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Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers: Prayer for Ordinary Radicals

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  572 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 124 pages
Published October 3rd 2008 by IVP Books (first published September 3rd 2008)
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Sex, Economy, Freedom, and Community by Wendell BerryVoice of Reason by Bryant McGillThe Irresistible Revolution by Shane ClaiborneLet Justice Roll Down by John M. PerkinsThe Orphan Conspiracies by James Morcan
Books for Ordinary Radicals
17th out of 68 books — 44 voters
Gently Awakened by Sara  JosephDarwin's Black Box by Michael J. BeheDarwin's Doubt by Stephen C. MeyerOf Pandas & People by Percival William DavisGod's Smuggler by Brother Andrew
Favorite Christian Nonfiction
64th out of 106 books — 31 voters

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Community Reviews

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Adam Ross
Feb 12, 2010 Adam Ross rated it it was ok
An okay book. I liked the premise that prayer and action must be unified, which was why I picked up the book, but I didn't find much of that in this little work. Mostly I got autobiographical stories about Claiborne's new monastic communities, a dangerous obsession with the Gnostic church desert fathers and mysticism, and some misinterpretations of the Lord's Prayer. (Claiborne goes on for an entire chapter about the evils of private property and how we ought to give all our stuff away instead, ...more
Dec 10, 2009 Devon rated it really liked it
So I'll be honest - this wasn't a top priority read. I wasn't counting on anything incredibly new, and I'm the world's worst pray-er and probably only a slightly better doer. But I was looking for one of Jonathan's books to read after going to his workshop at CCDA, and this was all the library had in stock.

So yes, there were a lot of stories I'd already heard before. But I still ended up folding a handful of pages with notes I wanted to remember. Here they are:

-You may remember an almost-word-fo
Oct 19, 2010 Lynne rated it did not like it
Shelves: christian, political
I keep trying to get something from Shane Claiborne's books. I really do. The same problem always comes up, though, in every one of his books and the books like this:

It just isn't truly a "radical" life when you still have the choice to opt out of real pain and poverty. Those among us (both political and religious) who count themselves "radical" are most often very college educated and moneyed and connected, but when they go into communities of poverty and other forms of oppression they choose
Callum Iles
Jul 11, 2011 Callum Iles rated it liked it
Shane Claiborne is a passionate prophet to the modern institutional church and together with his like-minded, but more theologically qualified, co-author Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove has created a practical and inspiring guide to making prayer count. Their call in Becoming The Answer To Our Prayers is for the modern church to live out the prayerful words of their lips and combine them with the works of their hands to see the kingdom of God come on this earth. The authors sum it up beautifully in ...more
Jul 02, 2010 Krista rated it really liked it
Quotes from Becoming the Answer to our Prayers
Pg 51: We have a God who enters the world through smallness – as a baby refugee. We have a God who values the little offering of a single coin from a widow over the megacharity of millionaires. We have a God who speaks through little people a stuttering spokesperson names Moses; the stubborn donkey of Balaam; a lying brothel owner named Rahab; an adulterous king named David; a ragtag bunch of disciples who betrayed, doubted and denied; and a converte
Nov 12, 2015 Steve rated it it was amazing
This was a tough book to read, not a hard read. The book was a call for change in the Christian's life. I am a firm believer in the American system of constitutional republicanism, freedom and liberty. I truly believe capitalism works when there is morality and virtue within the people. As I read and study history I see that government sponsored socialism fails. It tends to break the human spirit to achieve and grow. I did not feel the authors of this book were promoting government systems, but ...more
Colin Higbee
"Jesus doesn't just want to teach us a new kind of love..we also learn a new kind of politics. Conservatives say that the best way to reduce poverty in a capitalist economy is to encourage business with tax breaks and thereby create more jobs. Liberals insist the answer is to use more tax money to fund government programs that both address people's basic needs and alleviate the causes of poverty. People argue a lot about the differences between these two camps. We're not sure who's right, but we ...more
Mar 27, 2013 Jacki rated it really liked it
This book did not say what I expected it to. But in the end, I'm not surprised. I know Shane Claiborne's background and new monastic ministry and this fits right in.

