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Prayer For Beginners Paperback – February 1, 2000
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
There's no shortage of good doctrinal material today. But, for the post-Boomer generations, the burning question remains: How do I begin to pray? Peter Kreeft answers that question in a simple, direct way that will reach ordinary unchurched Americans as well as devout Catholics who have hit a dry spell. This book can be a powerful tool in the new evangelization. --Mike Aquilina, Editor, New Covenant
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Bottom line: It's a good, well-written book; but it's more about the theology and experience of prayer, and not so much of a how-to. It may benefit some, but it may be above the level of others.
We used this as our Catholic Book Club read and it was a great club night. Much sharing and many prayerful lessons.
While I appreciate Kreeft as a writer and share many of his philosophical and theological views I was somewhat disappointment with this book. First, while I did not approach the text with any firm expectations, I was anticipating more of a `how to' book focused on practical guidance. And, while Kreeft does offer some suggestions in the area of prayer the book is more as an argument for the importance of prayer rather than guidance on how to pray. Second, the book's premise of a beginner helping other beginners with prayer seems awkward on a couple of levels. At a surface level it just seems odd. Imagine wanting to learn how to cook, play piano, speak French or perform brain surgery; where would you go for guidance? It seems that you would go to someone who at least professed to be knowledgeable with regard to the subject matter - Kreeft professes to be a beginner with regard to prayer. This is not to say that all experts are good teachers, or that novices necessarily lack insight, but, rather, that beyond a certain point it seems apparent that effective guidance requires a skilled guide. Finally, even if one accepts the premise of beginners guiding beginners the approach is a not a good fit for Kreeft. Despite some token hand waving to the contrary, it is clear that Kreeft views himself as an expert and his attempts at humility come off as disingenuous. Kreeft has a long list of strengths, humility, however is not at the top of that list. Like many intellectuals Kreeft `just' knows that he is right - and while he often is correct - his self-assurance is a poorly suited to play the role of the humble fellow sojourner.
I feel a little uncomfortable criticizing Kreeft. He is in an elite group of contemporary Catholic apologists and though his style sometimes strikes me and condescending I have always been impressed by his courage to speak what he believes to be the truth even when it is unpopular. While this is by no means a terrible little book I would not recommend it to readers seeking practical assistance with prayer. Such advice seems more the purview of pastors than philosophers. For folks who enjoy Kreeft he has a range of audio lectures available on the internet (just google Kreeft mp3).
Top international reviews
Put into words some of my understanding of prayer I could not possibly have articulated.
A great help to anyone struggling with "what am I supposed to be actually doing/thinking/signifying when I am trying to pray."
Prayer that is impossible to fail.