Thursday, May 18, 2006

Scott McKnight, Praying with the Church

Several weeks ago Mason mentioned the publication of Scott McKnight's newest book, Praying with the Church: Flowing Jesus Daily, Hourly, Today. McKnight is an evangelical scholar and professor at North Park University whose The Jesus Creed has been read by many with deep appreciation.

Upon Mason's recommendation, I ordered Praying with the Church (only $10.37 from and found its arrival in my stack of mail when I came back to Kentucky earlier this week. Paging through it, I think it will be a terrific book to read carefully. I like to suggest that some of you buy it and share your responses to what you discover within it. Here's what Publishers Weekly says about its contents:

The so-called "high church" branches of Christianity have practiced liturgical prayer, or prayer with set words and at set hours, for centuries. In this folksy, practical and welcoming guidebook for Protestants unacquainted with, or perhaps even suspicious of, what he calls the "prayer book tradition" of the Church, McKnight attempts to root liturgical prayer in three things: biblical practice, a theology based on "loving God and loving others" and an ecumenical sensitivity to the riches of various Christian traditions. A professor of religious studies at North Park University and a popular writer on Christian spirituality, McKnightexplores the Jewish practice of prayer, how Jesus practiced prayer and how various denominations use the Psalms and the Bible as foundations for liturgy. He also draws from his own experiences to illustrate how Christians can use prayer books grounded in the Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Anglican traditions. "Praying with the Church," he writes, "involves allowing our own prayer lives to be adjusted to the sacred rhythms of the Church's prayer tradition." Laced with quotations from many "real-life" users, this helpful volume concludes with a chapter on how prayer book liturgies can be adapted for individual use.

The first chapter is titled "Praying with the Church" and begins with these words:

Most Christians are not happy with their prayer ife--they either don't pray often enough or well enough. This book is written to help such Christiains--and for those who do pray often, this book might also bring a welcoming word.

If you think Praying with the Church might be of interest to you, order a copy today. It should arrive at your doorstep within a week. We'll begin our discussion sometime this week.


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