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Toward God: The Ancient Wisdom of Western Prayer Paperback – April 1, 1996


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"Why We Pray"
Author William J.U. Philip explains what prayer is, why it exists, and how it can encourage us in our life of faith. Learn more
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Triumph Books; Revised edition (April 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892438908
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892438907
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,490 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Very well written.
Dolores Downey
The book will be helpful for anyone interested in prayer and hoping to develop a deeper relationship with God.
Timothy Kearney
I read with great satisfaction and anticipation one chapter after another and enjoyed it immensely!
jmn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 16, 2001
Format: Paperback
Michael Casey, an Australian Trappist monk, has written a wonderful primer on prayer in clear language. TOWARD GOD is an enlightening reflection based on personal experience, touching all the major aspects of the subject of prayer from the Western Christian tradition. I have read many books on prayer, including the great classics, but this is the one I have read over and over.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Michael D. Mullen on April 28, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Michael Casey has writeen several books on the practice of spiritual disciplines and spirituality. All are worthwhaile, but this is perhaps his best. It is certainly the starting place for beginning to read his work. As a protestant / neo-pentecostal / evangelical, I found that I was drawn to his way of emphasizing that prayer is a relationship, not an activity or duty per se. This perspective helps me understand the fundamnetals of prayer, and this is what this book is about. Although I have read many books on prayer, from Catherine Marshall to Jack Hayford, from Pope John Paul to the classics, few are more helpful than this book. I find myself rereading certain passages over and over. The only book I have read recently that has had the same impact might be Nouwen's "The Only Necessary Thing." These two books are made out of the same cloth.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Kearney VINE VOICE on October 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
Sometimes when I purchase a book on methods of prayer, I wonder if I should be reading about prayer or should I just get down to the act of praying itself. I can say to myself "well, I need to read these books for professional reasons" but more often than not, I read them for myself, and when I read books such as Michael Casey's TOWARD GOD, I find new insights about prayer that help me in the discipline of prayer and hopefully, draw me closer to God.

For Casey, prayer is both communication with God and being in the presence of God, the latter being the more important. This is in keeping with the traditions of the Trappist order to which he belongs, traditions which stem from a literal interpretation of the Rule of St. Benedict. For Casey, prayer is not so much something we do as much as a response to the deepest desires of our hearts to be in communion with God. He introduces readers to some of the great spiritual writers on prayer. He also introduces readers to Christian meditation and contemplation as well as Lectio Divina, a topic he further develops in his book SACRED READING. TOWARD GOD is not so much a how to or a dictionary of prayer, but a description of the way a spiritual life can be ordered and an invitation to use the methods that Casey himself has found helpful, as have so many over the centuries. He also writes his book in a way that makes readers realize that Benedictine methods of prayer are not reserved for monks in monasteries alone and just about anyone who wishes can us these methods daily and not just on rare retreat moments.

The book will be helpful for anyone interested in prayer and hoping to develop a deeper relationship with God.
Read more ›
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 19, 1999
Format: Paperback
For anyone who wants to pray but does not know how to pray! Casey helps with a variety of methods and shows that there is not just one way to move toward God. I like the idea that one should use all these ways of praying rather than just one. Casey writes for everyone, not just Catholics. I am a Protestant who found the insights into prayer universal. Casey writes in a way that invites all to pray; gay, straight, feminist, believer or skeptic.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Adeste Fideles on August 8, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I guess I get to be the lone dissenter among those who like this book. Its not so much that I hated the book, it was OK. Rather, its that it is not what it was billed to be. The title of the book leads one to believe that it is going to present a discussion of ancient prayer traditions in the Western Church, probably along with ways that we can incorporate those things into our lives today. This, to my mind, was a very interesting thing to see as most books on ancient prayer seem to focus on the Eastern Christian tradition, which of course is very rich and widely studied.

Unfortunately, the book does not do anything of the sort. The author goes so far to tell you this in the prologue, and pretty much admits that people have called him out on it, as he seems to be defending the use of the title he chose. Instead of giving you a breakdown of ancient prayer in the Western Church, he talks about his prayer life, the strategies he uses, etc. All of this is fine and dandy, but it has little if anything to do with the title of the text.

All in all, this book was a major disappointment based upon what the title would lead one to believe that book is. If you are interested in Fr. Casey's ideas on how prayer has manifested itself in his life, get this book. If you are looking to find information about how Fathers in the Western Church prayed, this book does not provide that at all.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ray Williams on January 5, 2007
Format: Paperback
Fantastic book! Many wonderful thoughts/ideas in pursuing life growing closer to God. Plan to re-read many times. It is required reading for my son who has joined seminary and is now in Rome for 1st year training. Just got his list of books they wanted him to bring. He hasn't read it yet, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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