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Prayer for Beginners

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  487 ratings  ·  61 reviews
Peter Kreeft brings his unique insights to this most important area of our spiritual lives. He claims he himself is still a beginner in prayer, and this book is for all those, like him, who feel that they are not good at praying but desire to become much better at it. Thus, Kreeft offers simple, but profound advice and practical steps for developing a prayer life based on ...more
Paperback, 125 pages
Published February 1st 2000 by Ignatius Press
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4.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  487 ratings  ·  61 reviews

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Jul 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
You have to respect a writer who tells you to put down his book on prayer and pray because that is more important.
Jun 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book, by Catholic scholar, Peter Kreef, was better than I expected. It is just one of the best books on prayer I have read, because:
it's readable, easy to understand, short chapters, not superficial; it is like a crash course on praying for new Christians or a really thoughtful refresher course for older Christians.

For instance, the chapters cover:
1. Necessity: Why Praying is More Important Than Eating
2. Motives: 10 Compelling Reasons to Pray
3. Methods: Why We Need None
4. Words: Vocal Pray
Aug 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a solid little book. I'm not sure that I learned anything new but I'm not sure that there's a lot to learn about prayer. That's really the point of the book. We over complicate prayer. This book was very encouraging. It highlighted the most important aspects of prayer and reminded me to focus on what really matters most.

Very good little resource that I'm happy to have read, happy to own an even more happy to loan.
Apr 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A gold nugget, a diamond in the rough. I would recommend this book to all. Dense with no nonsense, to the core insight on the reality of Faith. No grey area, beautiful analogies, based on a clear understanding of one true God & the importance of a relationship with Jesus Christ.
David Shane
Jul 23, 2011 rated it liked it
A nice little book, more on the proper mindset one should have while praying than on any sort of "method" to prayer, which Kreeft rejects. In my current state of mind, I most appreciated his distinction between faith and feelings.

"Many people today want 'experiences'. Their prayer is really, 'Lord, I believe; help my bad feelings' instead of 'Lord, I believe; help my unbelief' (see Mk 9:24)"

"Faith is a knowing; faith's object is divine fact. Faith is not a feeling, and faith's object is not feel
Sep 03, 2012 added it
This is a simple, practical, and thoughtful book on the meaning and practice of prayer. I think it'd be great for people who are just starting out or getting back into prayer. However, it's also full of helpful (and sometimes blunt) reminders for people at all stages of the spiritual life - and from an eternal perspective, aren't we all beginners?

I've heard most of the points in this book before, but was still struck by some new thoughts. For example:

"[God] hides his presence from us so that we
Oct 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: catholic, prayer
Sort of a modern continuation of 'Practice of the Presence of God'...more about a lifestyle, e.g. living continually in the presence of God, than about a specific mental prayer. A very excellent and very short, yet very dense, treatise on prayer and the great importance of it. Gives a more broad definition of prayer than a lot of overly technical 'manuals' today. Prayer is simply a communion of love between God and creature.
Jul 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Straightforward, practical and useful--cuts through all the pretense and filigree that prayer can have. Borrows heavily from C.S. Lewis and Brother Lawrence. Quick read.
Mar 24, 2009 rated it liked it
An interesting book about prayer with the main point of: do it. Simple, with a deep look at scripture and other writers.
Mar 10, 2013 rated it liked it
This book is short and direct, but it really made me think. It's written in a simple style, but with a lot of economy of prose–practically every sentence packs a wallop. I thought this book was very good, although I sometimes though that Kreeft's tone works better in his lectures. I do recommend it, although just be prepared to be challenged in your thinking, life, and priorities (in a good way!). It probably deserves more than 3 stars.

Here are a few quotes:
"It is tempting to remain in the comfo
Sep 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Peter Kreeft is a well-respected Philosophy professor and has written dozens of spiritual/Catholic books. I picked this book to review, because even at my age, I feel I am not as advanced in my prayer life as I would like to be or should be. So I figured, I should start at the most logical place, the beginning. Also, I picked this book up at a retreat I went on for catechists, for under $2! It was definitely a steal for the price.

In these 125 pages, you will find lots of good advice on why to pr
Jun 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
The real strength of this book is twofold: It's reliance on the work of 17th century Catholic Brother Lawrence, as well as the simple, straightforward, and pithy quality of Kreeft's writing.

