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In Constant Prayer

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  • Posted January 30, 2012


    The book, “In Constant Prayer” was really insightful and thought provoking. The reason why I chose this book was because I was struggling in prayer and thought that this book could help lift my spirits and teach me how to prayer more and possibly not feel as awkward praying. This book did exactly as I was hoping it would do. It helped give me specific points to help strengthen my prayer life. It gave me practical examples to make prayer seem easier and not as awkward. I also like how Benson gave background on how prayer came to be which was interesting to me since I never really thought of how prayer came to be I just thought it was always there.
    The downside of this book is that it was a little difficult to read because of the language. I am Christian Missionary Alliance and this book is written using Catholic terminology, which I am not all that in tune too. Even though this book used different terminology I still felt that if I uncovered those terms I could understand the book better. I looked up some of the terms and that helped me understand the book and would suggest other readers do the same if they come from different denominational backgrounds.

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  • Posted July 20, 2011

    Have you lost your appetite for daily prayer?

    As a Pentecostal, I have learned spontaneity in all my praying life. This book has opened a new dimension to my praying world in the 'daily office' prayer. After finishing the book, I must confess that I know little of praying the ancient prayer and the power contains therein. Therefore, it has been a difficult read but nonetheless, enriching. I admire Robert Benson in writing this book that he never did criticise any other forms of prayer but only to present his best know how of prayer to the world. He was transparent throughout his book and with this; he has already won and warmed my heart. This book is for everyone who has lost the burden of daily prayer life and desires to come back to a fixed time of communion with God. I give this book a three-star.

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  • Posted June 20, 2011

    Misleading title, but good read

    When I first became aware of the book, I was attracted to what I thought it was going to be about. I had thought it would be an exhortation and advice on the concept of praying always, as St. Paul urges. I had hoped that it would inspire me to redouble my efforts and perhaps help me learn new ways and means to pray. Make it an even greater part of my everyday life. Take time from my schedule for my relationship with God. Instead, the book is about the Liturgy of the Hours, or Divine Office.

    I have prayed the Office for years, although mainly Morning Prayer and only on occasion. I do love the rhythm that The Office offers, and the fact that it opens up the Psalms to be prayed when I might not otherwise pay attention to them. And then there is the discipline. Benson offers a quote from a friend: "the three greatest obstacles to the spiritual life are inertia, amnesia and manana." The Office, done in community, gives greater motivation to be faithful to prayer, similar to how the Anonymous groups keep a recovering person the support and structure s/he needs to keep on his/her journey. I know I need to be similarly supported on my journey.

    So, even though the book was not what I was anticipating, this does not take away from its value. It makes a strong case, from anecdotes from various people's lives, about the value of the Office, and pleads (softly) for the reader to consider joining a community to pray. It is light reading, and made me rethink my commitment to the community with whom I infrequently pray.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2011

    My Review

    This book makes a few very good points in it, but there was also a couple things that could have made it better.One of my favourite things that it talks about is how people have made the worhip of God to be all about themselves. People say they don't go to church because they "don't get anything out of it." etc. Howevr, when you worship someone, it should not be about yourself. This book shows that we worship God, for God. We are thanking him for what he has done, and we are there to put on the best show for him that we know how to do, regardless of what we're getting. We should be giving to God. And, quite often when we do, we will get something out of it. We will feel God's spirit working within us, but if we don't, it doesn't mean we should stop.

    Another thing I liked about this book is it's point on, if you set aside a time to pray every day, and someone else does the same, and someone else does the same. Well, There can be prayer lifted to God at all times. 24/7. It's when people don't take time to pray, and it happens more and more nowadays, that there could be gaps. I don't want to think of a world with no prayer in it at all, even for a moment.

