Saturday, February 1, 2014

review of "30 Days Praying the Our Father"

To start I have to confess that for the sake of a timely review, I cheated and read 30 Days of Praying the Our Father: a 30 Day Course in Prayer by David J. Gonzalez in a lot less than 30 days. And then I started reading it and praying as suggested.

The “Our Father”, the “Lord’s Prayer”, the “Disciples’ Prayer” is one of the better known prayers of the Christian Church, at least as far as the number of people who can recite the words from memory. But my gut feeling is that this is a fallback prayer for many people, words that they recite when they don’t know how else or what else to pray. But this prayer is so much more than that, and Gonzalez draws on his scholastic and pastoral background to provide some of the meaning as it would have been understood by Jesus’ followers.

Although the prayer itself is a major part of the 30 day plan, each day the focus is slightly different, a different piece of the puzzle as it were. A different phrase might be explained, or different levels of the phrase explained on the previous day.  One of the more helpful things about the book is the scriptural references found throughout. Yes Jesus gave the words, but the references put them in context: what else did Jesus have to say about forgiveness, or the Kingdom, or something like our daily bread?

Following the reading for each day, there is a focus to use while praying the Our Father, and then a page to keep notes on what you may have prayed for, or insights that came to you as praying.

I agree with Gonzalez that prayer should be an important part of each day and that the Our Father is an important part of our prayer toolkit. I enjoy the Lord’s Prayer, and pray it frequently, but it is only a part of my prayer life. I was left with a sense that it would be easy for some people to get overly legalistic about this prayer to the exclusion of other prayers, much like People who insist on “King James Only” since that is the ‘authorized’ version. They forget that the original text would have been penned in Greek, Aramaic, or Hebrew and not the British English of the 17th century.  

Would I recommend the book to new believers or a study of the Lord’s Prayer? Absolutely! Would I suggest that this would be the only guide to prayer that they will ever need? Absolutely not!

I would rate the book ‘4’ on a scale of 1-5, simply because I was left with a sensation that something was missing. I can’t clearly identify that missing something, but there was no sense of closure, and a gnawing sense of ‘if you do like I say, you’ll ______.”

I received the book free from the author in exchange for the review. I was not required to write a positive review

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