Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers
"Prayer is not so much about convincing God to do what we want God to do as it is about convincing ourselves to do what God wants us to do." —from the Introduction
Activists Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove show how prayer and action must go together. Their exposition of key Bible passages provides concrete examples of how a life of prayer fuels social engagement and the work of justice. Phrases like "give us this day our daily bread" and "forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors" take on new meaning when applied to feeding the hungry or advocating for international debt relief.
If you hope to see God change society, you must be an ordinary radical who prays—and then is ready to become the answer to your own prayers.
"Not everyone will agree with every particular detail of biblical interpretation in this book by Claiborne and Wilson-Hartgrove, but no one can deny the truth of their main argument: God is calling each and all of us to be eager agents fulfilling His purposes in the world! This book compels us passionately to ask, in the power of the Holy Spirit, 'How am I "putting legs on my prayers"?' This is a tested book and a necessary one!"
"Who learns more fully about the importance of prayer than folks living in Christian community and engaged in social activism? The authors of this wonderful little book share graciously and truthfully from the spiritual wisdom they have gathered."
"God always raises up new and courageous voices when the church is tempted to forget its own gospel. Here are two of those voices--and two who have been made into the answer to our own fervent prayers."
"Jonathan and Shane--along with the many friends they quote and tell stories about in these pages--are on a journey together toward a bold and beautiful way of living that makes people more truly alive. As one trying hard to stay that same course, I am more than grateful to them for sharing in such clear and practical language what they have been learning along the way about prayer, about community, and about keeping faith with God and our brothers and sisters with their backs against the wall."
"Jonathan and Shane, contemplative activists, humble prophets, and sincere lovers of humanity and God, provoke a new way of understanding prayer. Avoiding the tendency to reduce prayer to 'three easy steps' or trite formulas, Jonathan and Shane press the integrity of our prayer lives by challenging us to live into our prayerfulness. Rather than suggesting prayer as wishful thinking or hopefulness wrapped around memorized bedtime recitations, Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers recovers the essence of truly prayerful life--it's the recovery of a sacrificial embodiment of our prayers. God's answer to our prayers might be as close, or as far away, as our willingness to be available as part of the solution. Jonathan and Shane make this simple truth accessible and available, inspiring us to an authentic prayer life--a life lived to answer prayers."
"Claiborne and Wilson-Hartgrove have slipped the bonds of the ordinary and leapt the chasm of the customary. They have stood at brightly burning bushes that for most of us just won't catch fire. This book is a small invocation which, once prayed, calls for those who thought they knew the far country to see it for the first time. The far country is not so far as we supposed: it lies vivid and visible betwen our 'our Fathers' and our 'thy will be dones.'"
"This thoughtful treatise offers a concise taste of Bible study, prayer, and myriad church teachers."
"We in the church are blessed by the imaginations of Claiborne, Wilson-Hartgrove, and their communities."
Claiborne enlists help from his long-time friend Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove to address how prayer and activism are related. Take a small group through this book as you prepare for a summer mission opportunity.
Claiborne and Wilson-Hartgrove, "radical" Christians who see the danger of burnout and spiritual erosion when those who tend to the marginalized fail to pursue the divine romance that is prayer. The authors use three NT prayers to move the reader outside ordinary assumptions about prayer and challenge us to a deeper relationship with Christ.
It's both rare and refreshing to discover a new perspective on prayer. But if anyone can provide that perspective, it's Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove. Recommended for anyone interested in social justice, intentional communitites and the new monastics, as well as Christians who have grown beyond books on how to pray and want to learn instead how to live out the prayers they're already praying.
Like these men's other books, it is another awakening (and sometimes embarrassing) reminder that the contemporary American church is not the radical social force it was called to be.
Prayer is always a difficult topic for Christians to wrap their heads around. I'd recommend the book if you like Shane or Jonathan, or more generally if you are passionate in areas of social justice and struggle to connect that with your prayer life.
Readers will never see prayer or community in quite the same way again.
Part I--The Lord's Prayer
Ch. 1 An Invitation to Beloved Community
Ch. 2 Begging for God?s Economy
Ch. 3 Temptations Along the Way
Part II--John 17
Ch. 4 Love and Unity for the Sake of the World
Ch. 5 Praying as a Peculiar People
Part III--Ephesians 1:15-23
Ch. 6 Growing Deeper in Spiritual Wisdom
Ch. 7 Receiving Our Inheritance
About the Authors (and their Communities)