    The one thing that bugged me about this book, is that, while I knew the author was a male, he suddenly describes his "school girl" figure on page 87 or so. now it was meant as a joke or whatever, but it threw me right off. Suddenly I thought the book was written by a female. There are so many first person stories in the book that I had come to picture the author and then for the next few chapters I was mostly just trying to change that image in my head and missed out on what I was reading. Then it came clear again that it was a male and it was back to the start again. Don't get me wrong, this isn't an important factor, but when I read, I always picture the person narrating a first person story and if that image changes it throws me right off. I know what you're thinking, why didn't a check the author on the cover? Well, I did. but when I suddenly thought it was a female, the name Phyllis Tickle stood out more than the Robert Benson. Phyllis Tickle wrote the books forward. So, if you go into this book, don't let the school girl quote throw you off!

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  • Posted May 30, 2011

    A great book on prayer

    I chose this book specifically because of my bad attitude toward prayer. Now don't get me wrong, I pray and I know there is great value in our prayers, but I simply do not / did not understand it. I don't see the purpose in it. Why would God want us to pray? He knows and is in control of everything. What, really, is the purpose??? (Even after reading this book, I don't have the answers to that.) So I chose this book so that I could learn about prayer. I didn't get what I was expecting or hoping for. I got different and maybe better than that! I gained a huge appreciation for prayer.

    I suppose in my life in the church I had heard about praying at specific times in the day. I would say that this ritual / routine was more something I attributed to the other religions - Muslims, and such - not Christian people. And yet, I see remnants of it - we have a devotional time when we wake up, we say grace at meals, we say bedtime prayers. This was my life growing up, though it's not so much at this point in my life.

    I loved how friendly the author's writing is. I felt like we were just sitting and having a coffee and a conversation. I laughed. I sighed. I related to his honesty. I wish I'd taken more notes while I read this book. I guess I'll have to read it again! I know I will get things I missed the first time. I know that after reading this book, I want to add some specific times of prayer to my life. I may not follow a specific set of prayers, but I will find what works for me, my kids, my life, and ultimately, my relationship with my God.

    Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Thanks to Book Sneeze for this opportunity!

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  • Posted April 4, 2011

    5 stars are not enough...

    In Constant Prayer by Robert Benson is the second installment in The Ancient Practices series. Robert Benson gives a historical look at the daily office and with the mastery of his poetic style he makes the practice approachable. The origins of this ancient prayer states: "Seven times a day will I rise to praise your name." This statement alone may cause many to wonder how this is possible in light of our busy days. Benson helps the reader understand that this type of prayer is not just for nuns and monks, it is meant for everyone. It is meant to answer the cry to "pray without ceasing". The truth is that the divine office was never meant to be just for professionals, or to be prayed just by a few. It was meant to be prayed by all the faithful, or at least it has been for six thousand years. It was meant to be part and parcel of our individual piety and our common life of devotion. It was meant to be offered by all of us. The daily office is a liturgy as well as an offering. Even though it is known also by the divine hours, it does not take an hour to say. In fact, it takes considerably less time. "In the simplest of terms," Robert writes, "the daily office is a regular pattern and order for formal worship and prayer that is offered to God at specific times throughout the course of the day. Each set of prayers, known as an office, is made up of psalms, scriptures, and prayers." The book offers many different types of prayer books that are available. In choosing one, this is his suggestion: Here's the golden rule for choosing which set of prayers you are going to say: pick a set of prayers you like, and begin to pray them. The particular version, the set of prayers you pray, is up to you. And how many offices-- seven or four or two--and which of the offices you will say--morning or noon or evening or night-- those choices are up to you as well. The One who has drawn you to begin will guide you as you go along. How is that for making the sacred simple? I believe reading this book will give you a hunger to experience prayer in a different way. Not only will you learn about this ancient practice that needs to have a place in our contemporary lives but you will be moved by Robert Benson's experiences and humble offerings as a seeker of the King. Look at the cover of In Constant Prayer and you will see an image of prayer. The daily office is an offering to God and how He intertwines Himself with us. Robert Benson's book offering illustrates the image beautifully. For your consideration...In Constant Prayer.

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  • Posted March 7, 2011

    highly recommended

    The question always plagued me...what does praying without ceasing mean? Obviously, I can't pray 24/7! I have a husband, children, and (to be honest here) tv to watch! Besides sleeping and daydreaming (which take up a lot of time!).

