Rowlett (Praying Together, 2002, etc.), a retired Methodist minister and author of four previous books about Christian devotion, offers a helpful, concise guide to prayer.
This book is written not only for readers who want to include prayer in the fabric of their lives, but also for study groups, and as such, it can provide a useful prayer framework. The author distinguishes between “primitive” concepts that locate the divine “out there somewhere” and her concept of a Christian God who knows the secrets of the human heart. “The heart has been described as the location of God’s presence,” Rowlett writes. “Perhaps because it has been thought of as the source of life, the core of a person’s being.” In a simple, clear and straightforward style, this brief book sets out precise prayer methodologies that can be used for many different circumstances and challenges in life. Each chapter focuses on a different type of prayer, and the author explores these approaches in some depth, enriching her discussion of prayer’s practical uses. The book then provides a series of prayer prompts that readers may use according to their own personal needs. Rowlett develops a careful methodology—a Benedictine way of using reading, reflection, response and contemplation to develop an active, engaged prayer practice. Although the author often provides examples of prayers from her Methodist background, she also draws from other sources, including the late German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Rick Warren, the conservative pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. She also continually reflects on the challenges that contemporary Christian practitioners face in developing and nurturing prayer. “Careful listening is a challenge in the twenty-first century,” Rowlett writes, and she underscores the necessity of paying close attention to one’s inner counsel when establishing a regular prayer practice.
A short but richly pragmatic approach to prayer.