Review: The Breath of the Soul: Reflections on Prayer

The Breath of the Soul: Reflections on PrayerThe Breath of the Soul: Reflections on Prayer by Joan D. Chittister
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book from one of the great spiritual writers of the day contains over forty short meditations that are grist for prayer and meditation. In her introduction, Chittister makes it clear that this book is NOT about how to pray – there are plenty of those kinds of books around – but is about the contents of prayer. Having said that, this book is not a recipe for prayer, but suggestions for things that people who read this book might like to take up in prayer at some point.

The nature of this book means that this is not one to be read from cover to cover in one sitting though the short length of the book would certainly make that entirely possible. This is a book that people can pick up and put down over the course of several days, weeks or months as Chittister provides reflections and subject matter for those who take seriously their life of prayer.

From the back cover:

This simple little book from a great spiritual giant attends to what we human beings are most inclined to forget: preparing for and engaging in prayer. It is an examination of what we ourselves must bring to the discipline of prayer – whatever form it takes – in order to make prayer authentic and real, a deep and profound part of our lives.

Prayer is the link to a life beyond the mundane, the daily, the routine, the immediate dimensions of life. It is the beginning of a relationship with the God who is closer to us than we are to ourselves. But authentic prayer requires something from us, as well as from the God we seek. It requires that we bring to it an open heart, a good deal of self-knowledge, constancy in darkness, and a willingness to attend to the Light, even when all we can see is darkness.

This is great spiritual reading for every person who longs for prayer to be the very breath of his or her soul.

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