"Adventures In Daily Prayer" – Review
When someone writes a book on prayer after praying daily for forty-five straight years, it deserves attention. Bert Ghezzi is just such a man, and his latest book, “Adventures In Daily Prayer” (Brazos Press, hardcover, 160 pages), summarizes decades of his experience with this spiritual discipline.
Most people wouldn’t place their prayers in the ‘adventure’ genre. A more likely category would be ‘silent-film’, or maybe even ‘horror’. Many people pray daily, but a good number of their prayers are tainted with difficulty. “Adventures In Daily Prayer” answers this frustration and dullness, not through five-easy-steps, but through personal anecdotes from Bert’s life and wisdom from ancient spiritual masters.
“Adventures In Daily Prayer” reveals that prayer is more than just a way to get things from God. Instead, it is primarily a path toward intimacy with the Lord. Bert exhibits this reality through numerous stories. Whether through a tangible experience of the Holy Spirit, a fresh insight during ‘lectio divina’, or a sensing of God’s voice, Bert shows how God constantly draws toward us in our daily prayers.
The book also transmits Bert’s love for the Saints (I previously reviewed his “Voices of the Saints” a while back, which is a fantastic guide to these holy men and women). His saintly friends can’t help but make cameos throughout his latest writing. St. Bonaventure explains how to pray with Scripture, Aelred of Rievaulx shows how to pray with others, and Julian of Norwich teaches how to pray in the midst of spiritual dryness. The book is full with many Saints who offer beautiful lessons on prayer.
“Adventures In Daily Prayer” is written for anyone who wants to pray more, better, or even at all. Beginners and advanced students alike will benefit from the book. Despite Bert’s vast history of prayer, he never writes condescendingly, never chastising inconsistent prayer habits. But he also refrains from taking a frivolous approach. He encourages Christians to take prayer seriously and to make it the foundation of each day. His gentle sternness is the advice you would expect from such an experienced pray-er.
Overall, Bert’s book makes it easy to get sucked into the ‘adventure of daily prayer’. The book shows how difficulty is enlivened by faithfulness, and dullness is invigorated by fresh types of prayer. From the ancient advice of Saints to Bert’s own personal stories, it is hard to put this book down unmoved to pray.
(Full disclosure: Bert is one of my dearest friends, and I’m also featured a couple of times within the book. I tried not to let my bias influence the review.)