Sunday, April 11, 2010

How to Pray With the Bible

By Karl A. Schultz, 157 pages, Our Sunday Visitor.

Karl Schultz shows how the Bible can and should be the chief prayer book of Christians. He combines biblical insights with spiritual wisdom to show that even in this fast-paced world church-goers can live a prayerful, Christ-centered life.

He argues that Christians must let scripture judge their lives, rather than the opposite. Spiritual growth through biblical wisdom counters pride and emphasizes lectio divina, or sacred reading.

The author warns against having agendas for the prayer life: “Praying with the Bible is a dialogue whose objective is not agenda fulfillment and achievement, but rather awareness, acceptance, assimilation, and actualization of God's word and providence, that is, His will and plan for us.”

He therefore avoids “complex theories or esoteric jargon,” because these do not apply to a life of prayer. He also avoids New Age stuff, and occasionally explains why New Age eclecticism is as harmful as rigid dogmatism. (Eclectics take a bit from every belief and point of view, and create an inedible spiritual or religious stew.)

Schultz' no-nonsense, direct approach to spirituality and lectio divina strengthens the book and helps him to avoid the wishy-washy feel that some spiritual writers develop.

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