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Creating a Life with God: The Call of Ancient Prayer Practices Perfect Paperback – June 1, 2003

4.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Review

As you read these pages, know that this is more than a guidebook'. It is an invitation to join Jesus in prayer. It is an invitation to recognise and tend the longing of your heart. From the foreword by Mark Yaconelli --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Daniel Wolpert worked as a psychologist and spiritual director, a farmer, a teacher and a construction worker before earning his graduate degree at San Francisco Theological Seminary. Over the past 18 years he has taught adults and youth and led retreats in such settings as the Art of Spiritual Direction program at San Francisco Theological Seminary, the Youth Ministry and Spirituality Project and Sabbath retreats. Daniel now serves as church pastor in Crookston, Minnesota.
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Product Details

  • Perfect Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Upper Room; 59946th edition (June 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0835898555
  • ISBN-13: 978-0835898553
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Perfect Paperback
Having read a number of books on Christian Spirituality over the last few years, I can't think of one single book that does as good a job as this book in both introducing a number of significant prayer practices and doing so with such vibrancy and depth. It is obvious that Daniel Wolpert has a feel for this subject that is born of broad and deep experience in both using these practices himself and in helping others enter into these practices in accessible and meaningful ways. Anyone looking for an excellant printed guide of ancient Christian prayer practices made very accessable to present use would do well to start with this book. For folks who already have been learning about and experiencing practices such as the Jesus Prayer, Lectio Divina, the Examen, journaling etc., this book will bring fresh insight, inspiration and integration into your thought and experience around these practices. This book is also an excellant resource for learning about and experiencing these practices in a group setting. Each chapter has excellant step by step concrete ideas for using these practices individually or in a group.
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By A Customer on September 4, 2003
Format: Perfect Paperback
This is an exciting book about prayer. Wolpert's writing shows that he practices what he has set to paper.
Some older prayer traditions feel understandable and comfortable to use after reading Wolpert's book. Some creative prayer understandings make sense, e.g., the idea of group journaling and praying with nature. I especially like the way Wolpert identifies creativity as prayer. Of course God speaks through creative expression! There's also good news about the body--as in body prayer! Wolpert speaks graceful words to our often negative understandings of the body (or at least how we seem not to measure up to magazine cover standards).
This book is rooted in Christ, in the teachings of the Bible, in Christian tradition. It helps us open spiritually to God.
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This book is very readable, practical and full of helpful ideas without being preachy. It speaks of difficulties through history with finding a life with God but the focus is on now and the need not only for finding space for God, but living life with God.
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Format: Perfect Paperback
Books that ask you on the back whether you’re ‘longing to take your relationship with God to a new level’ more often than not provide a charismatic quick-fix but this one suggests a menu of ‘ancient prayer practices’. The author has worked in Christian spiritual direction for 30 years, knows his subject and commends twelve practices of which he has first-hand experience. He does so with an emphasis on the empowerment of grace in a very readable style so his being an American pastor is unusually incidental to the stories told and disciplines of prayer commended.

‘Creating a Life with God’ looks down through the Christian centuries at among others Anthony, Benedict, Francis, the lay women Beguines, the author of the Cloud of Unknowing, Julian of Norwich and Ignatius of Loyola. These were illuminated by solitude, Lectio Divina scriptural prayer, the Jesus Prayer, seeing God in nature, journaling and use of the body in prayer. The book looks at individual and corporate exercise of each discipline impact and provides step-by-step instruction for the use of each in an Appendix. ‘The trajectory of our prayer practices is slowly and inevitably drawing us out into the world around us; from the silent, solitary reflection upon scripture to the dark cloud of unknowing to the gentle resonance of the name of Jesus, we are led into an examination of the traces of God in our lives. This is the nature of a life with God: our experiences of the Holy naturally lead beyond ourselves, as God seeks to use us to show the power of divine love to others.’

I particularly valued Daniel Wolpert’s presentation of the Examen of Ignatius and the insight about how reviewing our lives employs the vehicle of time to show us our deep seated needs and strengths.
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Format: Perfect Paperback
Wolpert focuses on biography and practical steps to prayer and he gears his writing toward mainline Christians. His instructions for prayer leave lots of "space" for the reader and as a consequence they may feel too loose and fluffy to people starting out. On the other hand, this space to explore may be welcome to those who have been cramped by prayer "rules" before.

*Creating a Life with God* organizes prayer into four topical categories: the foundations of solitude and Scripture, mental prayer, body prayer, and outwardly focused prayer. His group practices tend to direct people to do a practice individually and then share the results (debrief), rather than praying the method as a community. Wolpert takes a light approach toward Scripture, referencing theological ideas to supporting Scriptures infrequently. In lectio divina, he first directs readers to look for words or phrases from a Scripture passage that interest them personally, passing up Daniel J. Harrington's first "rung" of thinking about Scripture in Biblical context. He addresses various historical figures and their stories rather loosely throughout the book, calling them "traveling companions."

When Wolpert considers addressing God directly, he does not deal with the difficulties that masculine pronouns for God might pose (or cite the biblical descriptions of God's female characteristics). He simply declines to use pronouns. Neither does he overtly reference the reader's need to deal with sin and be freed from oppression. (For example: he omits the designation "a sinner" from his Jesus Prayer.) The concept of a relationship with God arises toward the end of Wolpert's book.

If you're starting from a mainline position, *Creating a Life with God* is a great place to begin.
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