Uncommon Prayer: Prayer In Everyday Experience

Hardcover | September 15, 2016

byMichael Plekon

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In Uncommon Prayer: Prayer in Everyday Experience, Michael Plekon wants to change our minds on what constitutes prayer. In doing so, he makes a theological claim that to understand different aspects of the Christian life as prayer, one encourages everyday life to be understood as carrying religious import; prayer and the religious life are not restricted to special places and times, but are open to all believers at all times. Plekon examines the works of diverse authors, including many who have challenged the status quo of institutional churches. He asks us to listen to what poets, writers, activists, and others tell us about how they pray at work and at home, with colleagues, family, and friends, in all the experiences of life, from joy to suffering, sadness to hope.  Among them are Sarah Coakley, Rowan Williams, Heather Havrilesky, Sara Miles, Thomas Merton, Mary Oliver, Christian Wiman, Mary Karr, Barbara Brown Taylor, Dorothy Day, Maria Skobtsova, Paul Evdokimov, Seraphim of Sarov, and Richard Rohr. Plekon argues that prayer encompasses a much wider variety of activity than formal and liturgical prayers and that, by recognizing such aspects of prayer, the believer is made more receptive to transformative aspects of prayerful attitudes.

"Many books on prayer, even for a more academic audience, are rather thin on contemporary authors. This book does a fine job of looking carefully at a number of important, contemporary theologians (in a broad sense of this term) who write on this topic. This should be an important book for scholars, students, and thoughtful readers in the field of spirituality and spiritual theology. I think that many scholars and students in the various pastoral and practical theological disciplines would find it interesting and worth reading." —Alan G. Padgett, Luther Seminary
 

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From the Publisher

In Uncommon Prayer: Prayer in Everyday Experience, Michael Plekon wants to change our minds on what constitutes prayer. In doing so, he makes a theological claim that to understand different aspects of the Christian life as prayer, one encourages everyday life to be understood as carrying religious import; prayer and the religious life...

From the Jacket

"Uncommon Prayer indeed! Only theologians as steeped in the mystical tradition of the Orthodox Church as Michael Plekon can write with theological depth and spiritual insight on how to pray uncommonly in common experiences of life. Whether you are a theologian, a hermit, a poet, a person going through the darkness of the soul, a teache...

Michael Plekon is professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and in the Program in Religion and Culture at Baruch College of the City University of New York. He is also an ordained priest in the Orthodox Church in America and the author or editor of a number of books, including Hidden Holiness and Saints As They Really A...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:280 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.1 inPublished:September 15, 2016Publisher:University of Notre Dame PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0268100004

ISBN - 13:9780268100001

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"This book will be radical but also traditional at the same time. Sometimes prayer is not respectfully asking things of God or, for that matter, desperately demanding that God fix things for us. Neither is it always praising God or begging forgiveness. Or expressing gratitude or even exulting in the beauty and presence in the world around us. We will see that for some great souls, it is simply being there in silence, before God, not even trying to imagine God or communicate with God. The point is that in so doing we are much more likely to eventually listen and hear what God has to say to us. I will suggest that prayer may be the joy of being together with friends and neighbors to eat, to celebrate, and also to work, to make things. Being with others, caring for them, teaching and learning with them, is prayer. So is confronting the dark, what we do not know, what we fear, whether failure, sickness, aging, the bad things we and others do, or death. . . . Some of those to whom we will listen here, particularly poets, will tell us prayer, more than anything else, is paying very close attention—to the woods, the beach, to the animals both wild and tame—and, by extension, paying attention to the natural world will lead to paying attention to others, and at last to ourselves. Going inside, following what many call the prayer of the heart, is how to find our true selves." —from the introduction, Uncommon Prayer: Prayer in Everyday Experience by Michael Plekon  

Editorial Reviews

"In this substantive and enlightening work, Plekon turns to poets, saints, writers, theologians, and activists who demonstrate in word and deed that 'there is no time of day, no activity, no place that cannot be prayer.' God is present in all of our lived experiences and resides in family, neighbors, colleagues, and strangers." —SpiritualityandPractice.com, 2016