Answering God: The Psalms as Tools for Prayer
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Answering God: The Psalms as Tools for Prayer

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  232 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Eugene H. Peterson speaks to Christians who realize the necessity for prayer and yearn for it but who find their prayer unconvincing and unsatisfying. Addressing the causes of this dissatisfaction, Answering God offers guidelines for using the Psalms as dynamic tools for prayer.
Paperback, 160 pages
Published April 26th 1991 by HarperOne (first published 1989)
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Thing Two
Mar 22, 2012 Thing Two rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Thing Two by: Sunday School
This book was chosen as a Lenten study book for a small group. Peterson, who also compiled The Message defines prayer as a tool not to enable us to do something or get something, but to become something, and like writing a short story where every noun and verb are crucial, Peterson teaches that there should never be an abstract word in our prayers. The nouns should be specific; the verbs should be direct. Everything should be personal, the experience immediate.

Although I was expecting a "lesso...more
Bill Martin
This little book is not only one of the best books I have read on the subject of prayer, it is also one of the finest books on Christian spirituality.

Though I have read other books by Peterson, this may be Peterson at his authorial best. With laser-focus, he etches into each chapter the contour of his thesis: that prayer is initiated by God's acting, speaking, revealing and that our prayers are responses, answers in a dialogue that lifts us to the realization of His purpose. The vocabulary of b...more
Demetrius Rogers
I cannot say enough good things about this book or author for that matter. Deeply insightful and elegantly stated.
Joshua Casey
This short book is a fantastic look at the Psalms as they were used in their original context: as communal prayer.
In his signature hybrid style, Peterson combines immense learning, piercing pastoral insight, and charming wit to help bring these songs of faith to new light. The paradoxical balance of prayer's primarily communal nature and the Psalms' ability to speak into our individual experiences is held in perfect tension throughout. Just when the reader might think Peterson is swaying too far...more
Blake Chenoweth
A wonderful book about prayer, the Psalms, and spiritual growth. If you know me, you probably know I love the Psalms and this book shares all the reasons why. So much honesty and passion wrapped up in the Psalms and their prayers and Eugene shares that in this brief but challenging book. It was a great follow-up book to Hearing God by Dallas Willard because after God speaks this should be our answer to him.

I recommend this book to anybody who wants a renewal of prayer in their life. A wonderful...more
This is classic Peterson. Reflective and dynamic with his brush. He has a way of walking you through the gallery of scripture so that you leave having seen the Psalms in fresh light. Simply what makes it so engaging is that he puts the Psalms on the bottom shelf. He reminds us time and time again, at times a bit too repetitive, that this is the stuff of earthy and difficulty not lofty and laudatory. I will reference this book a lot.
I really resonate with all of Eugene's books, and especially his translation of the Bible, The Message. This was a great book about using the Psalms as "prayer masters." The Psalms have been used by faithful people for centuries as a guide to prayer. If you are wanted to go deeper in your experience with God through prayer, Eugene's book will be instrumental for you.
Cheryl Nyquist
I am just beginning to read and am spellbound by Eugene Peterson's words....explaining prayer.

He says...We would rather pray by exploring our own deep spiritual capacities, with God as background music. We would rather pray by having God all to ourselves, insulated from the irritating presence of other people, and savor (but only a little) a smug sense of superiority to the comman herd. But the text that teaches us to pray comes with conditions, and the conditions won't permit us to isolate our...more
I highly recommend this book if you want a renewal in your prayer life. Life is messy and that's where prayer should start and address. Peterson will bring you through the Book of Psalms to show you what it is to pray, what is a biblical theology of prayer, and how to pray. After reading the book, you will also have a framework to understand the Book of Psalms that has sustained the spiritual life of the Church for centuries. The book ends with an appendix of testimonials from people who have em...more
Nancy Brummett
Everything Eugene Peterson writes is worth the time invested to read it-and then some. This study of prayer in the Psalms will deepen your faith and strengthen your prayer-life. Simply outstanding.
A wonderful brief look at the Psalms as the central tools of prayer. "They are not provided to teach us about God but to train us in responding to him. We don't learn the Psalms until we are praying them." His chapters focus on one topic and one or a few psalms, illustrating how they aid prayer and spilling wonderful theology (thought about God) throughout. To savor again and again (until my prayers match this understanding).
Adam Johns
Many prayer meetings in churches across the globe all start or include a reading of a psalm or two, and I've always enjoyed being a part of those that do; but I've never understood the use of the psalms as Pastor Peterson describes in this short book. I recommend it to any and all who ever participated or desire to participate in corporate prayer as well as those who just want to go deeper in their prayer lives.
Eugene Peterson always engages me. In this concise, rich look at the Psalms, he takes broad strokes at the themes, the regular features, the movements of the Psalms. I love the title "Answering God," for prayer is speaking to a God who has already spoken to us. The sections on metaphor, liturgy, enemies, and Memory are all exceptional thoughts. Now to actually pray the Psalms...
Bethel Library
I love this bit from the introduction - captures a happily practical attitude toward praying the Psalms:

“People of faith take possession of the Psalms with the same attitude and for the same reason that gardeners hoe on their way to the vegetable patch... It is a simple matter of practicality - acquiring the tools for carrying out the human work at hand.”
Pat Gallegos
In my last 3 years of Biblical study, I've gotten a sense for the context of the Psalms. With that backdrop, this book really revealed to me how the Psalms are so much more than just the laments and praises of King David way back when, and how they are timeless and personal and useful in contemporary Jewish and Christian prayer.
David Carlson
My favorite book by E. Peterson. In short the Psalms are our school of prayer and have been for centuries - both in Jewish and Christain worship. They are guides, they gives us words, they express what needs to be said. He calls them a technology of prayer. Since reading this I have made a practice of reading the psalms.
One of the best books on prayer and on the Psalms I've ever read. Because of this book and Under the Unpredictable Plant I've been praying the Psalms every day, which has shaped my prayer life dramatically.
Perfect for its purpose -- unpacks what the Psalms are for and how they aid us in knowing God and ourselves. Love it.
I love it. Challenges my mind and my heart; changes the way I understand the Psalms specifically and prayer more generally as God's tools to shape my heart.
Luke Brown
Great insights into the treasure that are the Psalms. I have never been disappointed reading anything by Eugene Peterson and this is one more wonderful book.
This was part of my summer reading assignment for Biblical School. I'm excited to study and learn to pray the Psalms this year, and this was a good intro!
Nancy Moffett
This is a book I have used as a reference about the Psalms; inspiring and educational as Peterson can be relied upon to be!
Jack Lam
Wonderful conversation from Eugene Peterson providing a context and origins of specific psalms and prayer.
Loved this book. Peterson writes beautifully about praying the Psalms.
Nancy Graham
Helpful counsel for incorporating the Psalms into one's spiritual plan
As I am reading this - I'm looking and reading the Psalms in a whole new way.
Gave me a new view on how to read the Psalms.
Some good points, but word drunk.
Challenging, but well worth the read.
This is a good book on the Psalms.
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Eugene H. Peterson is a pastor, scholar, author, and poet. For many years he was James M. Houston Professor of Spiritual Theology at Regent College. He also served as founding pastor of Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air, Maryland. He has written over thirty books, including Gold Medallion Book Award winner The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language a contemporary translation of t...more
More about Eugene H. Peterson...
The Message Remix (Bible in Contemporary Language) A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: A Conversation in Spiritual Theology (Spiritual Theology #1) Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading (Spiritual Theology #2) The Pastor: A Memoir

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