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A Beginner's Guide to Prayer: The Orthodox Way to Draw Closer to God Paperback – March 1, 2003
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About the Author
Fr. Michael Keiser is a popular speaker and author on the subject of spirituality. An Orthodox priest, he works with the Department of Missions and Evangelism on the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America. He is the author of For Those Who Hurt, an Orthodox Perspective on Suffering.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is not Anthony Bloom, whose Beginning to Pray is one of profound depth. That, and his magnum opus Living Prayer are the two defining works on Christian Prayer. While very brief they will require several re-reads to absorb and, if followed will lead the reader into a depth unexperienced by most. It is no surprise that they come from Russian Orthodox. As a protestant, I have found the best and most helpful works on seeking God in my life have come from this tradition. So why am I still a Protestant? Don't ask
The Orthodox way is a different approach from either Porotestants or Catholics, the two Christian traditions we are most familiar with in the west. As Archpriest Father George Sondergaard once told a class of Catechumens, "You Protestants and Catholics think everying is either-or; sometimes it's both!"
Thus it is with prayer-- the Orthodox way espoused herein by Father Michael introduces the reader to the concept and importance of having both formalized and personal prayer, that we may include ACTS--Adoration, Contrition, Thanks, AND Supplication in our prayer lives, rather than just asking favors of the all-holy Trinity.
Since the last great Church father, St. Symeon the New Theologian stressed the importance of a personal prayer life in addition to ritual prayer, it has been a vital component of Orthodoxy.
Protestants may balk at some of what Orthodox pray, for they pray for the dead, pray to Saints, and ask the Blessed Mary for intercessions. Yet, did not Mary intercede (successfully) to get her Son to change His mind at Canae? Do you not believe that virtuous men and women who have gone on before are alive in Christ and just as capable of praying for you as the car mechanic or office clerk you wouldn't hesitate to ask to pray for you? Don't you think that the Godhead exists in an eternal NOW where all is always unfolding and that thus you can pray effectively for those who have departed mortal life because their lives are yet unfolding before God?
This is the Orthodox way. And this book is a great place to start learning all about it. Not the sort of reading a monastic or cleric would benefit from, but certainly a great book for cradle Orthodox, Catechumens, converts and the curious.
In the two longest chapters, Mr. Keiser deals with something we all struggle with when praying: distractions and demons. Distractions so far are the problem I have the most when praying. I might be encountering demons. I am unsure on that one, and don't want to speculate one way or the other. But these are two things that we all struggle with and must be aware of and fighting against in order to pray more effectively. He also reminds us not to get too cocky in our prayer life, as that is a sure fire way to slip up and fall.
Overall, I would give this book 5 out of 5 stars as it was a highly beneficial book to me, even though I am not Orthodox Christian. The language is clear. The message is solid. And it is just the right length for beginners, though you can still get something out of it if you are an intermediate or advance prayer.