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Book Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat


Kneeling with Giants
Learning to Pray with History's Best Teachers
Gary Neal Hansen
IVP Books 03/12 Paperback $15.00
ISBN: 9780830835621

Gary Neal Hansen is assistant professor of church history and theology division at University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. He is also an ordained Presbyterian minister with the Presbyterian Church USA.

Hansen commends the creativity of the Great Artist in giving human beings so many ways to pray. With energy and precision he has selected ten master teachers of prayer down through the centuries and matched each of them with a specific prayer method. The book is divided into four sections. These are the first two:

Part One: What Language Shall I Borrow?
Praying with St. Benedict: The Divine Office
Praying with Martin Luther: The Lord's Prayer
Praying with the Pilgrim: The Jesus Prayer

Part Two: Praying with Scripture
Praying with John Calvin: Studious Meditations on the Psalms
Praying with Ignatius of Loyola: The Prayer of the Senses

Other teachers include St. Teresa of Avila on Reflections of the Presence of God, the Cloud of Unknowing on Contemplation in the Dark, and Agnes Sanford on The Healing Light. This chapter comes across as both daring and enlightening.

Sanford (1897-1942) was a controversial healer with far-out ideas on energy and light. Less shocking was her habit of giving God the glory for the many miraculous healings she performed: "The essence of all healing is to become so immersed in the Being of God that one forgets oneself entirely." Hansen salutes Sanford's efforts to use the powerful faculty of imagination in our prayers.


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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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