Reviews - What do customers think about Beginning to Pray?
Beginning to Pray Jun 5, 2008
My spiritual director recommended this book to me. The book guides me in my spiritual life and is clear in its message.
Reading this book for the 5th time May 27, 2008
I am reading this book for the 5th time, and I just got finished leading a study group for it. Each time I read it, it is as if it's brand new. English is not the author's first language, so some of the wording is a little choppy at first. He phrases things a bit differently than English speaking people, but once you get used to his style you can't help but be challenged and encouraged in your personal relationship with God. I think an appropriate sub-title for this book could be: How to have a personal relationship with the living God. His first chapter "The Absence of God" hits a topic that all of us have experienced at one time or another - Why does God seem so far away? I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in deepening his walk with God. Among many things, it will challenge you to be authentic before God, show you how to be still before God, and demonstrate how to live in the present moment - practicing the presence of God.
WHO KNOWS HOW TO PRAY? Mar 25, 2008
The apostle Paul tells us "we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs to deep for words."
This little book by Anthony Bloom will help any person find the way to a prayer life breathed with the Spirit's life.
Great for Beginners and Advanced Sep 8, 2007
Anthony Bloom's Beginning to Pray is not just for beginners in prayer. In it, Bloom offers practical suggestions for novices in prayer and profound insights for even the most spiritually mature. Bloom draws from a life rich in challenges and communication with people and God in myriad circumstances. His writings of prayer reveal the mysteries that open to a person who prays in God's presence often.
The introduction to the book is the transcript of an interview of the author answering questions about his life and ministry. The interview illustrates his qualifications to write a book on prayer. It also shows that his is a remarkable life journey that has taken him from Russia to the Orient to France. He worked his way through college to become a surgeon, eventually being conscripted by the Germans after the occupation of France. He then became ordained as monk in 1948 and served as a monk and a surgeon before leaving his medical practice for ministry.
His first point in writing of prayer emphasizes our state before God. People at some point will face God, and when they do, they will receive salvation or condemnation. He encourages readers to accept their desperate state and to go to God asking for and receiving mercy. Then prayer can begin. Otherwise, God is outside of us and cannot hear. Prayer will be sent to the unknown.
Bloom urges readers to develop a passion for God at the expense of the possessions of the world. He reminds readers that one must take up his or her cross daily to follow Jesus. Bloom offers readers ways to experiment with types of prayers to find what suits them. These include written prayers like psalms, short prayers like the "Jesus Prayer, praying with icons or spontaneous prayers. What is important writes Bloom is that those praying believe in their own prayers and pray heartily not haphazardly to God. He also exhorts readers on the importance of sitting quietly in one's room away from the distractions of the world. To Bloom, practicing silence before God is a key to closeness with God in prayer.
For Bloom, those "crises" in our lives that would become excuses not to pray are the very dangers that should prompt us to pray. Let nothing stop you from entering into quiet time before the Lord. He devotes a chapter to managing time and prayer.
The final chapter entitled "Addressing God" discusses the necessity of a personal relationship with God as opposed to a functional relationship with God. This idea critiques a relationship where readers see God as serving a purpose only in their lives versus a relationship with him in which he is the object and desire. This personal relationship requires us to call God by a name that is personal and address him not vaguely but as someone known.
Bloom's insights target intensity, passion, relationship and time in prayer. I think all Christians often need to begin again in prayer. This book is a tool to help readers do just that and to analyze their prayer lives and see where they stand. Bloom offers several ways to "experiment" with prayer, and these are useful. The main impact for me in this book is his emphasis on taking prayers seriously. He writes that if we want God to listen and act on our prayers we must pray earnestly and sincerely with thoughtfulness and heart.
He adds two meditations at the end of the book. One I found instructive and one I did not find helpful
Anthony Bloom was born to write this book!! Jan 11, 2007
First I would like to say a big THANK YOU to Archbishop Anthony Bloom for writing this book! It is an EXCELLENT place to begin or even re-begin learning about prayer and praying in general.
I'm personally very interested in Christian orthodoxy, but this is a great book for ALL Christians!
At just over 100 pages, it makes a quick read but is very deep and insightful. Definitely recommended!