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True Prayer: An Invitation to Christian Spirituality Hardcover – 1980

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 202 pages
  • Publisher: Harper & Row; 1st U.S. ed edition (1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060652276
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060652272
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 13.7 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,118,479 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 Aug. 1998
Format: Paperback
This book was an assigned reading in one of my theology classes as a religion major. I had no idea it would be such a good book. The title leads one to believe that it'll be good but I didn't know this good. Leech encourages his readers to seek a deeper understanding of God through a very old style of writing; the traditional religious research style. As a whole it's difficult to explain but if you're looking for a "how to pray" book and really want to know what it is to PRAY this is the book for you!
I'd love to hear anyone's comments about what Leech has to say!
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Format: Paperback
As I am suspicious of 'spirituality', thinking that it can be an escape from the problems of the real world which ought to be concerning Christians, a book by Ken Leech, who is manifestly not an escapist, is important reading material. I am pleased that he says that prayer must be a quest in self-knowledge and that it must issue in social concern, though I still don't see why the best prayers are the best theologians, because, being brought up in the Western tradition, I see theology as an objective exercise which may be studied by atheists and Christians alike; many would say that I am really talking about Religious Studies, not theology, but I'm' not sure about that because a study of theology is bound to raise important question: about the way people intepret meaning and purpose in life and an atheist can be just as much involved in a quest for meaning as can a theist. His stress on the importance of a balanced life, which a rule might help to achieve provided that the rule doesn't become an end in itself, is very helpful. Setting aside at least an hour of prayer, however, is somewhat of a luxury that very few people will be able to afford time for. I know that people who take sport seriously would think nothing of an hour's exercise a day, similarly a pianist with an hour's daily practice, but I wonder how many Christians could give an hour a day to prayer, given that all Christian activity is prayer. Are all called to be mystics?

I like his stress on the importance of the use of the body in prayer, especially of speaking in tongues; there must have been millions of Christians who have used the gift of tongues long before the present charismatic movement became famous. It is good to see an acknowledgement of glossalalia in a 'mainstream' writer.
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Format: Paperback
In this book, Father Ken gives a very complete and detailed survey of the whole subject of Christian Spiritual Direction, also he makes useful reference to the parallels in other faith's spiritual approaches.
I have found this book to be a very useful source of information, but at the time wanted a more approachable book to help my own personal prayer life. Of course, actually having a personal 'soul friend' or prayer companion has been the best solution for me.
God bless,
david
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Amazing! It's the Lord's Prayer in a whole new light! 21 Aug. 1998
By ADPayton@trevecca.edu - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book was an assigned reading in one of my theology classes as a religion major. I had no idea it would be such a good book. The title leads one to believe that it'll be good but I didn't know this good. Leech encourages his readers to seek a deeper understanding of God through a very old style of writing; the traditional religious research style. As a whole it's difficult to explain but if you're looking for a "how to pray" book and really want to know what it is to PRAY this is the book for you!
I'd love to hear anyone's comments about what Leech has to say!
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Comprehensive and exciting 23 Jan. 1998
By akar1@juno.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A truly wonderful book on the gift that forms the basis of the whole of the Christian faith. Kenneth Leech has written a comprehensive and exciting book full of history, spirit and practical advice.
perceptive, prayer and politics 12 April 2015
By Mr. D. P. Jay - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
As I am suspicious of 'spirituality', thinking that it can be an escape from the problems of the real world which ought to be concerning Christians, a book by Ken Leech, who is manifestly not an escapist, is important reading material. I am pleased that he says that prayer must be a quest in self-knowledge and that it must issue in social concern, though I still don't see why the best prayers are the best theologians, because, being brought up in the Western tradition, I see theology as an objective exercise which may be studied by atheists and Christians alike; many would say that I am really talking about Religious Studies, not theology, but I'm' not sure about that because a study of theology is bound to raise important question: about the way people intepret meaning and purpose in life and an atheist can be just as much involved in a quest for meaning as can a theist. His stress on the importance of a balanced life, which a rule might help to achieve provided that the rule doesn't become an end in itself, is very helpful. Setting aside at least an hour of prayer, however, is somewhat of a luxury that very few people will be able to afford time for. I know that people who take sport seriously would think nothing of an hour's exercise a day, similarly a pianist with an hour's daily practice, but I wonder how many Christians could give an hour a day to prayer, given that all Christian activity is prayer. Are all called to be mystics?

I like his stress on the importance of the use of the body in prayer, especially of speaking in tongues; there must have been millions of Christians who have used the gift of tongues long before the present charismatic movement became famous. It is good to see an acknowledgement of glossalalia in a 'mainstream' writer.

The chapter on 'prayer and politics' which stresses the historical nature of the Christian faith is a chapter I would wish several people I know would read, giving as it does, quotations from 'sound' spiritual writers who these people quote avidly and yet selectively, thinking that politics and religion don't mix.

The chapter on the eucharist is one of the best I've read for a long time, carrying as it does, many of the ideas of Conrad Noel and other Christian socialists, who saw the mass as a symbolic model of the taking up off all matter into God. The ceremonial with which they vested the mass was of great importance and yet, sadly, is not the preserve of middle-class ghetto churches who cry 'The Temple of the Lord' and do seemingly nothing to advance the kingdom of God beyond private piety. The more I read catholics like Leech, the more 'sick' I feel the church I used to attend to be, yet I don't know what to do about it as it is merely sharing in the spirit of the age and in the general sickness of Western European Christianity, be it catholic, protestant of liberal. Leech's section on Benediction is one of the best rationales I've read for a service which I love but which, theologically, I find it impossible to justify. I would like to scale this section down, modify it and use it as a sermon.

His section for self-examination, based on the beatitudes, is extremely perceptive, and it makes me feel much more of a sinner than the traditional 'Have I.... How many times?' and there is much scope for self-knowledge here.

I still do not really understand the 'dark night of the soul' stuff and am tempted to wonder whether, at root, it is about a faith which is gone off because there isn't really a god after all and people are justifying existential despair in terms which enable them to hang on the a faith which they have really lost. The writings of the mystics on this subject seem a far cry from the assurance of the early Christians and I cannot see that such a belief could 'win' many souls. Perhaps some are called to 'identify with Christ in his dereliction' but it doesn't seem to convey the sort of wholeness, rather a world-denying depressive state, which Christianity is supposed to be about.

The last chapter seems to ramble, but its insights into the daily office, the sacrament of anointing and the figure of Mary are good as foils to the piety beloved of many catholics.

I enjoyed this book and hope to use it again in thinking out teaching and preaching as it has stimulated several thoughts which could each be projects in themselves.
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