Theist Thursday: Never Pray Again

Posted 12 June, 2014 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in Reviews

Theist Thursday: Never Pray AgainNever Pray Again by Aric Clark, Doug Hagler, Nick Larson
Published by Chalice Press on April 30th 2014
Genres: Christian Life, Christian Ministry, Christian Rituals & Practice, Discipleship, General, Personal Growth, Religion, Spiritual Growth
Pages: 160

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange honest review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Never Pray Again encourages readers to "lift your chin, open your eyes, unfold your hands and get to work". The authors, writers of the popular "Two Friars and a Fool" blog, find the purpose of prayers not in the praying but in the doing--to Praise! Confess! Heal! Intercede! The book follows a traditional liturgical structure, drawing upon major forms of prayer and presenting each as a practice rather than merely a prayer.

This is a fabulous book. I’ll repeat, this book is awesome. As an atheist, one of my pet peeves on Facebook is when someone posts about something awful happening to them and then there’s a slew of people who will comment: “Praying!”. 

I don’t do it all the time, but when I can depending on the situation and how close I am to the individual I send a message to the person asking what I can do for them. Can I cook them some meals to freeze? Send their kids some books to read? Money? A hug? 

For reasons that are probably obvious I feel like this practice is so much more useful than praying. The authors of this book are men of God, they are honest-to-goodness followers of Christ, but I find their advice to be practical and enlightening. There is something that everyone, secular or religious, could gain from reading this book with an open mind. 

This book begins with a promise after the introduction, not to mention the word prayer again, and the author keeps to his word! Instead readers are taken through chapters starting with Awaken! and Praise! into more dubious words of Confess!, Expel!, Heal!, Intercede!, and Beg!. At the end of each chapter there are ‘experiments’ suggested. I loved this feature, these experiments because they will be useful for everyone in getting out of their comfort zones and lead to greater understanding amongst all of us, Christian, atheist, and otherwise.

Experiments in Awakening
  • Listen deeply to someone who is wrong (and do not correct them).Fight every urge to open your mouth and instead set aside your own opinions and try to understand what they are trying to tell you.
  • List the actual beliefs and compare them to the beliefs of your sect, or if you aren’t part of any sect compare them to the beliefs of your peers.Look at what is consistent and what isn’t. Are you just parroting dogma, or is this what you really believe? Do you want to change how you live or do you want to change what you say you believe? 
  • Skip church and volunteer instead. Compare experiences and decide which one you want to attend next time.
Each chapter ends with three or four suggestions of things to actually DO that can be used to (I think) show the best of what Christianity can be. 

If you’re looking for a book that’s a call to action. This book is it. This statement should be qualified with that while this book is a call for action – it is not a call to go out and share VERBALLY your commitment to Christ. No, the call is to go out and be more Christlike. 

So, if a good time sounds like handing out pamphlets and talking to strangers about Christ’s love… this book is not for you. If your idea of a good time is to get out of your comfort zone and work with people outside of your comfort zone and to question everything… all while aspiring to emulate Jesus as much as possible. Well, this might be for you. 
Again, I think that this is a brilliant book that all we all could stand to learn something from. 
Absolutely fabulous. Definitely check out the Two Friars and a Fool blog. What do you think, Reader? Does this look like it might be a book for you?

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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