    "In Constant Prayer" by Robert Benson obviously caught my eye by the title. What does it mean to pray without ceasing? Benson taught me about the offices of prayer. Apparently, back in the BC days, God's people prayed 7 times a day. The set up was like a church service (or rather a temple service?) with certain things said, prayed, and Scripture read. Like a mini church service, seven times a day. Benson said (and it makes complete sense) that Jesus himself would have grown up learning to pray these seven times a day and the apostles, too. So when they became Christians after Christ's crucifixion, they kept praying the prayers seven times every day. Then as the world grew and got busier, many stopped praying seven times a day (and some people stopped praying at all as they grew away from the Lord). I'd never even HEARD of the offices of prayer until reading this book.

    The book itself takes a little bit to get into; it's not a Twilight novel. But it is well-written and humorous too. Benson obviously is very passionate about the offices (which comes in handy when you're writing a book on such things). He is an Episcopalian - which I have very little idea of what that is except that it seems to be closer to the Catholic church than my non-denominational church. He is also an older man and I've realized that many older people prefer traditional things in their church services: hymns of days passed, Communion done in a certain fashion, certain Scriptures read on certain days Lenten/Advent services, and basically things that never change. Not saying this is bad; it's just not for everyone (myself included). I find that too often it seems that people in churches where there is much human tradition (whether biblical or not) don't understand what those traditions MEAN. They have lost all of their meaning and therefore, are just words and habits. They have zero connection to the Lord, unfortunately.

    I say unfortunately because I believe that in ancient traditions there is a connect to the Lord. I really do love saying The Lord's Prayer, the Nicene Creed, the Apostle's Creed (although the latter two have been years since I've said them since leaving the Lutheran church). The people who wrote the last two prayers and Jesus who taught us the first prayer, did

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  • Posted March 3, 2011


    Reading a book by Robert Benson is like sitting in a big comfortable chair across from him while he shares stories that teach. In this book, In Constant Prayer, the stories revolve around liturgical prayer becoming part of our daily lives. Who would think that there would be enough stories, interesting stories at that, about such a topic? Yet, Benson makes it relevant, appealing and challenging.

    From someone who worships at a contemporary evangelical church, I found Benson's ideas to be very thought-provoking. When all that is involved with worship is Sunday morning praise songs with a hymn thrown in every now and then, worship seems a little shallow. This brings prayer and worship to the daily. While much of repeating the prayers and psalms can be mundane, it is through the mundane that we catch glimpses of the holy. The analogy Benson uses for this is the tedious work involved in gardening; as a direct result of all the tedium, he catches a moment of pure beauty in the garden when the light falls just right on the roses and it takes his breath away.

    I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone seeking a deeper relationship with God through prayer.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze® book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2011

    Tells about the importance of constant prayer

    In Constant Prayer is a one of the books in The Ancient Practices series, a series of books that explores the traditional spiritual disciplines used for centuries. Authored by Robert Benson, In Constant Prayer talks about prayer and the importance of a regular communication with God to our lives as Christians. It is important that you have an open mind and that you're really interested in knowing how prayer could affect your life positively while reading this book in order to appreciate the message that it wants to convey. It was written in a conversational manner, with a sharing of a few personal experiences and some anecdotes here and there - and it's easy to think that it's just beating around the bush most of the times (especially if you're one who just wants to look at the keywords). Basically, this book tells us that we have to constantly commune with God through prayer many times throughout the day. At first, I disagreed with the logic of setting a fixed hour of schedule to pray because I believe that in order for prayer to be sincere, it should be spontaneous and should come from the heart - no rules, no fixed date. Then I remembered how we could send text messages or call our loved ones in phones for countless of times a day especially at the start of the relationship and I realized that if we also want to really create a close relationship with God, we should also strive to constantly seek him out many times a day until it becomes a habit and we'll now consider it as a necessity instead of a chore. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Posted February 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    What is "the daily office?" What is "praying the hours?"

    Do you want to experience the spiritual part of life more deeply?

    Then I highly recommend this book.

