Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Book of Not So Common Prayer Review

The Book of Not So Common Prayer by Linda McCullough Moore
Visit the Author's Website HERE
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Publishing Date: June 3, 2014
Netgalley Review: 
Do you want to pray deeper, longer, more fervently? Do you want to move from the same old, same old prayer routine to a radical, challenging, and inspiring prayer life? Do you want to put more meaning and effort into your conversations with God?
The Book of Not-So Common Prayer is a handbook that combines spiritual insight with practical action steps you can take to change your prayer habits—and change your life. In describing her own transformation from a person who prayed on the run to a person who prays four times a day, Linda McCullough Moore builds a compelling case for a life founded on prayer. Drawing inspiration from the ancient practice of meditation, Moore shows how any time spent in prayer will transform the time you spend with your family, at work, or in play. She then delivers a well-supported methodical process you can follow to experience more depth, meaning, and joy in your prayers.
A masterful blend of useful models and stories of transformation, this beautifully written, evocative, and intelligent handbook will inspire you to embark on a new adventure in faith . . . one step at a time.
I recieved this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. The Kindle version is $9.99today! (6/13/14)

My Thoughts:
If there is one thing I am particularly bad at making time for, it is prayer. I snatched up this book the instant I saw it on Netgalley, hoping it would be what my soul was looking for. It was and it wasn't. 

McCullough writes very intelligently and thoroughly. She takes prayer and breaks it down into the whos, whats, and hows. I especially enjoyed her chapter on the theology behind prayer. Asking herself "...what do I believe about the nature of the practice and the One to whom I pray?"(location 1203) and finding Tozer with a wise answer: "'Acquaint thyself with God.' If this is not the business of our prayers, then I don't know what is.' (location 1212) I loved this 'smart' look at prayer. Too often authors, pastors, teachers, tell us to just go with our gut or to talk to God like a friend. But I am the sort of person who needs it all broken down piece by piece, and McCullough delivers on this aspect. 

Mostly, I loved reading her talk about the 'old' and 'classic' ways of prayer. For example, McCullough states clearly that she is not from the Catholic church, but she has found beauty and meaning in crossing herself throughout the day. This resonated with me because I am also not from the Catholic church, know very little about it, but yet have found myself wanting to cross myself after some of my prayers. The idea, at it's most basic level, is that a person crosses themselves (touching forehead, heart, and each shoulder) as a reminder of the Trinity. Frequently people just go through the motion, but when you stop and truly focus on the divinity of the Trinity or even the Cross, it becomes a beautiful touchstone, a pause, a reminder of who He is. 
I can say that praying with my mind, and heart, and body is a blessed thing to do, not artificial or self-conscious, but right and purposeful and true. Movement helps to concentrate my thoughts;.....In many congregations, making the sign of the cross is not a native practice. Perhaps it should be, not by rote, nor in response to a formal signal, but in the ordinary moment when the heart cries, 'Bless me Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.' (l. 760, 772)
I love the simplicity. I love the cry to take it all back to the Lord, to take it back to the only one who matters.

Overall, 'The Book of Not So Common Prayer' was approachable, thought-provoking, and an excellent intermediate level book on prayer. The book has challenged me to read further on prayer (especially some earlier works) and shake up the ole prayer routine. I am rating this book with 4 stars and could easily recommend it to someone who was looking at a more indepth look at prayer, someone who wants to learn the ins and outs, or a reader looking for some new prayer practices. 


  1. It's definitely interesting, rethinking and looking deeper into an everyday practice that may have become too routine to consider. At the same time, I'm not sure I'd want a whole book of explanations and step-by-steps; it's too easy for me to get caught up in the process and the intellectual side of things and lose the simplicity, falling away from the purpose at the heart of prayer. Thanks for the great review!

  2. Hmm, I should clarify that this book doesn't offer step-by-step instructions, but rather offers some new approaches and ideas on adding some 'old' to the modern.

  3. That does have a different connotation. And I can definitely see the merit in investigating the origins and theology if prayer practices. I just have a tendency to overcomplicate and overanalyze the more I put in my head. And then I can't turn my brain off. ;)