Kneeling with Giants: Learning to Pray with History's Best Teachers
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InterVarsity Press / 2012 / Paperback

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Kneeling with Giants: Learning to Pray with History's Best Teachers

InterVarsity Press / 2012 / Paperback

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CBD Stock No: WW835620

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Product Description

This guide to prayer is rooted in centuries of Christian tradition. In each chapter you'll meet a figure from church history, such as Benedict, Luther, Calvin, Ignatius, Teresa of Avila and Andrew Murray. You'll learn how each of these spiritual giants uniquely connected to God through prayer.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 192
Vendor: InterVarsity Press
Publication Date: 2012
Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0830835628
ISBN-13: 9780830835621

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Publisher's Description

2013 Christian Resources Together Devotional Book of the Year! Do you sometimes find yourself searching for a way to approach God or wondering how to get out of a devotional slump? Do you long for spiritual guides you can trust? This guide to prayer is rooted in centuries of Christian tradition. In each chapter you'll meet a figure from church history, such as St. Benedict, Martin Luther, John Calvin, St. Ignatius, Teresa of Ávila and Andrew Murray. You'll learn how each of these spiritual giants uniquely connected to God through prayer. Each chapter provides an opportunity to practice a different method for prayer, including the divine office, the Lord's Prayer, the Jesus Prayer, healing prayer and meditation on the Psalms. In the process your own prayer practice will be refreshed and renewed. Journey into church history and enliven each day of your prayer life. A complimentary companion volume is included in the e-book edition of Kneeling with Giants. The Reader has a full chapter of primary source material corresponding to each of the ten chapters of Kneeling with Giants, with selections chosen to clearly introduce each approach to prayer in its original context. It includes the best modern translations of non-English works, hard to find works, including three Puritan texts and four complete "hours" of the pre-Vatican II Benedictine daily office so that readers can experience the cycle of Benedictine prayer with ease.

Author Bio

Gary Neal Hansen (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary) is a writer, retreat speaker, and church historian. He is the author of several books, including and . A visiting scholar at the University of Pittsburgh's Department of Religious Studies, he also previously was professor of church history and the chair of the history and theology division at University of Dubuque Theological Seminary.

Editorial Reviews

"Hansen goes a long way toward bridging the gap between doctrine and faith. And he does it with simplicity and an invitational spirit."
"Here is a book that invites each of us to learn how to pray. Not only is Gary Hansen a superb scholar and historical theologian, he also writes with a personal warmth and earnestness that makes his readers feel safe and encouraged as they trace with him the journeys of a company of remarkable men and women from Christian history. The mark of each was that they cared deeply about prayer, and because of that we are enriched as we learn from them. Hansen also invites us to experience our own life of prayer as we learn from this rare community of brothers and sisters--people like St. Benedict, Martin Luther, Ignatius of Loyola, St. Teresa of Ávila and Andrew Murray. I was personally challenged and encouraged in each chapter, and I recommend this book enthusiastically."
"Prayer is one of those areas where one model or one mentor just isn't enough. I've never been good at prayer, and mostly blamed my lack of discipline. But Kneeling with Giants is changing all that as I am now experimenting with many more ways to pray--and doing so under the tutelage of some of God's great heroes of faith. Gary Hansen has provided us with a very practical guide drawn from these saints' actual prayer practices. He also supplies wonderful materials at every turn to make the journey rich and expansive. This is a unique and wonderful resource!"
"By seeing prayer through some of church history's most valuable mentors, this book leads us into practices that are both deep and accessible. It is a book that informs, invites and nourishes our hunger for God. Feast in it!"
"In this remarkable book Mr. Hansen offers a key insight about a particular way to pray, drawn from spiritual giants of the past. As a good guide he reminds us that the point is not just to learn about these famous ascetics and their books but to actually pray and experience God as they did. Mr. Hansen, a Presbyterian seminary professor, helps us by explaining, for instance, St. Benedict's insight on using the Divine Office, Luther's teachings on the Lord's Prayer, Calvin's studious meditations on the Psalms, St. Teresa of Avila's experiences of recollecting the presence of God or even learning how and why the Puritans wrote out their prayers."
"I would encourage those desiring help in their prayer life to pick this book up and use it as a resource. It is not a book you should read cover to cover, but slowly and thoughtfully while attempting each method. Prayer is hard and it would be wise to use the teachers of the past. Dr. Hansen helps us with that."

Product Reviews

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  1. Illinois
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Looking to boost your spiritual life?
    February 21, 2013
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Does your prayer life need a boost? Does the ACTS prayer acrostic just not seem like enough? Do you feel like you are a prayer neophyte instead of a prayer giant? Gary Neal Hansen's book Kneeling with Giants: Learning to Pray with History's Best Teachers published by InterVarsity Press introduces readers to ten prayer practices as taught by several prayer giants.

    Kneeling with Giants is divided into four sections each focusing on a particular type of prayer including written prayers, using the Bible in prayer, communing with God, and asking God for help. Within each section, several different prayer types are described. Hansen succinctly introduces the spiritual giant associated with each prayer type and then describes how to practice that prayer model. I found it interesting that several of the prayer models mentioned are ones I had been exposed to previously but I was not familiar with the prayer giant associated with the practice. Hansen frequently references various primary sources related to each prayer type and encourages readers to investigate for themselves. In fact, the e-copy of Kneeling with the Giants includes a companion volume titled Kneeling with the Giants Reader which contains primary sources related to each of the prayer giants discussed. Although I had the printed copy, the primary sources contained in the companion reader enticed me to purchase the e-copy as well. I truly wish the companion reader was available in a printed option as well and hope InterVarsity Press and the author will reconsider this decision.

    Hansen emphasizes that each type of prayer or prayer style is not for everyone. Some people will resonate with one type of prayer rather than another. Some seasons of life may lend to a particular giant's prayer practices. Hansen's approach was quite encouraging as some prayer books tend to emphasize one prayer model to the exclusion of others or insinuate that truly spiritual people follow a particular prayer practice. However, Hansen does encourage readers to spend a few weeks practicing each type of prayer rather than dismissing it out of hand. As prayer must be practiced rather than simply read about, readers will wish to dip in and out of this book rather than read it straight through. Hansen provides an appendix describing possible ways to use this book in classes or small group studies. Due to the emphasis that prayer must be practiced, he suggests selecting a few of the prayer giants to study and practice at a time rather than tackling the entire book in 12 weeks. To assist with this, a second appendix provides suggestions for how to begin each prayer practice.

    Kneeling with Giants is recommended for multiple venues. Hansen's book would make a marvelous addition to a college or seminary course on prayer or the spiritual disciplines. However, even in such a class it would be difficult to adequately explore all ten practices in a sixteen week course. A small group may find this a wonderful resource to dip into from time to time. For example, a group could select one prayer practice to read and discuss as a group and then to practice individually for a determined amount of time such as a month. An individual would find Kneeling with Giants a useful resource for jump starting a prayer life that has become stale or to focus on a particular prayer practice for a period of time such as during Lent.

    Disclaimer: I received a complementary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review and feedback. Quite honestly, my library had already purchased a copy and I had this on my "to-read stack" prior to receiving a review copy.
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