Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Benson's Choice: 5 Books on Prayer

Picks from Robert Benson, author of 'In Constant Prayer.'

A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants
Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck (Upper Room)

This is the book that first showed me that prayer is more than talking to God whenever I want, about whatever I want. In its pages, I met the monks and mystics and poets and pilgrims who have continued to draw me into the mystery of prayer.

* * *

The Book of Common Prayer

The sheer poetry of this version of the ancient liturgies, psalms, and prayers translated into English remains, for me, the standard for corporate prayer in the Christian tradition. The language itself rises as incense; I suspect the psalmist would agree.

* * *

The Rule of Saint Benedict
Saint Benedict (Vintage)

This book taught me that prayer is not an attachment to a life lived for God—it is the center of a life lived with God. Sometimes a single preposition can make all the difference.

* * *

Thoughts in Solitude
Thomas Merton (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

"Father Louie," as Merton was known, is the one who taught me what the fruits of a life of prayer, or at least one in pursuit of prayer, might turn out to be. His is the first book I downloaded to my iPhone when I was dragged across the bridge to the 21st century.

* * *

The Book of Hours
Prayers to a Lowly God

Rainer Maria Rilke (Northwestern University Press)

Rilke is my favorite poet, and his book of prayers based on the monastic hours opened me up to the way ancient prayer, prayed by the faithful for centuries, might take root in me, that I might finally come to hear and say the "prayer of God that is rising in my heart."

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Copyright © 2010 Christianity Today.


Anonymous Robert Benson said...

Thank you for including me in your conversation with your friends. I am grateful and humbled.

R. Benson

11:39 PM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

Thanks Robert for sharing the list of books on prayers. It is a good selection. Also have enjoyed your book "In Constant Prayer."

2:19 AM  

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