Some of it was hard to take. I was looking for something a little bit more straightforward about prayer. But I suppose, that misses the point. God is not "straightforward" like we'd want him to be. What Claiborne and Wilson-Hartgrove constantly point to is the idea of community presented in the Bible as a way that God provides answe
Dec 29, 2008 Brad rated it liked it
Fairly familiar ground for anybody who has read other books that Shane Claiborne has written/participated in: faith and action in concert, incarnation rather than incantation. This time surrounding a close reading of 'The Lord's Prayer,' John 17, and Ephesians 1:15-23.

Some of the same stories and illustrative anecdotes told in Jesus For President and Irresistable Revolution get recycled here, but that's largely okay, because they are pretty great stories.

My favorite paragraph of the whole book
Feb 02, 2013 Christian rated it it was ok
I don't understand why all these modern emergent Christian authors have to rename Christianity. For example, to Donald Miller Christianity becomes Christian Spirituality and is always referred to as such. Claiborne is a Christian but he is also an ordinary radical which is mentioned with far more frequency.

The authors will often cite verses that back up their thesis but they never mention the ones that seemingly contradict them, to the point that sometimes they will stop quoting the Bible direc
Mark Franklin
May 26, 2011 Mark Franklin rated it it was amazing
Five stars for making prayer active without making prayer nothing but action.

I really don't know how to communicate how great this book was for me as someone who struggles with praying: not so much how to do it, but what good it does and even what exactly it is. Claiborne and Wilson-Hartgrove frame the book around three great prayers in scripture, the Lord's Prayer, Jesus' prayer for the disciples from John 17, and Paul's prayer for the church from Ephesians 1, then fill out the book with storie
Dec 20, 2008 Jenni rated it really liked it
Shorter than most of Shane Claiborne's books, but I really liked what it had to say about community, and how it incorporated so much of what the Bible has to say in the book. I also love that this book is co-written by friends. I think this quote from the book encapsulates what I learned from the book, or what it is about:
"Predictably, some will say it’s absurd to assert that we are the answer to our prayers because God is the only answer to prayer. That’s the beautiful mystery: we have a God wh
May 06, 2013 Liz rated it liked it
Part 1 of Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers explains the significance of the Lord's Prayer; parts 2 & 3 cover 'praying for the world' (which really means Simple Way-esque living), living incarnationally, discussing smatterings about evangelism, and being sent in the world. Many of the stories are recycled from Irresistible Revolution. Nothing wrong with that, they are still good stories.

If you've read Irresistible Revolution and you've also read any other writing on the Lord's Prayer, skip
Chuck Jackson
Jan 23, 2013 Chuck Jackson rated it liked it
I have been everywhere with his book. Excited when the introduction says, "this is not a book about the kind of prayer where we tell God things God already knows, as if Jesus needs a reminder that kids are dying in Sudan." But then it seemed like so much tired old observations on the Lord's Prayer as a model. I've heard that before, thanks.

Later on I was encouraged by begging for god... And I finished it off with an overall positive impression.

There is much to be judgmental of in this, not lea
I read the first chapter or so of this book, and may or may not finish it soon. I agree with his major points, and the writing style is enjoyable. But theologically it's pretty basic so far; it very accurately describes where my theology was a long time ago. It may be something I recommend to others eventually. But it's lost my attention right now, as I have some other research calling to me.

Claiborne has been one of my first doors into writings about the emerging church. I gobbled him up at fi
Dean P.
Sep 05, 2009 Dean P. rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
While there is some good insight into prayer and the faith life in this book, it is a bit of a remix of some of Claiborne's other writings. Many of the personal analogies are told in Irresistible Revolutionand Jesus for President so, while some of the thoughts on prayer are new to readers, those familiar with Claiborne may want to avoid this one.
Rachael Colling
May 18, 2014 Rachael Colling rated it liked it
This was an enjoyable read, though it was not very long. It took me all of two hours to breeze through it, but I was able to glean some inspiration on what it means to be part of the community of Christ and live at peace with one another. Though I am not sure how sound the authors' interpretation of scripture was, I agreed with the valiant attempt to modernize the model of the Body of Christ. I do not feel as though I learned anything new from this book, but I would still recommend it as an easy ...more
Aug 31, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it
I liked it, a lot. It is a short book. It's not as deep as I'd like. But it has some good reminders about serving to serve God not my own will.

I do wish Shane and Jonathan wouldn't repeat stories from book to book. I reread a lot of the same stories from irresistable revolution to jesus for president to this book. That was a little tedious.

