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Beginning to Pray
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Beginning to Pray

4.39 of 5 stars 4.39  ·  rating details  ·  538 ratings  ·  46 reviews
"The realm of God is dangerous. You must enter into it and not seek information about it...The day when God is absent, when he is silent-that is the beginning of prayer." -- Archbishop Anthony BloomA remarkable book, written by a remarkable man. Archbishop Anthony Bloom -- French resistance fighter, army surgeon, Russian Orthodox monk -- gave the talks in this book to peop ...more
Paperback, Large Print, 160 pages
Published February 1st 1986 by Christian Large Print (first published 1970)
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Accessible but not simplistic. A welcome and far cry from the rote spiritual pablum I was raised on regarding prayer in daily life. Bloom explains that prayer starts (and often ends) in silence, an attitude that echoes much I've read about meditation.

My favorite passage describes an elderly French peasant who spends hours on end every day sitting quietly in the village church, apparently doing nothing. Perplexed, the priest finally asks the old man what he's doing. He replies, "I look at Him, He
Good book about one Orthodox bishop's reflections on prayer. Very personal, very honest. He had a strong emphasis on encountering God in doubt and darkness, especially when all of our formulations and images of God fail to match with reality. I appreciate the fact that he recognizes that sometimes God doesn't show up, and sometimes we have to wrestle with him in order to reach him. It's a real relationship, and prayer isn't just saying set prayers, nor is it just talking to God as if he were our ...more
Theron Mathis
Beginning to Pray is a wonderful little book that is simple to read and opens up a world of prayer that is a beautiful encounter with God. Met. Bloom writes very complex ideas into truly simple and wonderful language. There is a sense that Met. Bloom truly knows what it means to pray. The following link will give more info about Met. Bloom.

It is difficult to summarize so much that the book presents. In fact, there are so many nuggets of truth, I imagine multiple readings over time would enhance
Elizabeth White
This is a hard one to rate. I would give it 5 stars if you're evaluating it as a book for new Orthodox Christians who need an introduction to the Orthodox mind on prayer - fewer stars if recommending it for the one who is further along in knowledge and spiritual growth. I personally cherished this book when I first read it many years ago. And now, as is a habit of mine, I go back every once in a while to books such as this to remind myself of the basics.
James Maxon
Anthony Bloom offers some unique and personal observations on prayer. Whether you follow Orthodoxy or not you are bound to come away with a better foundation in your own prayer life.
Matthew Green
A bit of a misleading title in that Bloom's idea of beginning is significantly further down the road than most beginners!

There's some fairly challenging material in this little book. Bloom draws on contemplative and historical ideas without directly referencing them as such, which makes them both more palatable to the novice and more obscure at the same time. He's quite readable, as he peppers the prose with little stories meant to illustrate points, though this can feel like you're delving deep
Julie Davis
Rereading this one for the Elements of Faith book club. It's a little earlier than I usually read our books ... preferring to finish right before a meeting ... but I've got to pass this on to Hannah so she can take a bash at it.

I've read this at least twice before and always get something good out of it.

I have lent this to Hannah so she can read it ... and I will reread it super-fast during the week before our meeting (fingers crossed!).

Back from Hannah who liked it a lot and now b
A splendid, albeit brief, primer on beginning to pray, by Anthony Bloom (Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh, 1914-2003). Reading it as an outsider to his faith, I was fascinated to find points of resonance with the meditative practices of other religious traditions. I also find myself eager to explore or adapt some of the methods he suggests. A definite must-read.
It can be so easy to just keep skirting the surface of prayer; this book is a call, a reminder, to go deeper. To "be still and know that I am God."

However, true prayer takes effort. "Being still" is not something we come to naturally, especially in our modern world full of distractions. We must work at it, yet that work must be aimed correctly, otherwise we are just spinning our wheels. So, this book also gives practical exercises to begin trying.

But, in the end, the author emphasizes, prayer is
I was having trouble finding the "right" way to pray, and this books provided clear guidance on finding an approach to prayer that did not feel contrived and instead felt authentic and worthwhile.
Armando Arauz
Recommended by Cardinal Timothy Collins. Very straightforward approach, short and precise. It helped me to be more intentional in my prayer.
Lindi Axon
Eastern Orthodox. Very good.
A simple, ambling, poorly edited, pamphlet of a book that is absolutely chocked full of seriously good stuff. I almost didn't even pay attention the first time I read this as I realized I needed to just simple finish it and then go back and mediate on it bit by bit. This is condensed chicken soup for the soul. Admittedly though, in my life I was positioned perfectly in terms of need and desire for a book such as this one when I ran across it.
Adam Shields
Full review at

Short Review: I am in a project of reading about prayer from other traditions. I found this book very valuable. It is short but full of lots of wisdom about prayer. Clearly Bloom is writing from a Orthodox perspective and that different perspective gave me some new language to describe and think about prayer. I am planning on re-reading this in another six months.
Fantastic! It is when we realize that we are standing outside, in the realm of mercy, that we meet God through prayer. Anthony Bloom beautifully describes the inward progression to a deeper, richer relationship with God through prayer and stillness. This touched me on many levels and brought floods of memory and emotion back to the surface of times when God met me in the deepest trough of sorrow and bathed me in his mercy.
David Withun
A short and simply amazing book. For Orthodox Christians, a wonderful guide for developing your relationship with God. For non-Orthodox, a beautiful and concise introduction to the Orthodox spiritual life. This book should be one of the first books that inquirers, catechumens, and other interested parties read when coming to the Orthodox Church. If your friends ask you about Orthodoxy -- hand them this book.
Just finished this this morning. I read it for my quiet time/devotions. It wasn't too bad. I forget sometimes when reading more modern books how I like subtitles in the text. These pages are straight text and really no breakdowns of topics, besides the chapters themselves.

