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Praying with the Church: Following Jesus Daily, Hourly, Today Paperback – May 1, 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Paraclete Press (May 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1557254818
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557254818
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #182,559 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The so-called "high church" branches of Christianity have practiced liturgical prayer, or prayer with set words and at set hours, for centuries. In this folksy, practical and welcoming guidebook for Protestants unacquainted with, or perhaps even suspicious of, what he calls the "prayer book tradition" of the Church, McKnight attempts to root liturgical prayer in three things: biblical practice, a theology based on "loving God and loving others" and an ecumenical sensitivity to the riches of various Christian traditions. A professor of religious studies at North Park University and a popular writer on Christian spirituality, McKnightexplores the Jewish practice of prayer, how Jesus practiced prayer and how various denominations use the Psalms and the Bible as foundations for liturgy. He also draws from his own experiences to illustrate how Christians can use prayer books grounded in the Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Anglican traditions. "Praying with the Church," he writes, "involves allowing our own prayer lives to be adjusted to the sacred rhythms of the Church's prayer tradition." Laced with quotations from many "real-life" users, this helpful volume concludes with a chapter on how prayer book liturgies can be adapted for individual use. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


If the old practice of praying the hours is something you have considered but wanted more instruction in, this volume would be a helpful place to begin. Beginning with a treatise on Jesus, practice of prayer and then moving into a historical discussion on how the Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican traditions practiced prayer, McKnight offers ways praying the hours (or the offices) connects with each.

RELEVANT Magazine July 20, 2006

More About the Author

Born in Southern Illinois, came of age in Freeport, Illinois, attended college in Grand Rapids, MI, seminary at Trinity in Deerfield, IL.

Now a professor at North Park University.

Two children.

Kris, my wife, is a psychologist and the greatest woman on earth.

Customer Reviews

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As what amounts to an apologetic for fixed, liturgical prayers, Praying with the Church is excellent.
Chip Webb
The strongest advice he gives is that it would be best to find an experienced person to help you develop this practice in your life.
Matt Wiebe
Excellent resource that dispels a lot of misinformation about liturgical prayers free church folk like myself have been taught.
N. D. Lee

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Matt Wiebe on May 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
I was privileged enough to receive a free copy of this book thanks to the generousity of Paraclete Press in a promotion on Scot McKnight's blog. I just finished reading the book and I must say that the book was perfect at doing what it wanted to do, namely: introducing low-church Christians such as myself to the richness and depth of fixed-hour prayer.

For me, the best part of the book was McKnight's obvious but startling revelation that Jesus would have found himself within the Jewish fixed-hour prayer tradition. There is no stronger argument for fixed-hour prayer than the fact that our Lord Himself was most certainly a practitioner of it and following Him would of course mean following Him in this practice. Again, this would be obvious to many, but for those raised outside of liturgical traditions such as myself, this is a fresh insight.

Secondly, I very much appreciated McKnight's continual reminder that this is not a replacement for spontaneous prayer, but a wellspring for it. I currently find my prayer life devoid of much depth or meaning (or consistency for that matter) and the ability to pray along with some of the giants of the Church makes me not have to feel like praying in order to pray consistenly and well.

Probably the other most important point that McKnight raises is that praying in this manner does not necessarily lead to "vain repetitions" any more than telling your spouse that you love them continually will. This and the afforementioned points should clear away any ignorant debris that would prevent non-liturgically reared Christians such as myself from embracing this ancient and valuable practice.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Drew B. Moser on May 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
Having grown up in the rural, evangelical Midwest, I was raised with the limited (very limited) understanding that `liturgy' was something those `weird' churches did, and that it was dry, boring, and irrelevant. Beyond such limited knowledge, I had no idea what `hours' meant (other than a period of time consisting of 60 minutes), or what a `daily office' was (other than a place where you go to work). Little did I know the connection to a global prayer movement that has thrived for centuries.

Even though I have since learned what these terms mean, the idea of using a liturgical prayer book still seemed so foreign to me. What I needed was an easy to read primer on `praying with the church'. Thankfully, Scot McKnight delivered with his new book Praying With the Church.

Like McKnight, and countless other evangelicals, I was very familiar with the practice of praying IN the church (spontaneous prayer gatherings, `popcorn' prayer, prayer meetings, etc). But what my prayer life has lacked was an ordered prayer habit WITH the global church. Merging the two forms of prayer together, orchestrates what McKnight calls a "sacred rhythm of prayer".

This book is perfect for Christians such as me, eager to enrich one's prayer life, but lacking in instruction on how to pray WITH the church. To those from Anglican, Orthodox, Celtic, Catholic traditions, this book will simply preach to the choir (maybe Scot will follow up with Praying IN the Church for those of liturgical backgrounds!).

After some introductory comments on his personally journey of learning how to pray WITH the church, he reexamines the prayer life of Jesus, who most definitely joined in the fixed prayer schedule of first century Judaism.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Steve Hegyi III on February 21, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I got Scot McKnight's book because I have long wanted to practice fixed-hour prayer and it looked like his book would be helpful. The first part of the book is very helpful in offering rational reasons to participate in fixed-hour prayer, even if you come from a Christian Tradition that has not historically practiced this Spiritual Discipline. Of course, he also puts in a plug for another of his books "The Jesus Creed."

Section two is supposed to help walk you through some of the prayer books of various branches of the Church, however, this is were the book begins to sputter. He goes into a little background on various books but doesn't do what people who are intimidated by prayer books need: someone to explain how the books work. Instead, he tells how learning them is worth the effort but no actual help on how to use them.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Brown on June 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
As one who is originally from a very low church background, I appreciated what McKnight was trying to achieve with this little book - to demonstrate the value of regular fixed hours of prayer by using a traditional prayer book. He suggests that not only should we maintain our own "spontaneous" prayers, but that by using the traditional set prayers of various traditions, we can learn to pray with the Church - not alone within the church, but with it.

The first part of the book deals with Jesus in prayer and the wider Jewish tradition. Also, how having fixed hours of prayer helps to reorientate our lives around a sacred rhythm. We should no longer shape our day around breakfast, lunch, and dinner, or before work, work, and after work, but around our times of prayer. Thus, we centre our daily lives around our communion with God, and after the pattern of Jesus' own praxis.

The second part of the book introduces us to each of the major prayer books of the Roman Catholic, the Orthodox, and the Anglican traditions. He gives a useful sketch of what each entails and how they might be profitably used based on his own experience.

This was a short, helpful little book for those new to prayer books and set times of prayer. I've even been persuaded to go out and buy a copy of the Book of Common Prayer (the Anglican one). I'll use it for a few months and then maybe give an update on how I've found my journey. The only complaint I have is that it is punctuated by personal testimonies of the value others have found since taking up set times of prayer. It's not that I object to this at all, but it was a bit overdone - there wasn't any need for quite so many. Nonetheless, 7/10.
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