I'd like to own this book for the prayers and quotes and facts.
Chas Bayfield
Jan 04, 2013 Chas Bayfield rated it really liked it
I loved this book. I was excited as I heard Shane Claiborne speak back in the summer and this didn't disappoint. Claiborne's approach to Christianity is big, encompassing and accessible - we don't need to be perfect to join in. I love the thinking that God allows suffering because we do - that we are called to help others. The authors are optimistic without being unrealistic and they practise what they preach too. Well worth a read.
Jul 13, 2014 Jaclyn rated it really liked it
A quick read (if I sat down to just read cover to cover it wouldn't take long, but I rarely do so). I love the thoughts about how prayer and action should go hand in hand. Made me think very seriously on how to view community, and as a Christian, rethink how I view hospitality and compassion. Passages that provided descriptions of the early church were most insightful to me, as it seems that the modern church has morphed into a very insular place.
Apr 21, 2010 Becky rated it liked it
Shane once again writes a good book, however this book is way too short (I read it in a day). While Shane has some awesome stories to tell that everyone needs to hear... his time with Mother Teresa, his Wall Street Jubilee, etc...after about the 3rd book of hearing them I am now wanting more. I still think his first book, The Irresistible Revolution, is a must read and would recommend it to all friends out there before this one.
Brandon Stiver
Aug 09, 2011 Brandon Stiver rated it liked it
This book is about prayer...kind of. The emphasis is on action as the title points to. I really liked it and it is an easy read. I always find that anything Claiborne (and apparently Wilson-Hartgrove) says is worth hearing and applicable to American Christian living. I would suggest it, but not until you've already read Irresistible Revolution.
Feb 25, 2011 Mindy rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
If you've read Shane's other books, this will feel very familiar. Some of the same stories were duplicated. While it certainly wasn't an earth shattering book by any means, it was a good reminder that prayer alone is not enough. It must be accompanied by action because God wants to work with and through us to change the world. It was a quick and easy read.
this was a simple book that reminded me that i am not just an innocent bystander whose job it is to wait on God to act supernaturally. i am a part of the process, and my life can be an answer to someone else's prayer.
Aug 11, 2014 Grace rated it it was ok
Shelves: christian
short book about prayer. appreciated that it addressed the need for prayer along with action by God's people. even though each of the 3 sections is grounded in a biblical prayer (Lord's Prayer, John 17, Ephesians 1), felt that the 2nd/3rd section were light on scripture and mostly anecdotes.
Jodi Schiedel-Anderson
Pretty good book. Strangely, it doesn't actually talk about prayer that much? From what I hear, Claiborne's others are far better than this one so go for them. However, one advantage of this one is the super short number of pages!
May 03, 2010 Curtis rated it really liked it
Great book, no doubts. Going through three main prayers in the bible (Lords Prayer, John 17, Eph 1) and exploring the implications for believers and the church. Great insights by these two. Worth a read and putting it into practice.
Mar 18, 2010 Jason rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own-it, spirituality
One of the better books on prayer. Practical, earthy, and free of sappy Christianese. It's an attempt by a couple of folks more drawn to "action" to learn the "contemplative" life as well and it is better for their willingness to hold those two things together.
Oct 16, 2009 Amy rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the book because he shares stuff I know in a new way. Important to remember that prayer and service are linked. Prayer gives us the strength to serve and service to the neighbor is where we encounter God. God and neighbor are interwined.
David Hardin
Jun 29, 2015 David Hardin rated it it was ok
I really want to like Claiborne and think he is doing some amazing stuff. However his solutions to problems always sound more like talking points from a democratic party meeting than they do deep reflection on scripture.
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My love of God and my love of the arts seem to have begun simultaneously. I can not remember which awed me first. By age eight I was both an avid collector of crucifix pendants and a writer of poems. Thankfully those first poems are lost somewhere on the African continent.

Fast forward years later through stints in English boarding school, pew-warming in Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, and Presbyter
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“That's the beautiful mystery: we have a God who chooses to need us. We have a God who doesn't want to change the world without us. We have a God who longs to cooperate with us, to allow us to fail and flounder and who promises to make up for our shortcomings, but nonetheless wants us.” 0 likes
“The kingdom is not some place that our souls are taken away to when we die. It is, instead, an order that comes to earth--right here among us who call ourselves daughters and sons of God.” 0 likes
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