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The Practice of Prayer
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In this down-to-earth book on the essentials of prayer, Margaret Guenther answers many of the common questions of the spiritual life, such as How do we learn to listen to God in our prayer? and, How do we develop a life of prayer in the midst of busy, active lives? She includes practical descriptions of a number of ways Christians have prayed through the centuries, from using the Jesus Prayer or rosary to praying with the stories of scripture and prayer book liturgies. Guenther also discusses basic matters of Christian practice, such as making a confession, intercession, going on retreat, simplifying our lives, using a journal to pray, finding a spiritual director, and praying through times of desolation when God does not seem to be listening.
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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 An Introduction to Spirituality: What's in a Name? Chapter 2 Prayer as Conversation: Is Anyone Listening? Chapter 3 Varieties of Prayer: Does What I Learned in Sunday School Still Count? Chapter 4 Prayer Through the Centuries: From the Jesus Prayer to Lectio Divina Chapter 5 Practices of Prayer: Retreats, Journaling, Sacramental Confession, and Spiritual Direction Chapter 6 Finding God in the Ordinary: Your Kitchen Will Teach You Everything Chapter 7 Prayer and Parenting: How Do I Pray When the Baby is Keeping Me Up? Chapter 8 Learning Simplicity: 'Tis the Gift to Be Simple, 'Tis the Gift to Be Free Chapter 9 Praying Through Desolation: Why Have You Forsaken Me? Chapter 10 Praying in Community: Who are My Mother and My Brothers?

About the Author

Margaret Guenther is an Episcopal priest, spiritual director, and retreat leader. She recently retired as professor of ascetical theology at The General Theological Seminary in New York, where she was the director of its Center for Christian Spirituality. Her other books include Holy Listening: The Art of Spiritual Direction and Toward Holy Ground: Spiritual Directions for the Second Half of Life.

Reviews

Margaret Guenther is a lot of things-a professor of theology, an author, a retreat leader and an Episcopal priest. But in her latest book, The Practice of Prayer, it is evident that first and foremost she is just like the rest of us, human-allible, vulnerable and all the other things that go along with the human condition. The Practice of Prayer is refreshingly down-to-earth. In this book Guenther talks about prayer and paths to hearing God in a way that makes readers feel they are sitting by a fire having one of those deep and meaningful talks with their best friend. It's the kind of talk you later recall as having been one where a lot of the world's perplexing problems were solved. -- Cynthia Jardon Alexandria Daily Town Talk Margaret Guenther has provided the church with a wise and gentle book in The Practice of Prayer, and the chapter subtitles indicate the warmth and sparkle of her text... I could wish for no more comprehensive, accessible, and gracious text for leading adults to an understanding of the realities of prayer, though I do wish she had made some mention of the renewal of interest in the labyrinth as a tool for meditation and prayer. These volumes occasion in me hopefulness for the church. The author takes seriously the lives of her potential readers, credits them with insight and ability, and invites them into mature knowledge and understanding. I hope the book finds pastors and teachers who share the author's faith in the wisdom of our times and our people. -- Scott Lee, St. Mark's Church Do not be misled by the title. This is not a how-to manual for prayer. It is much more valuable than that. ... Instead of promoting six easy steps to more exciting prayer, Guenther offers a simple, powerful reminder: prayer is work and work is prayer. -- Robert P. Mills The Presbyterian Layman This is a practical and readable book on the essentials of prayer, presented by Episcopal priest Margaret Guenther. Her opening pages are inviting. She tells us that even she is humbled at the thought of 'teaching' someone how to pray. Margaret Guenther's presentation is less formal theology and more gleanings from wisdom, her own and that passed down the ages. Not that her work is 'non-theological.' In fact, it is, and deeply so. But her book is God-talk that is conscious of the fact that the Word became flesh, like us. And so we live in the flesh, always seeking the Spirit. Margaret Guenther's practicality includes a number of recommended texts, both classic and recent, to assist the practitioner in the practice of prayer. Her book is a place to begin, or to begin again. -- Phyllis Zagano Anglican Theological Review If you have been searching for a book that can serve as a guide for yourself or for others, search no longer. Margaret Guenther has written an insightful, accessible, earthy book on prayer and the spiritual life. She has the extraordinary ability to engage her readers at diverse levels and to impart wisdom that is at once simple and profound... This book can be used in a variety of ways, to inform the individual reader, to inspire a book study, or to guide a group in the exploration of prayer. Guenther provides a section of questions to use for group conversation or as exercises to practice for the individual or a group. Several books are published on the life of prayer, but this book is outstanding among them. Even a person most experienced in prayer will find Guenther's insights, on even the most familiar topics, refreshing and new. The Practice of Prayer is a must for every person's library. -- Margaret McNaughton-Ayers, Assistant Dean for Admissions and Community Life Virginia Theological Seminary

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