I would recommend it for those who are seeking some more depth to their prayer life.
Betsy Dion
This is an awesome book about prayer. It is simple and profound, and full of stirring images that remain with me after reading. The author is an Orthodox archbishop who fled Russia as a child, and lived in France and England. If you want something that will help you to improve your prayer life, read this book.
A book to study. Not a book to read over lightly.
A down to earth, practical, and helpful look at prayer, and how to pray (which can often be ignored / glossed over). Unfortunately it's a bit short and you can't help but read it really fervently, but definitely worth a look. I just wish he had elaborated further on his thoughts on the subject.
This book penetrated the depths of my soul. The wisdom of Anthony's words is tangible. Eat what he says--let it pervade your entire being and well up a desire within you to live ever before the face of God. Quite simply, this is the best book on prayer that I have ever read.

It is a must read.
Allison Rockwell
I was hoping to maybe use this text for high school Sunday School lessons on prayer, but it might be a bit beyond their grasp, at least in whole. Bloom makes wonderful points and indicates many things that I intend to try in my own prayer life.
Highly recommend this book for anyone looking to develop their ability to pray. It is written for Orthodox Christians but I think it would appeal to others as well. I read one chapter at a sitting and found it a deep and moving read.
I have read this book multiple times. This time I read it once and then I read it again right away. The driving question behind this book is how can we communicate with God when we are human and God is God?
Fr. Ted
I've read this book 4 times and find it enlightening each time I read it. Good insights into what it means to be a Christian and to pray. Excellent anecdotes which help us to see prayer in a new way.
The best book on drawing closer to God I have ever read. Beautifully written and filled with quiet wisdom. Not the first time I have read it, and it won't be the last either. Just brilliant.
Chris Stevenson
Mar 09, 2013 Chris Stevenson rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mimi
This is a fantastic book on prayer. Just because it's short doesn't mean it's not powerful. I would advise anyone to read this book if they want to take their prayer life to the next level.
Michelle Bodle
Wonderful short book about what it means to truly connect to God in prayer. Insights I have not read or heard anywhere else.
Joel Snape
Probably the best book on prayer I have ever read. I especially like his focus on encountering God in everyday life, and his suggestions for bettering prayer.
Stefanie Jordan
I am a cradle Orthodox and have been praying for years...but, this book was wonderful and definitely an addition to my "must read again" book shelf!
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Orthodoxy: BTP: Absence of God 10 24 Dec 18, 2013 05:10PM  
Orthodoxy: BTP: Managing Time 21 18 Dec 16, 2013 06:11PM  
Orthodoxy: BTP: Knocking at the Door 5 15 Oct 21, 2013 12:06PM  
Orthodoxy: BTP: Mother of God 2 13 Oct 14, 2013 01:32PM  
Orthodoxy: BTP: Intro 10 14 Sep 27, 2013 05:50AM  
Orthodoxy: BTP: Staretz Silhouan 1 7 Sep 22, 2013 05:39AM  
Orthodoxy: BTP: Addressing God 1 3 Sep 22, 2013 05:37AM  
  • Great Lent: Journey to Pascha
  • The Orthodox Way
  • The Mountain of Silence: A Search for Orthodox Spirituality
  • Father Arseny, 1893-1973: Priest, Prisoner, Spiritual Father: Being the Narratives Compiled by the Servant of God Alexander Concerning His Spiritual Father
  • John Climacus: The Ladder of Divine Ascent (The Classics of Western Spirituality)
  • The Philokalia, Volume 4: The Complete Text; Compiled by St. Nikodimos of the Holy Mountain & St. Markarios of Corinth
  • The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church
  • Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives:  The Life and Teachings of Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica
  • Wounded by Love
  • Facing East: A Pilgrim's Journey into the Mysteries of Orthodoxy
  • The Way of a Pilgrim and the Pilgrim Continues His Way
  • Becoming Orthodox: A Journey to the Ancient Christian Faith
  • On the Divine Images
  • Everyday Saints and Other Stories
  • Father Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works
  • The Sayings of the Desert Fathers: The Alphabetical Collection (Cistercian studies 59)
  • On the Holy Spirit
Metropolitan Anthony (Bloom) of Sourozh was a prominent writer and broadcaster on prayer and the Christian life, as well as the founder and leader of the Russian Orthodox Diocese of Sourozh.
More about Anthony Bloom...
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