Brian Zahnd on Praying Well

Many of you know Brian Zahnd, author of the recent book Farewell to Mars. Recently Brian did a second podcast with my friend Luke Norsworthy on the subject of prayer. (The first twenty minutes is mainly a discussion of the impact of the work of NT Wright, the part on prayer picks up at the twenty-minute mark.)

I struggled with prayer, well, for most of my life. Mainly because I don't think I ever really learned to pray, not in a way that made sense or resonated with me. But for the past few years I've figured out some stuff about prayer. I've prayed every day, often a couple times a day, for a few years now. And the lessons I've learned are many of the ones Brian discusses. Especially using a "liturgy that will form us in prayer" and the church "devoting itself to the prayers." Devoting not to prayer, but to the prayers.

If you struggle with prayer give the podcast a listen.

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6 thoughts on “Brian Zahnd on Praying Well”

  1. In some ways the liturgy of prayers reminded me of the various creeds if the intention is to mold and form our thoughts. While I see the value in it as a group I'm less sure about it in an individual setting. It just feels strangely formal but perhaps that is because I never grew up with that tradition. I guess the bottom line is whether it is pleasing to God, and it feels like in that regard we are all often guessing. When I think of prayer myself I think more of waiting and listening then what I should say.

  2. I haven't read any book about prayer. But there are three things that have helped me create a "liturgy of prayer."

    First, Anglican prayer beads. I use these to say the Jesus Prayer (on the week beads) and the Lord's Prayer (on the cruciform beads).

    Second, I use The Book of Common Prayer. I try to say the Morning Office in the morning and Compline before going to bed.

    Third, echoing Sgt. Pepper's comment, for a solid year I prayed the Psalms. The best tool I've found for this is The Paraclete Psalter:

  3. I just wanted to share a book that I have found particularly transformative as a Unitarian Universalist who started from a place of doubt in prayer. Beginner's Grace by Kate Braestrup has, among other things, inspired me with the idea of the threshold prayer.

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