    I was raised in a non-liturgical, Christian tradition, which emphasized spontaneous prayers of the heart. Although there is great value in this form of spiritual communication, Mr. Benson gives a clear introduction to the discipline of reading or reciting the "daily office" and "praying the hours."

    Just as devout Muslims and Jews pray at set hours every day, so also many Christians throughout the past 2000 years have prayed at set times throughout the day. Some liturgial denominations continue to support this practice, but it is a lost art in most contemporary Christian churches.

    If you would like to learn more about some prayer books available for devotional use, or the tactics necessary to find time to begin this practice, or anything else related to using scripted prayers to develop your spiritual sensitivites, then pick up a copy of this book!

    Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in return for my unbiased recommendation.

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  • Posted February 20, 2011

    In Constant Search

    When I first heard about the "Ancient Practices" series, the book on prayer interested me most. I loved the concept, the topic, and the series offerings. In Constant Prayer instead left me constantly searching for anything ancient or new about prayer. What I found instead was a recommendation to return to ancient church (not necessarily Biblical) practices. The author told me I could pray the same prayer as Jesus to His Father but he never told me what prayer that was. He told me all about this idea of the office but never gave an example until the appendix. He did provide plenty of excuses and anecdotes for not praying. This is old, nay, ancient material. It was certainly no encouragement to engage in prayer whether ancient or contemporary.

    The support for his position seemed lacking as only two other works appeared in the bibliography. So overall, I learned nothing new from this book about the ancient practice of constant prayer. At one point I was excited by the prospect of finding out how, as an individual, I might learn to pray without ceasing. Instead, the author leads us to believe that this is accomplished corporately as individuals and churches around the world pray the "office" within their time zones of prayer.

    I would have enjoyed learning about the ancient origins of the hours of prayer in Bible times. Instead, the author simply offered these as mere facts and then moved on with his personal stories, few of which directly had anything to do with prayer.

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  • Posted February 17, 2011

    A Must Read for anyone wanting to deepen their prayer life!

    In Constant Prayer, by Robert Benson is a crash course on praying the daily office. The daily office is explained in this book through examples of people who make it a way of life as well as instruction on what it is all about and how to get started in the practice. Although the author comes from a traditional standpoint, he does a good job of making the ideas accessible to people in all walks of Christianity. The daily office is a liturgical practice of praying "through the hours" in a structured way that has been passed down through the ages based on David's words about praying seven times throughout the day. I would recommend this book to anyone who is seeking a way of prayer that helps them to structure their prayer lives more traditionally and liturgically. While I may not use this book's instructions for the daily office at this time of my life, I am drawn to the traditional that it portrays and will most likely use it in the near future. The most useful part of the book is at the end of the book when the author provides an example of one daily office for the morning. It allows people unfamiliar with the liturgical aspects of the office to understand what the author means by example. Even the most non-traditional Christians who may have never heard of the daily office will be drawn to some form of the daily office after reading this book.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2011

    Learn to pray

    "Get this book," my best friend told me. "I've been meaning to buy it for you--I thought of you every chapter when I read it." This is the friend who knows me better than anyone except my husband--there was nothing to do but get the book.

    Benson's "In Constant Prayer" is a book about liturgical prayer, specifically about using the daily office for what most evangelicals would call personal quiet time. It's a primer on what the daily office is for people who think that is office is where you keep your desk. It's a challenge and encouragement to the Protestants to take up this ancient practice. It's a poetic meditation on beauty and challenges of choosing this form of structuring your prayer life.

    It's been a long time since I read a book that simultaneously challenged, convicted and encouraged me like this one has. Here is a way to practice prayer, he suggests, for those of us who are no good at praying and aren't ever going to be on our own. It's utterly deflating and freeing. So you're not a praying artiste. You don't need to be. You don't need to reinvent "quiet time." The church throughout the ages has an easy step-by-step guide for you.

    Most American Christians are not very good people of prayer. If you feel like you ought to pray more, but just can't quite seem to get it to work, try praying by the recipe with Benson and the daily office.

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  • Posted February 16, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    In Constant Prayer

    Over the past few years, the Lord has been taking me on a journey of discovering the Spiritual Disciplines. A lot of my journey has been focused on my prayer life and how to live out the mandate to "pray without ceasing" in a world that so desperately wants me NOT to "pray without ceasing".

