Friday, February 11, 2011

Book Review: In Constant Prayer, by Robert Benson

"Get this book," my best friend told me. "I've been meaning to buy it for you--I thought of you every chapter when I read it." This is the friend who knows me better than anyone except my husband--there was nothing to do but get the book.

Benson's "In Constant Prayer" is a book about liturgical prayer, specifically about using the daily office for what most evangelicals would call personal quiet time. It's a primer on what the daily office is for people who think that is office is where you keep your desk. It's a challenge and encouragement to the Protestants to take up this ancient practice. It's a poetic meditation on beauty and challenges of choosing this form of structuring your prayer life.

It's been a long time since I read a book that simultaneously challenged, convicted and encouraged me like this one has. Here is a way to practice prayer, he suggests, for those of us who are no good at praying and aren't ever going to be on our own. It's utterly deflating and freeing. So you're not a praying artiste. You don't need to be. You don't need to reinvent "quiet time." The church throughout the ages has an easy step-by-step guide for you.

Most American Christians are not very good people of prayer. If you feel like you ought to pray more, but just can't quite seem to get it to work, try praying by the recipe with Benson and the daily office.

Five stars.