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Answering God: The Psalms as Tools for Prayer Paperback – April 26, 1991

4.5 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Guidelines for using the Psalms as prayer.

From the Back Cover

Eugene H. Peterson speaks to Christians who realize the necessity for prayer and yearn for it but who finds their prayer unconvincing and unsatisfying. Addressing the causes of this dissatisfaction, Answering God offers guidelines for using the Psalms as dynamic tools for prayer.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; Reprint edition (April 26, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060665122
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060665128
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have to agree with the reviewer of August 7, 2001's enthusiasm for this book. I first read "Answering God: The Psalms As Tools for Prayer" when I checked it out of a local library. The book so moved and changed me that I had to stop midway, turn the book back in at the library, and order a copy.
"Answering God" is the kind of book that helps the reader open doors that have always be locked to them. In my case, it has revolutionized the way I pray while giving the Psalms greater meaning to me.
It is a small book of great depth. It looks at the Psalms--warts and all. It digs deep into the topics it discusses. It looks at the basic questions of what a Psalm consists of. It then teaches what prayer is and how it affects those who pray. It follows this by teaching the reader how to pray the Psalms.
This book is full of practical advice and direction. Eugene Peterson is the perfect person to write this book. He is an expert in the field of prayer...not because of any degree he holds but because he is a deep person of prayer (this will be crystal clear to anyone who reads the book). Peterson is a trusted guide for the sometimes unforgiving terrain of the Psalms.
I give "Answering God" my most heartfelt recommendation. I urge you to get a copy today.
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I just placed an order for six more copies of this book to give to friends and family ... and that's only a start. Am I new to the Bible? Not hardly. I'm one of those "veteran" Christians who has been active in church and other ministries all my life. Even so, "Answering God" introduced me to the Psalms in a way I've never before experienced. I'm excited about using the Psalms to help me develop a deeper, richer prayer life. As Peterson writes: "Prayers are tools for being and becoming ... The Psalms come from a people who hear God speak to them and realize that it is the most important word they will ever hear spoken. They decide to respond." So have I.
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Format: Paperback
Until I read this book, I felt that I ought to pray, even wanted to pray, but when I sat down to do it prayer seemed so complicated and burdensome, and I would come away with a haunting feeling that I never got it "right". This book taught me that prayer means listening, and responding to God--not just talking at him, or coming at him with lists. It set me free to rest in the presence of God, something I often enough ended up doing anyway, but then would feel guilty for. After all, wasn't I supposed to be "praying?" Thank you to Eugene Peterson for this beautiful, well-written, well-expressed book, which is a joy to read. I have heavily underlined and re-read my copy 3 times. It is fresh each time.
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Format: Paperback
Peterson delves into the literary components of the Psalms to bring out the passion and the purpose of the Psalms in community and individual life. His love for Psalms and the reality of its content further illuminates the power behind the emotion, the praise, and the faith of Israel's musicians and priests. Peterson writes with such a great command of language (both English and Hebrew) that his writing can leave you wondering if you caught what he is saying. It reminded me of reading a CS Lewis book. I always feel like I'm missing the nuances of what he is saying but am awed at how he puts it into words.
This is a tremendous book if you want to begin to read the Psalms with the passion of King David and want to infuse your spiritual life with a more complete understanding of who God is and how we communicate with Him.
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Format: Paperback
This little book is not only one of the best books I have read on the subject of prayer, it is also one of the finest books on Christian spirituality.

Though I have read other books by Peterson, this may be Peterson at his authorial best. With laser-focus, he etches into each chapter the contour of his thesis: that prayer is initiated by God's acting, speaking, revealing and that our prayers are responses, answers in a dialogue that lifts us to the realization of His purpose. The vocabulary of both initiation and response is found in the book of Psalms.

Concise chapters focus on Psalms as text, way, language, story, etc., while within each chapter, individual psalms furnish sparse yet rich interaction with the biblical text. The goal is to reinforce the theme, not exposit the material, yet Peterson's brief interactions demonstrate exegetical precision and insight. Brief as this 151 page monograph may be (HarperCollins paperback, 1989), recognition of lament, complaint, imprecation, community (liturgy) and praise as dimensions of the Psalter are neither lacking nor trivial. In fact, each chapter provides the reader with intellectually substantive, soul-nourishing satisfaction.

The plain language, aimed at a spiritually hungry reader rather than a specialist, masks the author's depth of study in his subject. Footnotes reveal the time spent in Gunkel, Mowinckel, Westermann, Brueggemann, Luther, Calvin, Barth, and other theological giants. Insights from linguistic philosophy, psychology, literature and ordinary life-experience round out the mine from which the author effortlessly quarries gemstones and offers riches to the attentive, receptive reader. The material on metaphor is, in itself, a shining facet, valuable to any user of words.
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