    So imagine my delight when I received this complementary book from Thomas Nelson Publishing in exchange for agreeing to review the book on this site. A free book to help me pursue the passion God has already stirred in my heart!

    The book focuses on The Daily Office prayers. Not having grown up in a liturgical church, I was unfamiliar with this term but not unfamiliar with the practice it teaches. The Daily Office is simply set times throughout the day to pray and read scripture. They are written prayers that have been around for centuries that are used for both corporate prayer and individual prayer. The idea is that if you plan out certain times throughout the day where you will sit and pray, you will become a person of prayer.

    I truly did enjoy reading this book. The author is not a theologian so the book is not written in an academic, dry sort of way. He's funny and yet gets straight to the point. Its an easy read and clearly explains the history of the practice as well as the need for the practice. I especially enjoyed the study guide and the examples of prayers that were included at the end of the book.

    Overall, I definitely recommend this book to anyone who is on the journey of a deeper prayer life. Ten years ago, I wouldn't have enjoyed this book because God was not pushing me in this direction, but now, I honestly think I will reread it so that I can truly grasp the importance of this ancient tradition.

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  • Posted February 15, 2011


    This book is not what I expected. It's not just another book on prayer as every author seems compelled to put out these days. I am glad I read it, and while it's not a concept I'm going to adopt, I think there are some who could find it helpful and even fruitful.

    The prayer Robert Benson discusses is "praying the hours"; praying at appointed times of the day. Morning Prayers, Nooontime Prayers, Evening Prayers, Bedtime Prayers - all of which we could use, but also that which most people find themselves to busy to stop at designated times of the day to just pray. Does that mean that we never pray? No, I don't believe that and neither does the author. But he has found that these prayers would only take 12 minutes to say...maybe we could find four increments of that short time to talk to the God who loves us each day, and maybe more when we have more time.

    Benson's book provides many more details about this process of prayer, called the Daily Office. It's worth a read.

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  • Posted February 14, 2011

    Great intro to the Daily Office

    The church that I go to is very *NOT* liturgical, and it's really the only church I've attended, so the whole idea of the daily office is brand new to me. This book did a good job explaining what it is and more importantly, why it should be an important part of our lives. What this book does not cover is the how and specifically what to pray during the daily office. The author makes sure to give resources that cover that material.

    Each chapter has several stories from the author's experience, seemingly unrelated to each other. In the latter part of each chapter, he draws them all together to prove the point of the chapter. I found this style of writing refreshing and easier to read than a lot of non-fiction books which hammer the point throughout the chapter with little stories tucked here and there. It made the points seem more personal and easier to internalize.

    The author has a very good sense of humor, although it did take me a little bit to catch it. At first, I couldn't tell when he was being serious and when he was being facetious. Once I caught on, however, I was laughing aloud and ended up reading large chunks out loud to explain to my husband what I was laughing about.

    Reading this book in conjunction with doing B90 Days has really opened my eyes to the calling of God on me to rise earlier for the purpose of starting my day with Him. As I prayerfully attempt to do this more, I find my time multiplied and my heart more open to what he has for me each day.

    After reading this book, I may or may not start praying the daily office, but at least I know what it is and why I might choose to do that in the future. I also have a good idea of where I would go next to find more information thanks to the appendices.

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  • Posted February 2, 2011

    Not really recommended

    In Constant Prayer
    by Robert Benson

    I picked this book to review because I thought that it would be an encouragement. Something like the book Sun Stand Still. Because I always appreciate books that spur me on to a closer relationship with God.

    But that was not what I got. The author seems to be having a pendulum swing - he sees the corruption brought on by the "me" type of thought in our culture, but instead of opting for a balance, he goes way over to the other extreme and essentially states that we should not expect to get anything at all out of worship.

    He is correct in the statement that God is the one who we are really trying to please. That we follow God's wishes over our own. That we should be more concerned about what Jesus thinks than what we think.

