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In Constant Prayer (The Ancient Practices)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  214 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
What does it mean to pray without ceasing? Is it really that important to pray as the early Christians did? Released concurrently with Brian McLaren's series introduction, Robert Benson's In Co
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published May 6th 2008 by Thomas Nelson
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Jul 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spiritual-life
Helpful introduction for Protestants to praying the daily office. Robert Benson has a very personal, intimate style, not unlike Donald Miller. After visiting a monastery this past weekend, and struggling for the past 6-7 years to incorporate the daily office into my life, this was an encouragement to keep persevering in this tradition that dates back to Judaism. I also would like to try out the prayer books that Benson himself put together.
May 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
I chose this book specifically because of my bad attitude toward prayer. Now don’t get me wrong, I pray and I know there is great value in our prayers, but I simply do not / did not understand it. I don’t see the purpose in it. Why would God want us to pray? He knows and is in control of everything. What, really, is the purpose??? (Even after reading this book, I don’t have the answers to that.) So I chose this book so that I could learn about prayer. I didn’t get what I was expecting or hoping ...more
Feb 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review
The church that I go to is very *NOT* liturgical, and it’s really the only church I’ve attended, so the whole idea of the daily office is brand new to me. This book did a good job explaining what it is and more importantly, why it should be an important part of our lives. What this book does not cover is the how and specifically what to pray during the daily office. The author makes sure to give resources that cover that material.

Each chapter has several stories from the author’s experience, see
Feb 20, 2011 rated it it was ok
I did not care for this book. It is fairly well written; but I disagree with the underlying premise of the book. In the opening pages of the book the author suggests that we can get God to answer more of our requests if we will follow a certain pattern of prayer. I believe this to be false. He even cites a certain woman by the name of Bettie who was known to receive more answers to prayers than other people because she followed this prescribed method. The method that Benson prescribes for obtain ...more
Cherie Clayton
Feb 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
“It should not come as a great surprise to you by now, but I love words….I love them for their power to move you to tears and to laughter, to action and to rest. I love their power to transform an argument into an agreement, a hope into a prayer, a moment into something holy”
–Robert Benson

That is exactly what Robert Benson’s words did to me as I read his book, In Constant Payer. This man, whom I have never met, has moved me to such curiosity about the Ancient Practice known as the Daily Office,
Aug 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I am pretty familiar with the practice of praying the Daily Office. I have read and prayed through (at various times) Phyllis Tickle's Divine Hours Trilogy; read Scot McKnight's Jesus Creed etc. However, it was actually Benson who introduced me to the practice several years ago in his astounding book, Living Prayer.

This volume, however, surpasses them all in terms of actually dealing with our EXCUSES. Benson is a poet and wordsmith extraordinaire. He is marvelous at telling wonderful stories, so
Simon Risson
Jan 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A well written and engaging book that invites the reader into deeper mystery. It is a personal book that invites the reader to travel a journey, to go beyond where one may have previously travelled in prayer. Robert Benson invites us into deeper community while recognising the decisions we need to make individually.
It has certainly stirred in me a growing desire in my conversation with God and with the community of faith.
Jul 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Probably the best intro to fixed hour prayer I've read. The author is self-effacing and familiar with the subject. Good stuff.
Sister Anne
This is an introduction to the whole concept of what we Catholics call the Liturgy of the Hours. Benson was brought up in the Nazarene tradition (he's now Episcopalian) and writes for a non-Catholic readership, but I suspect that many Catholics could profit from this beautifully written presentation. (It helps that Benson is a poet.)

Benson noted in an early chapter that on his morning drive to the store to pick up the papers he reads daily (hey, writers have to read!), he would pass several hous
Feb 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
In Constant Prayer is about praying the hours or daily office, an ancient form of prayer, the same prayer that Jesus prayed. It's about scheduling your spiritual life just as you would any other aspect of your life, actually putting prayer on your to-do list and following through on it, at a set time each day.

