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Teach Us to Pray


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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 The Lord's Prayer: A Lens into a Ritual System Chapter 2 The Ritual Functions of the Lord's Prayer in Medieval Patterns of Christian Formation Chapter 3 Reritualizing Catechesis: The Lord's Prayer in Reformation Catechisms Chapter 4 Reritualizing Liturgical Participation: The Lord's Prayer in Reformation Liturgy Chapter 5 Teaching How to Pray: Reritualizing Lay Private Prayer Conclusion: Reforming Ritual and Reritualizing Christian Formation

About the Author

Katharine Mahon is academic advisor and Burke, Hofman, Kolman Postdoctoral Fellow in the First Year of Studies at the University of Notre Dame.


In this significant book, Katharine Mahon opens up new angles for the study of liturgical history through a unique approach to the Lord's Prayer and its embeddedness and influence on broader liturgical reforms and devotional practices. Mahon engages an exciting cross-confessional approach to the reform of devotional practice and how prayer is re-ritualized into life. Liturgical and devotional life are intricately interwoven with doctrinal issues in a fascinating study. -- Dirk G. Lange, Fredrik A. Schiotz chair of missions and professor of worship, Luther Seminary
In Teach Us to Pray, Mahon has traced the profound re-ritualization of the Lord's Prayer that occurred during the sixteenth-century shift from pervasive use in medieval liturgy and private prayer as a ritual text, to its more selective use primarily as a catechetical text in both Protestant and Roman Catholic reforms. This shift paralleled a change in religious formation, from an emphasis on ritual competence to doctrinal comprehension, that accompanied a change in the Western cultural backdrop from an oral to a literate society. In this solid piece of research and clear writing, readers will be impressed by the similarities Mahon shows between Protestant (Lutheran, English) and Roman Catholic reformations in matters of Christian education and piety (praying knowledgeably and sincerely). This comprehensive historical and ecumenical study leaves us with the question of what Jesus intended when he answered his disciples' request, `Teach us to pray,' by saying, `When you pray, say "Our Father..." -- Frank C. Senn, Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary
Mahon has provided us with a truly delightful and compelling study of ritual formation through catechesis, liturgy, and private prayer in sixteenth-century Lutheranism, Roman Catholicism, and Anglicanism via the lens of the Lord's Prayer. This multi-disciplinary gem merits wide reading by liturgical scholars, catechists, and teachers of spirituality-in short, by all who are engaged with the process of forming Christians through ritual and forming Christians for ritual. Highly recommended! -- Maxwell E. Johnson, University of Notre Dame
The Lord's Prayer has always been a microcosm of Christian prayer. In Teach Us to Pray, Mahon uses this first Christian prayer as a lens for the liturgical, catechetical, and devotional life of the late medieval and early modern periods. This exciting historical study reveals the unexpected common ground between Lutheran, Catholic, and Anglican challenges in lay liturgical participation and opens new pathways for thinking about ritual belonging and catechesis today. -- Kimberly Hope Belcher, University of Notre Dame
Mahon has written a clear and compelling book. Through the lens of the Lord's Prayer she sheds new light on the medieval ritual system of Christian formation while offering at the same time an insightful and wider view of Christian ritual systems and their reform. Both learned and accessible, this lovely book will serve as valuable reading to experts and novices alike. -- Nathan D. Mitchell, University of Notre Dame, emeritus

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