Beautiful writing. In fact, sometimes I had to stop to reflect on the beauty of particular sentences. Thank you for the hard work and prayer that brought this book to life. It is a great gift to the church.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robert R. Hostetler on November 25, 2010
Format: Paperback
Deborah Van Deusen Hunsinger's book, Pray Without Ceasing (Revitalizing Pastoral Care) makes a thorough and persuasive case for the inseparable, inter-relatedness of prayer and pastoral care.

Dr. Hunsinger is the Charlotte W. Newcombe Professor of Pastoral Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary, and it shows in this book, not only in her expertise, but in her tone. While the book's tone might scare off a more casual reader, the content and cohesiveness of the case she makes will make it a rewarding read for anyone, both pastor and academic. She challenges pastors to put prayer at the center of their vocation. and theological reflection.

Drawing on a wide variety of voices, from Bonhoeffer and Barth to von Balthasar and Wendell Berry, Hunsinger begins her book with the three foundational disciplines of spiritual reading, careful listening, and self-reflection. She then goes on to explore prayers of petition, intercession, lament, confession, and praise, thanksgiving, and blessing, before offering a short conclusion along with an addendum and three appendices.

Some of Hunsinger's concluding words in chapter five, "Prayers of Petition," give a taste of the wisdom and wealth available in this volume:

Those who offer pastoral care will soon burn out emotionally and spiritually if their own lives are not undergirded by prayer. The difficult work of being present to others is not possible apart from dependence upon God's own presence. Those who drink from the well of prayer will have a reliable spring of refreshment from which to draw.

While I would venture a guess that every pastor or spiritual director would agree that prayer is absolutely essential to pastoral care, this book should be more than sufficient to persuade any reader not only to believe it, but to do it.
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