Daily fixed hour worship also known as praying the hours or the daily office, is a tradition practiced and passed down through a river of prayer. The river of prayer includes the Hebrews, t
Apr 06, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: christian
The author, part of the Episcopalian Tradition, is renowned for his writings on how to live a more contemplative and prayerful life in the modern world.

In this very accessible book, he sheds light on the history of the daily office, also known as the prayer of the hours, and shares as well on its obstacles and benefits, mainly how faithfulness to daily prayer definitely changes us. He argues that unceasing prayer, an essential element of the Christian life that our generation has left aside, is
Dec 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
The Bible gives us the instruction to pray continually. Many struggle with the idea of how this is achieved. One answer, according to Robert Benson, is in the ancient practice of fixed hour prayer. This practice, also known by names like liturgy of the hours, divine hours, or divine office, has been practice from the before the time of Christ. Jews practiced praying a certain times everyday. This practice carried on into the early church's practices and continued on through the centuries of chur ...more
Chris Hyde
Feb 26, 2011 rated it liked it
I chose to read and do a book review of Robert Benson’s book “In Constant Prayer” because I wanted to learn how the practice of the Daily Office could impact my prayer life. I come from an evangelical background and I have very little experience with liturgical practices. I didn’t even KNOW what “Daily Office” meant so I was coming to the ideas of this book with a completely blank slate. It was with much expectation that I came to read this book.

Benson writes with a very conversational style and
May 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
First...heads up, I'm friends with the author. One of the joys of reading his books is that he writes in the same comforting way he speaks, so when I read his books, I feel as if we're visiting. That is a treat for me...for those of you who don't know him, you can imagine.
This book is part of a series of books published by Thomas Nelson about prayer. Robert Benson is writing about those people who "pray without ceasing," mostly these are professionals--monks, nuns, priests. But they don't have
Jul 22, 2011 rated it liked it
The book for review is " In Constant Prayer" by R. Benson. As a Catholic and wanting to learn more about praying, I thought this book would be a good research of information. The author does state repeatedly he is not a professional, not a member of the clergy but in fact a poet and this book is based on research that he has done. The information is basic in the sense that it is easy to understand. I wish though it had been a more in-depth book. It gives you the basis of what is ask of someone w ...more
Andy Mitchell
Do you want to experience the spiritual part of life more deeply?

Then I highly recommend this book.

I was raised in a non-liturgical, Christian tradition, which emphasized spontaneous prayers of the heart. Although there is great value in this form of spiritual communication, Mr. Benson gives a clear introduction to the discipline of reading or reciting the “daily office” and “praying the hours.”

Just as devout Muslims and Jews pray at set hours every day, so also many Christians throughout the pa
Bethany Rudd
Jan 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
I was prepared to be bored to tears with this book and force myself to finish it. Surprisingly, I found myself looking forward to reading it every chance I got. It was funny, intriguing, and was a breath of fresh air into my prayer life. I enjoyed Benson's conversational writing. His honesty and self-deprecating humor kept me reading on a subject I had no interest in before (The Daily Office, etc.) There were many very thought-provoking points, halfway through I made sure to have a highlighter h ...more
Jan 11, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-sneeze
This book was provided to me by to review. I have not received any compensation for this review. These opinions are my own.

This wonderful book by Robert Benson breaks down into lay terms the meaning of the Daily Office.

Really simply, the Daily Office is the ritually of daily fixed-hour prayer. According to Psalms 119, we are to rise up and praise His name seven times a day. It was because of this Psalm that ancient Christians devised the Daily Office. They believed that it was im
Ben Zajdel
Dec 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
In Constant Prayer is Robert Benson's contribution to the "Ancient Practices" series. Benson weaves poetic nonfiction regarding the daily offices. Benson argues that the daily offices were practiced first by the Israelites and then by the early Christians, since the early Christians were mostly of Jewish origin.

