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Prayers for a Privileged People Paperback – April 1, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


"This is a beautiful collection of poetic and prophetic prayers, words to be prayed with, mulled over, pondered, savored and challenged by. For in this little text, we glimpse a side of Brueggemann we may not have known through his rich Scripture studies alone. Here, he draws on not only his extensive years of study and teaching of the Psalms and the prophets, but his own faith immersion in the church year and in the liturgies of the church." --Rev. Patricia Farris, Senior Minister, Santa Monica First United Methodist Church

About the Author

Walter Brueggemann is William Marcellus McPheeters Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary. A past president of the Society of Biblical Literature, he is one of today's preeminent interpreters of Scripture.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 183 pages
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press (April 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0687650194
  • ISBN-13: 978-0687650194
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #341,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Walter Brueggemann is William Marcellus McPheeters Professor of Old Testament Emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary. He is the world's leading interpreter of the Old Testament and is the author of numerous books, including Westminster John Knox Press best sellers such as Genesis and First and Second Samuel in the Interpretation series, An Introduction to the Old Testament: The Canon and Christian Imagination, and Reverberations of Faith: A Theological Handbook of Old Testament Themes.

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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Daniel B. Clendenin on November 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
For over thirty years now, Walter Brueggemann (b. 1933) has combined the best of critical scholarship with love for the local church in service to the kingdom of God. Now a professor emeritus of Old Testament studies at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, Brueggemann has authored over seventy books. Except for a three-page preface, this entire book consists of eighty-six prayers organized around six broad themes. There is no conclusion, no index, or any bibliography at the end of the book. I found myself wishing that Brueggemann had concluded with a theological-pastoral reflection on the theme of "privilege" as he sees it now in the eighth decade of his life.

Some of his prayers reflect on specific passages of Scripture. Others take their cue from the calendar, like those for Super Bowl Sunday, Income Tax Day, or Mother's Day. Still others follow lectionary days like Epiphany or Easter. The psalm-like poems or prayers embody the ancient maxim of lex orandi, lex credendi, that the way or law of prayer is the way of believing. They combine the prophetic-transgressive and the pastoral-compassionate, and demonstrate just how subversive is the act of prayer for those of us who are all too comfortable with privilege, safety, control, and competence. These prayers lead us toward a spirit of true candor about God, ourselves, and the world. I highly recommend this little gem of a book for both personal and liturgical use.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kirk W. Mccullough on September 15, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have never seen prayers like the ones Brueggemann prays here. They are powerful; they get the congregation's attention; surely they get God's attention. What a feel for the language! I am new to the worship field, although I have written for decades. My pastor has powerful prayers, and I am beginning to get the feel of public prayer, but this is a model of praying that I will work hard to approach. (Work hard = become more spiritual.)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Christopher L. Crotwell on July 6, 2009
Format: Paperback
This little volume presents the unfiltered and unflinching personal prayers of a brilliant professor who has dared to utter a faithful "truthiness" that is much needed in our world. These prayers may come as a response to a sacred text. They may arise as a response to changes in seasons (liturgical or otherwise) or perhaps to the events of nation-states.

Whatever the fuse that ignites these inspired prayers, it ultimately doesn't matter. Scriptural themes, Psalm-like intonations, political views, psycho-therapeutic analysis of self and country, poetic license, and prophetic calls for a new way all bubble up together in these words of faith. Holy writ and world-event build together in stark and beautiful conversation.

Keep in mind that this God-talk is not filled with the saccharine-sweet, comfortably sanguine language typically associated with "church" settings. No, those sorts of words are jettisoned here (along with theological jargon) in favor of the sort of risky vocabulary that can only be drawn from faithful exegesis, keen awareness of life's wounds, and harsh honesty.

Brueggemann's prayers are blunt. They dare touch upon such themes as unfulfilled waiting, the sobs of lament, the violence of culture and governments, the inhumane treatment of the poor, and the tattered reality of broken dreams. Still, there remains the low, faithful (and sometimes even playful) rumble of a voice that will not yield hope. It is a pastoral voice that is needed not just (and obviously) in those broken regions populated by the ostracized, dehumanized, or vilified. No, it is a voice also needed among those blinded by affluence and caught in the "less-than" lives of misplaced excess.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. Evans on July 6, 2009
Format: Paperback
Bible students know well the name of Walter Brueggemann, retired professor of Old Testament from Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur GA and prolific writer and scholar. Brueggemann's students also know well his prayers; the professor launched his powerful lectures with prayerful poetry full of Biblical imagery and prophetic voice. Any study of Biblical texts, Brueggemann embodied, brings an encounter with the God who both gives life and demands our allegiance.
This volume of prayers engages the reader with this God.
But be ready to be shocked, pushed, pulled, challenged, and changed if you pray these prayers from your heart. As privileged people, we tend toward sloth, indifference, and ease. Yet a genuine encounter with God promises to unsettle. These pages offer no droning monotones that repeat familiar phrases or ask for Aunt Sally to be healed. These prayers connect us to the God of the universe, God's initiating grace and steadfast love, but also to God's passion for justice, God's desire for us to change, God's compelling ways that promise to renew our hurting world.
Brueggemann students may know about his scholarship. This book gives a glimpse into the professor's heart and faith. Life with God is dynamic, full of confession and honest struggle, sincere about the difficulties of faithfulness, especially among privileged people and a world of disparity and in need of healing and peace.
This book will feed your devotional life and inspire your faithfulness.
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