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Prayer Paperback – May 1, 1986


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 311 pages
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press (May 1, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898700744
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898700749
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 4.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #243,431 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

In this modern classic, von Balthasar illumines the nature and practice of contemplative prayer in explicit and vital connection with the mysteries of Christian revelation. His extraordinary flair for drawing spiritual implications from the most profound theological insights is brilliantly displayed on so many of its pages. This is a book on prayer that stimulates our yearning for God as it points us toward ever-deepening and authentic encounters with Him. --Margaret M. Turek, S.T.D., Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, St. Patrick's Seminary and University

Language Notes

Text: English, German (translation)

Customer Reviews

I read this book slowly and savored every single thought.
A. Doug Floyd
While this book could easily be used for a course in theology it is written with such grace and an almost poetic style that can be read by all.
Hugh Wonderly
In this book, Balthasar writes about contemplation that ignites prayer, which should also awaken and inform mission.
Peter Dubbelman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 65 people found the following review helpful By L.T. Chen on October 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
For American Christians lazily accustomed to psychospiritual pap, this book might seem overwrought and inaccessible. But don't get the wrong idea: this is not a book for arm-chair intellectuals either. Rather in this book we witness how a "kneeling theologian" savors the theological bouquet that is released in the vital practice of prayer. Doctrinally meticulous the way a lover is attentive to his beloved's every move, von Balthasar masterfully grounds Christian spirituality in Scripture and Patristic witness. Some familiarity with the Catholic tradition would help, but this book will be deeply edifying for anyone who believes that in Christ, heart and mind must interpenetrate each other--a compelling corrective to modern faith's flaky preoccupation with spirituality full of feelings and me-centeredness but void of Christological substance.
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50 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Donald S. Meador on September 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
I was very much looking forward to Prayer by Hans Urs von Balthasar. While I grew up in the Christian tradition, my particular flavor did not practice contemplative prayer. So, I was looking to expand my horizons. This book came to me highly recommended. However, I must tell the readers of this review that this in no introductory text on prayer. It is nowhere near easy reading.
The book is well written, that is certain. It is as much a systematic theology as it is a book on prayer. I graduated from seminary with a Master of Divinity and still found this book to be dense reading. Balthasar is no foreigner to philosophy and uses the language of philosophy generously. In fact, I found him hard to follow at times.
I am glad that I read this book. I value any insight I can gain to grow in my own prayer pilgrimage. But, be forewarned, this is no easy read on prayer. I hope to find a better introduction to contemplative prayer.
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46 of 56 people found the following review helpful By A. Hogan VINE VOICE on October 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
The late h.u. von balthazar, the theologian du juer of the vatican was a brilliant,cultured theological giant,and also a man of deep and profound prayer.{do not let the fact that von balthazar has been co-opted by reactionaries daunt you. he is infinitely rewarding.}This book, divided into 3 sections;the act of contemplation;the object of contemplation andthe tensions of contemplation.though von balthazar can be dense and at times obtuse,this book is rich, the prose clear and at times,poetic,befitting its subject.This book is qiute literally a lifetime companion, for i believe it contains all of von Balthazar's wisdom, eriudition, and holiness[which is ,of course, a subjective thing.]Well, well worth the effort.As an aside, the publishers have done a commendable job with the presentation of this book. The binding is excellent, the pages themselves of fine qulaity. well done all around
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Donner C. S. Tan on January 27, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have found this book to be a challenging but rewarding read. Read it through once to get an overview, second time to get her message and subsequently to chew on selected passages for their affective value. Balthasar writes in a quasi-poetic style, reminiscent of writers like Alexander Schmemann and Abraham Heschel, on the subject of prayer and contemplation. He uses the word 'contemplation' in the broad sense of lifting one's heart and mind to God. He contends that the possibility of prayer is materialised through God's self-revelation in salvation history and particularly through the Word made flesh. It is the particularity of God's engagement with the world through the historical covenants that defines and gives shape to Christian prayer. This is different from attempts to connect with the Other through self-contemplation or absorption into the absolute being. Contemplation in the Christian tradition is therefore a concrete response to the Word of God that has entered into space and time through the particularities of human lives and supremely in the life of the Son of God. The fine example of Mary in her words, 'Let it be to me according to your word' is the embodiment of Christian contemplation that allows the Word to be born in us and take us where it will.

"Contemplation's ladder, reaching up to heaven, begins with the word of scripture, and whatever rung we are on, we are never beyond this hearing of the word.... neither can we get beyond the word in its human form. It is in the humanity that we find God, in the world of sense that we find the Spirit." (preface, p.
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28 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A. Doug Floyd VINE VOICE on April 8, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is refreshing. Deep down refreshing. Balthasar is one of those rare theologians that could write beautifully. Every sentence is like a rare jewel. I read this book slowly and savored every single thought.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Book Glutton on October 16, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although we may have heard countless times, "Indeed he is not far from any one of us," [for] "In him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:27-28) and, we know, "Whoever does the will of God remains forever" (Jn 2:17), to discover the "living waters" in our lives--this underlying reality: We must "ask," "seek" and "knock." We must find quiet. We must find a way to be recollected amidst all the noise, the attractions, and distractions of the world. We must find the "meaning" of our lives. In short, we must pray--amply! In this book, Hans Urs von Balthasar tells us that anyone who would begin to take time, not just seek to know God, but simply seek and find the fundamental meaning or mystery underlying his or her existence would begin to take the necessity of prayer for granted, particularly the prayer of listening and of contemplation.

He tells us, "Existence itself was only given to us for the sake of an even earlier and even more inconceivable purpose of God "before the foundation of the world" (Eph 1:3, ff); indeed, our existence as a whole is immersed in a far deeper sea, the bottomless ocean of the love of the Father who creates natures and laws as a foil for his miracles. This is something we must be vividly aware of as we pray, contemplating the word of God: that the whole compact solidity of our creaturely being and essence, and of the everyday world in which we find ourselves and find our bearings, is afloat like a ship above the immense depths of an entirely different element (which alone is absolute and decisive), namely, the unfathomable love of the Father."

Wow! It's like he's telling us that the Father is this "living water." And, to seek and find the "living water" is to find LOVE. Von Balthasar says, "The person who prays must experience this love.
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