Kneeling With Giants: Learning to Pray with History’s Best Teachers

Kneeling with Giants: Learning to Pray with History's Best TeachersSummary: A look at 10 different forms of prayer through  biographical sketches.

There are so many books on prayer.  As Evangelicals have started paying more attention to historical theology, church history and church practices of other streams of Christian faith there is a need for books like Kneeling with Giants to help us understand the value of prayer practices that we may not be as familiar with.

Gary Hansen takes his experience teaching prayer practices to seminary students and melds it with good church history.  In many ways the actual information is not much different from what has been presented in other books, like Richard Foster’s Prayer.  But this book will appeal to those that like their history in biographical sketch.  Foster can be a bit heady at times.

Hansen is very approachable, but equally helpful in giving historical context to why the style of prayer is appropriate (for instance discussing the rise of fixed hour prayer in monasteries or the influence of the Puritans on spiritual journaling.)  But he doesn’t leave it abstract, Hansen connects the practice with a particular Christian and show how that person was influenced by that particular form of prayer.

Hansen is not unabashedly supportive of all of the forms.  He believes that they all have value.  But that there can be extremes or theological problems with some forms of the prayer practices.  What Hansen is trying to suggest is that there is more to prayer than a Wednesday night prayer meeting and a daily intercessory prayer time.  God has created us differently and we will be attracted and encouraged by different forms of prayer.

The forms/biographical sketches are: St Benedict/Divine Office, Martin Luther/Lord’s Prayer, the Pilgrim/Jesus Prayer, John Calvin/Meditation on the Psalms, Ignatius/Prayer of the Senses, St Teresa of Avila/Presence of God, Puritans/Journaling, The Cloud of Unknowing, Agnes Sanford/Healing Prayer, Andrew Murray/Intercession.

Kneeling with Giants Purchase Links: Paperback, Kindle Edition

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This book was provided by IVP in a Facebook giveaway.  I will give away the (used) paperback to the first person that asks below in the comments.

3 Comments

Always into learning more about prayer! Could I snag it?

Dear Adam:
Many thanks for your review here and on Goodreads! I’m very grateful as you help this book fulfill its mission — helping God’s people find ways to go deeper in prayer than they have ever done before, and to do so by finding ways of praying that really fit their needs.
Blessings,
Gary

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