Kreeft cites Lawrence in virtually every chapter of the book, almost as if he were using some of his favorite Brother Lawrence quotations as a springboard to writing about prayer. The insights on prayer are indeed helpful, focusing on practicing the presence of God in each moment of life, even if in the midst
Jan 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Read this book because I wanted to give a good prayer book for my daughter. This book is a pleasant surprise as it is thought provoking. I found many good suggestions for myself and would recommend it to anyone who wants to grow closer to God through prayer.
Jan 13, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Christians
Quite an encouraging book for beginners to prayer. The most useful part, in my opinion, is his chapter on suffering (one of his last ones). It is surprising how many Christians do not get the ultimate meaning and purpose of suffering in one's life.
Jun 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A great book on prayer. Simple and challenging.
Jan 23, 2010 is currently reading it
A good, honest discussion of how to make prayer a part of your life.
Kirk Newland
Apr 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
A clear and concise treatise for beginners on the power and method of prayer.
Jul 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Great, great simple prayer book
Terezita Overduin
Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was an incredible book. It should more accurately be titled 'A Very Very brief introduction to how to live life'
Feb 08, 2019 rated it liked it
I guess it lives up to its name, in that it seems directed toward a blandly self-centered person who has just begun to realize that the pinch of conscience and reality is directing him to actually take this God business seriously. I wouldn't recommend it to someone in agony, lost in self-hatred, an addict or a chronically depressed person. That being me, I have to stop and remind myself frequently that it's not about me being terrible, it's about God being great, and very fortunately wanting to ...more
Mixed bag... mostly because of some of the catholic theology I don’t agree with. But I still found parts of it quite interesting and useful.
May 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book
Oct 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
A very powerful, focused, understandable book, and not just for beginners but for all who want to pray. The last third on single-mindedness, patience & perseverance, etc. is especially good.

On second reading:
On my second reading, this did not have the wow factor it did on the first, likely because I’m at a place of seeing more of the breadth of God and less of the certainty about Him that many humans claim. That said, I think this is what it says, a good book for beginners (as Thomas Merton
Jay Medenwaldt
May 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Christians
I just finished reading Prayer for Beginners by Peter Kreeft. It was much needed as my prayer life has been the weakest part of my spiritual growth. This book was encouraging, helpful, and simple. On top of that, it had a lot of excellent one-liners to reflect on. He continually refers to and paraphrases the book The Practice Of The Presence Of God by Brother Lawrence, which some people might find annoying; however, I recommend you view Kreeft's work as a primer to the other book. I am looking f ...more
Tom Kopff
Apr 11, 2016 rated it liked it
"Prayer is the hospital for souls where we meet Doctor God." This simple little book is a good, no-nonsense primer about how to pray and why we need to pray. It dos not dwell on technique, nor is it deep in the sense of being theologically exhaustive, but it can be profound. Try this on: "The whole universe is a saint-making machine", or "God infinitely prefers a heart without words to words without a heart when we pray", or even "Seek only him. do not use him as a meas to seek any other end. He ...more
Regan Leigh
Feb 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Kreeft is one of my favorite authors and lecturers. With that being said I was a little disappointed with this book. Overall, it was a great book with a lot of quotes and ideas worth jotting down. However, I did not find it very practical or straightforward. He talks a lot about Grace, and The Spirit, and Faith without giving concrete explanations or examples. I found most of the chapters vague and mystical, but then again I struggle a lot with mystical writing so it's more of a personal prefere ...more
Nick Jordan
Sep 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Exactly as the title promises, for beginners and for helping people begin praying. This is a beautiful and perfect little book, one of those you can't read slowly enough. I drew on it to lead a church small group in developing disciplined prayer habits.

One little warning: hard-line Protestants may find it too Catholic. Purgatory and Mary and the saints all show up early. But that really shouldn't dissuade you from a great little book.
Apr 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In this compact and straight forward book, Peter Kreeft does an excellent job of articulating the "Why" and to an extent the "How" of prayer. The longest chapter in the book is dedicated to the Shortest prayer there is, The name JESUS. It alone is worth the price of admission. Happened to read this book right after Thomas Merton's "New Seeds of Contemplation" and found them to compliment each other very nicely.
Gabrielle Mck
Dec 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I found this book helpful primarily due to its accessibility. Peter Kreeft may be a professor of Philosophy, but not once did I find the book's content beyond my understanding as a young lay-person. There is an emphasis on the fact that we all never cease to learn no matter what stage of life we are at. Kreeft's honesty regarding his own prayer life, as well the congenial examples/explanations throughout, gave the book a 'humanness.'

I know I will be referring back to this book hereafter.
May 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Seriously enjoyed this book. I felt it was necessary, for myself, to reflect on my prayer life. When I did that, I found it wasn't where it should be. Found this book at our local Catholic shop, and I really got a lot out it. The author reinforces his conviction of prayer by telling you to put his book down and pray. Got to love it!
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Peter Kreeft is a Catholic apologist, professor of philosophy at Boston College and The King's College, and author of over 45 books including Fundamentals of the Faith , Everything you Ever Wanted to Know about Heaven , and Back to Virtue . Some consider him the best Catholic philosopher currently residing in the United States. His ideas draw heavily from religious and philosophical tradition, ...more
“Indifference is more truly the opposite of love than hate is, for we can both love and hate the same person at the same time, but we cannot both love and be indifferent to the same person at the same time.” 30 likes
“Reading a book about something can be an obstacle to doing it because it gives you the impression that you are doing what you are only thinking about doing. It is tempting to remain in the comfortable theater of our imagination instead of the real world, to fall in love with the idea of becoming a saint and loving God and neighbor instead of doing the actual work, because the idea makes no demands on you. It is like a book on a shelf. But, as Dostoyevsky says, 'love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared to love in dreams' (The Brothers Karamazov).” 23 likes
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