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Praying with Icons

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  90 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
First published ten years ago, Praying with Icons has been widely recognized as a modern spiritual classic. Both for Orthodox readers familiar with this tradition as well as newcomers, Forest describes the history and theology behind icons, how they are made, and how they are used as a guide to prayer. Finally, he offers a moving series of reflections on a range of classic ...more
Paperback, 175 pages
Published February 17th 1997 by Orbis Books (USA)
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Nov 18, 2015 Daniel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing book, I'm not Eastern Orthodox (Messianic Jew) but the beauty and presentation is amazing. Only theological problem I have---and it's not the icons (I know some people get caught up in Graven images, but the way it's explained, the saints do not seem to be worshiped but are used as tools to help the Christian focus and draw closer to God, anyway that is a different theological discussion for another day)----It's Mary the Mother of Jesus, known as the Theotokis. I believe that she was ...more
Mar 28, 2010 Carrie rated it really liked it
A great book. I am always happy to learn ways to improve my personal prayer and Jim Forrest gave some remarkable insights to the purpose of prayer, what praying does for an individual, and strategies to improve concentration during prayer--icons. While I am not of the Orthodox faith I found many truths that I feel will improve my prayer.

Without a doubt, the book caused me to reflect upon my own iconography--the images and pieces of art work I turn to for peace and to help my concentration as I
Jun 26, 2016 Courtenay rated it it was amazing
Excellent. This book has the best 2 chapters on prayer I have ever read. I have read books on prayer, but these two chapters spoke so wonderfully and simply about prayer that a whole book tries to say. This book makes me love the beauty and importance of icons even more.
Jan 02, 2014 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in learning more about the ancient Christian faith
Recommended to Emily by: Amanda S
This book probably hovers between 3 and 4 stars. One of my friends recommended this book as a good 'primer' for understanding the use of icons in Christian Orthodox worship. While I had long regarded these images as merely religious art, this book was a well written and straight forward explanation and account of the practice of praying with icons, from the history to the process to interpretations of well known icons in the Orthodox church. It opened my eyes to a kind of worship that encompasse ...more
Vinnie Santini
Nov 11, 2013 Vinnie Santini rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: eastern-orthodox
Great introduction to the subject of icons. " then she looked at the icon and asked, 'and do you love the Mother of God?' Now Hannes was at a loss and stood for a moment in silence. Calvinist that he was, he could hardly say yes. At last he said, 'I have great respect for her.' 'Such a pity,' she replied in a pained voiced, 'but I will pray for you,' immediately she crossed herself, kissed the icon and stood before it in prayer. 'Do you know,' Hannes told me, 'from that day I have loved the Moth ...more
Jane G Meyer
A really fine beginner's guide to praying with icons. The new release of this book is gorgeous, and the writing is informative, simple but inspiring. I wrote a proper review of this book recently, but won't paste it here--I'd most recommend it to those wanting to deepen their prayer lives and learn a bit more theology of the Christian faith in the process. There's not a ton of information on iconography itself--so if you're looking for that type of book--this isn't the title for you...
Rheta Thola
Sep 21, 2012 Rheta Thola rated it it was amazing
This is the first book I read about Icons. I thought it was fabulous. I have been brought up in Protestant Christianity, so this book built a perfect bridge between that and the practices of Icons. It is written in a beginner mannerism for those who are looking to understand more about what icons are and how they are used for prayer. It gives a brief history of the commonly seen icons and speaks briefly into the symbolism in those icons.
Oct 25, 2008 Meredith rated it it was amazing
Mixed in with the author's autobiographic experience is the most concise explanation of icons and their role in Orthodox worship available. Being written by a layman rather than a theologian or clergyman, Praying with Icons provides a clear window through which the ordinary reader can understand iconography without being bogged down by jargon or lost in heavily footnoted exposition.
Feb 06, 2014 Volkert rated it it was amazing
An excellent introduction to icons and prayer, with specific descriptions to some of the more common icons found in the Orthodox Christian Church. Jim Forest is very knowledgeable, and very readable. Highly recommended.
David Ozab
Jul 12, 2009 David Ozab rated it really liked it
An excellent introduction to the role of icons in Eastern Christianity. I just wish the photos had all been printed in color. Forrest discusses specific icons in great detail, but the reader loses so much when the only example of an icon is a black and white photo. An all-color printing would merit five stars.
Good book, but probably would have been better if I hadn't read Theology of the Icon (which is much meatier) a few years before.
Nov 10, 2012 Else rated it it was amazing
I read this book in its first edition, before I was Orthodox, in order to understand icons. Jim explains beautifully.
Chrismpadgett Padgett
Jan 06, 2011 Chrismpadgett Padgett rated it really liked it
Icons became a great interest for me, especially after reading some of Nouwen's comments concerning them.
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“We need to think long and hard about sanity, a word most of us cling to with a steel grip. Does fear of being regarded by others as insane confine me in a cage of “responsible” behavior that limits my freedom and cripples my ability to love? And is it in fact such a wonderful thing to be regarded as sane? After all, the chief administrator of the Holocaust, Adolph Eichmann, was declared “quite sane” by the psychiatrists who examined him before his trial in Jerusalem. Surely the same psychiatrists would have found Saint Basil, Saint Theodore and Saint Xenia all insane—and Saint Francis, and that most revered of all mad men, the Son of Man, the Savior, Jesus of Nazareth.” 0 likes
“Henry David Thoreau, by no means the most conventional man of his time, lamented on his death bed, “What demon possessed me that I behaved so well.” He would have taken comfort in Holy Fools. They remind us of a deeper sanity that is sometimes hidden beneath apparent lunacy: the treasure of a God-centered life.” 0 likes
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