A Journey into Enduring Prayer: Praying With The Church
Welcome to this blog parade! We're celebrating the release of Scot McKnight's new book, Praying With The Church: Developing a Daily Rhythm for Spiritual Formation (Paraclete: 2006). For a "map" of the blog parade route, click here.
Dr. Scot McKnight is a new kind of scholar. He combines a skilled mind for scholarly research with a down-to-earth, passionate heart for walking with God and a quest to see the church unified in God's grace and love.
Rarely does a book about prayer motivate me to pray. Julie, my wife, and I have read bunches of books about prayer as we for many years directed the prayer ministries of the church where I was teaching pastor.
Scot McKnight’s new book, Praying With The Church, invites me and inspires me to pray. Julie, who is half-way through the book, also confessed, “This book makes me want to pray.” For this benefit alone I highly recommend Praying With The Church. The Foreword is by Phyllis Tickle who compiled the 3 volume The Divine Hours.
Scot introduces us to the enduring discipline of “fixed-hour prayer” or “the daily office.” Scot’s story about how he searched for and discovered Francis of Assisi’s “little church” (the portiuncola) while on a trip to Italy with his wife, Kris, and why it relates to his book Praying With The Church I’ll leave for you to explore.
The title of the book is the theme of the book. We need encouragement to move from private, personal prayer which Scot affirms is a very good practice. He describes personal, private prayer as praying in the church. Scot urges us on to praying with the church, joining with others in prayer as an expression of the “communion of the saints.”
Why develop this discipline? Because God’s people, Israel, practiced fixed hour praying; Jesus, himself a Jew, practiced his daily office and creatively expanded the Hebrew Shema and gave us “The Lord’s Prayer.” If you haven’t read Scot’s The Jesus Creed, now’s the time to do it. You can get a FREE copy---see below. It’s a great forerunner and foundation for his Praying With The Church; the early church practiced fixed hours of prayer, and praying at regular hours has been a Christian practice through the centuries.
Scot, in a clear, accessible and friendly style of writing, presents several excellent chapters about Jesus as the supreme model of fixed-hour praying, defines the basic structure and purpose of a “prayer book,” and then examines four traditions that promote fixed-hour praying. The four traditions are: The Manual for Eastern Orthodox Prayers (including the “Jesus prayer”), the Catholic The Liturgy of the Hours (with appreciation to The Rule of St. Benedict), the Anglicans’ The Book of Common Prayer (with a word about Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, and a tip about the BCP’s confusing fuss of colored ribbons), and finally Phyllis Tickle’s relatively recent The Divine Hours, a delightful 3 volume compilation of the previous three traditions. The Divine Hours is the “most user-friendly” book for ordered prayer.
Spiritual formation occurs in a life moving to sacred rhythms. Scot welcomes us onto the dance floor where the saints of all ages become our partners in learning to pray and live the Jesus Way.
FREE Copy of The Jesus Creed at www.paracletepress.com
Purchase Scot McKnight's Praying with the Church and McKnight's best selling book The Jesus Creed and you will receive your copy of The Jesus Creed for free! Reference coupon code PRBLOG and call 1-800-451-5006 or order on-line. (when ordering on-line you must enter both books on the order).