Saturday, December 29, 2012

Following the Path of Celtic Prayer

This blog began in mid-June 2012 as a way for me to continue reviewing religious books, as I had been doing for years and in various publications.
 
Now on nearly the last day of 2012, I want to tell you a little about Calvin Miller’s the path of CELTIC PRAYER, first published in 2007 but as of November 2012 available in paperback and well worth reading and thinking about (ivpress.com).
 
Miller is entranced by Celtic lore and the depth of Celtic spirituality and he shares what he has learned from their history and practice. His goal for this book is seen in the subtitle: An Ancient Way to Everyday Joy. He wants readers to see and know that, whether of praise or confession or whatever our prayers may be about, each day they bring us closer to God, and as with the Celts, "our hunger for Christ keeps us talking with God."
 
As Miller says, "For Celts, to know God was to talk to him as he is. When they sang or prayed or hunted or played, they did so in the presence of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit." Consistent adoration of the Trinity "filled their theologies, and the oneness of the Three permeated their art," and in fact, all they did and said and prayed. It’s amazing to see it in their words and their art, but it seems so right when we do see it.
 
In six chapters, Miller shares six ways of praying, calling them: Trinity Prayer, Scripture Prayer; Long, Wandering Prayer; Nature Prayer; Lorica Prayer (referring to the breastplate of protection described by Paul in Ephesians 6); and Confessional Prayer. He claims that "the Celtic embers of spirituality are catching fire all around us," as "the Celtic way stirs anew." Sounds to me like the right book to start the new year of 2013.
 
And a companion volume could be Miller’s Celtic Devotions, A Guide to Morning and Evening Prayer, also from InterVarsity Press. In this one, he offers 30 days of morning and evening prayer based on Psalm 119. He calls readers to be as pilgrims on a pilgrimage, making a journey "into the eternal presence of God." Each day includes a quote from the psalm as well as meditations and poems from Miller’s pen, and quotes from Celtic prayers and poems, especially from the Carmina Gadelica, a collection of early and traditional "Gaelic songs."
 
I count these two books a treasure, and maybe you will, too.

—Lois Sibley