Review: In Constant Prayer

May 3, 2012 at 3:24 pm Leave a comment

In Constant Prayer
In Constant Prayer by Robert Benson

This is a very simple, yet winsome introduction to the idea of ‘praying the daily office,’ ‘liturgy of the hours,’ ‘daily prayer,’ etc. for the non-specialist. Benson describes keeping set times for daily prayer as ‘prayer for the rest of us,’ ‘prayer for the whole Church,’ and a necessary complement to prayer for personal needs.

What makes it intriguing for those who already pray the daily office? The drumbeat that the recovery of the office is the key to the recovery of the Church, and the author’s unsparing demolishment of his own excuses for NOT praying the prayers he has vowed to pray – excuses that I myself have used more often than not.

The only thing that bothers me is the occasional use of the tetragrammaton (‘Yahweh’). I wish that all Christian authors would follow Jewish practice and, out of respect, refrain from using this as God’s proper name.

A quick read, but you can take parts slow and savor Benson’s plain-spoken, direct, reverent words and his layman’s insight into theological ideas and the spirit of the age. An example (page 58):

“The prayer of the office can teach me the the world of prayer is much larger than just my own sweet personal self. I may well discover that prayer is not actually even for me.

“If I say the words of the divine office often enough and carefully enough and faithfully enough, I may well find a pearl of great price.

“Here is the pearl: the world is not my personal oyster.”

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Entry filed under: Book Reviews, Prayer, Psalms. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

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