    But that does not at all mean that we should not seek to draw closer to God through these acts of worship. Prayer is not just a ritual that we do because we have to - we (should) do it because want to.

    The main focus in worship does need to focus on pleasing God. But we should also seek to be able to learn, and draw closer to God in worship. We should take delight in it, and should seek to be encouraged, inspired, and refreshed by it.

    My overall rating: 4 out of 10 stars. Not really recommended.

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  • Posted January 31, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Liturgically Poetic

    "It should not come as a great surprise to you by now, but I love words..I love them for their power to move you to tears and to laughter, to action and to rest. I love their power to transform an argument into an agreement, a hope into a prayer, a moment into something holy" -Robert Benson That is exactly what Robert Benson's words did to me as I read his book, In Constant Payer. This man, whom I have never met, has moved me to such curiosity about the Ancient Practice known as the Daily Office, also known as daily prayer. Through the labyrinth of words you will discover yourself getting lost within; Benson will take you through the hidden opening of his personal prayer life. He explains with such poetry and eloquence the art of the offices, the significance of such offices, and his fear, that like most fine arts, it can become lost. I have never heard of the Daily Office until I read In Constant Prayer, and although I may never find myself practicing this style of liturgy, Benson has taken me on a journey of laughter, insight, and a realness that I have not seen in other writers. He quotes many biblical truths, however there were no references when he was mentioning scripture. Nonetheless, Benson has illuminated the truth that we are all called to a life of prayer, and the passion that he releases for the art of prayer has moved my soul to search for a deeper, more disciplined life of constant prayer. I have received a complimentary copy of In Constant Prayer by Robert Benson from BookSneeze® as part of the bloggers program. The view and opinions are my own.

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  • Posted January 30, 2011

    Precious Examples of Prayer

    By Robert Benson
    For almost ten years now, I have had the habit of rising around 4:30 a.m. to begin my day with prayer. So, when I saw this book, I was a little excited about reading it. However, when I read the Table of Contents and saw words like "Divine Office" and "Daily Office," I realized that the author must assuredly be a Catholic. Well, I am most assuredly not a Catholic. So, here's a lifetime non-Catholic writing a book review on a Catholic's book on prayer.
    To say the least, I began reading this book with the idea that it would be somewhat boring and that I would be glad to finish it. However, the more I read, the more interested I became in Mr. Benson's experiences in prayer. One theme he seemed to hammer home all through the book was not only the importance of prayer, but the importance of a specific time set aside for prayer. This I whole-heartedly agree with. Just like your stomach gets a little growly when you work past a meal time, your spirit gets a little upset also when you miss your regular time of fellowship with the Lord.
    One of things I was disappointed with at first was that there was not a lot of teaching on prayer. However, Mr. Benson gave account after account after account of God's nearness during times of prayer. He related not only his experiences but the experiences of many of his friends. The examples he related ranged anywhere from the loss of a loved one to the daily ravages of life. I was very encouraged by his writings and I would recommend this book to anyone who has the habit of daily prayer.
    I was furnished a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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  • Posted January 26, 2011

    This book has depth that will capture your heart!

    It was a privilege to read the book, In Constant Prayer by Robert Benson. It was the title that drew my attention to the book, as I am exploring what it means to be "in constant communion" with the Lord in a practical sense for today.

    The book was wonderfully challenging, as the author opened up my heart and mind to the ancient practice of the "daily office". He explains that the daily office is "a regular pattern and order for formal worship and prayer that is offered to God at specific times throughout the course of the day." The author refers to the daily office as a model of prayer patterned after Psalm 119 and "the people of Yahweh".

    This type of "daily fixed-hour liturgical prayer" is then discussed at length throughout the book. It was refreshing to hear the author speak with such transparency of his walk as a "pilgrim" who, "wants to learn how to live a life that is shaped by and around and for prayer, a life that becomes a prayer that is prayed without ceasing". The book is beautifully written with a sincerity and depth that will capture the reader's heart. The author's willingness to expose some of his own life struggles served to captivate me all the more!

    Thank you to Thomas Nelson for this review copy of In Constant Prayer by Robert Benson provided to me through BookSneeze.

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