Saturday, July 21, 2012

Book Review: Answering God

★★★★

When Jason Upton came to Regent University last Spring, he recommended this book to me. I'm glad he did. On the back, one of the review-quotes is from Walter Brueggemann. He said the book is "Thoroughly grounded theologically, in touch with the reality of life, and vigorous in its articulation." That is a perfect description of Eugene Peterson's Answering God. One can tell that behind this devotional work is a scholar, knowledgeable in Hebrew, in ancient thought, and in Psalm study. He also takes into account, as Brueggemann said, the realities of life that inevitably effect one's prayer life--and, in turn, one's relationship to God. He uses the Psalms to teach the reader to dive into prayer in a vulnerable, intimate way--and he doesn't do it in a way that ignores human struggles, but rather acknowledges them and shows how a good prayer life goes a long way in times of trouble. And then there is the added benefit of beautifully written prose. Peterson's writing is quite lovely.

I was worried when I saw The Psalms as Tools for Prayer that this would be a formulaic work that took Psalms and stretched them to fit human struggles and then step-by-step attempted to show one how to pray them. This is not at all what Peterson has written. Rather, he effectively goes through the elements of the Psalms and uses them to show how one can enrich his/her prayer life with the tools that the Psalms provide. (Hence, "The Psalms as Tools for Prayer".) In no way is it formulaic. His writing inspires the use of the tools.

Answering God is a fantastic devotional, guaranteed to positively affect one's prayer life.

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