The book is laid out in a simple format. First, Benson describes what the daily offices are, then details how to practice them. The rest of the book is Benson's successes and failures in
Rick Edwards
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Benson shares his own experience with and his great fondness for the daily office. This regular practice of prayer at different hours of the day goes back to earliest Christianity, whose adherents adapted it from traditions rooted in the Hebrew Bible and practiced by the forebears and contemporaries of Jesus. In all likelihood, Jesus himself followed this spiritual discipline. In essence, it seeks to transform our daily life through regular and faithful prayer into what Brother Lawrence called " ...more
Sep 08, 2012 rated it liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed the author's humor, thoughts on life, and praying the daily office. However, I was hoping for a more practical guide to using The Book of Common Prayer, as I have a copy myself but am baffled as to how to work my way through it. While I appreciated the profound thinking and reflections of this author, I am no more equipped to pray the daily offices now than when I first started the book. Read this book if you want to learn about the daily office and why praying through it is ...more
Oct 10, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: christianity
A useful introduction to the ancient tradition of praying the divine hours (sometimes called the daily office). Written in a pleasant meandering style - the author is a poet, not a clergyman or historian - the book is more inspirational than instructional. I came to the book with questions, and some frustrations, from my own recent attempts to incorporate the office into my daily routine. I finished the book with several of those questions answered, though I couldn't point you to precisely WHERE ...more
Adam Shields
Dec 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
Full review at

Short review: I liked this book. It was a good description of what Fixed Hour Prayers are and why you would want to do them and the background of how the author became involved with them. But as with all the rest of the Ancient Practice Series, it was almost entirely theoretical. If I am reading about Fixed Hour Prayer (and the audience is fairly Evangelical, non-liturgical in most cases) then I think there should have been more practical ad
Sep 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
A book about daily prayer - primarily the daily office. Honest, "keeping it real," and confessional - Robert Benson writes about his striving to pray daily, and the ways it has enriched his life as well as tripped him up. He honestly shares his struggle with depression. I liked his practice of keeping colored "check boxes" on his calendar, to motivate himself to do the little daily things (like prayer) that he wants to texture his life - including writing. A simple book that touched me a great d ...more
Nov 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
He makes a very good case for doing the Daily Office, and he makes it beautifully and poetically, reminding us that "discipline is the price of freedom."

He also has some great advice for writers in here, too--"Most writers spend much of their time engaged in the process of tricking themselves into writing anything at all"! Amen!
Cathryn Conroy
Apr 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
If you have ever thought that you wanted to begin to pray or pray more than you do, this is the book for you. Written in a folksy way that is not at all intimidating, this book by Robert Benson explains how and why to pray the Daily Office and how to find the divine in the daily. The spiritual rewards of such a daily discipline are great. All you have to do it.
Feb 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
I liked this book enough to begin saying the Divine Office every day, so that should tell you something. It's funny and gracious. Benson admits the mystery that surrounds prayer. I think he makes the Office sound more urgent and necessary than it really is, but I could be wrong. It's been known to happen.
Wendy Barton
Jul 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
My daddy gave this amazing book to me in my early 20's and WOW it is amazing! Everyone in the world can benefit from this book! I have bought and passed out many to those in nursing homes and more... Try reading this impressionable book!
Marilyn Watson
Jul 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Benson's reflections on praying without ceasing are refreshingly different. This is not just a how to book on how to pray the Daily Office, or Fixed Hour Prayer. It's more of a reflection on why and some history into which he weaves humor and grace.
Ryan Johnson
Jan 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is an exceptional book on the Daily Office. Benson's candor and vulnerability make it an engaging book that keeps the reader's attention throughout. Furthermore, he inspires the reader to participate in this ancient tradition and to see that the daily office really is all for God.
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“The paradox of worship is this: we perform these acts of worship, but they are not actually for us. We do these things for God, and then we are the ones who are changed.” 1 likes
“Personal prayer does not dispense us from corporate prayer. The one sustains the other.” 0 likes
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