In Prayer and the Common Life
, pioneering theologian Georgia Harkness argues that in response to the troubles of the world around us—one that is consumed with materialism, constantly at war, and filled with social injustices of all kinds—what is most needed is a revitalization of “vital, God-centered, intelligently grounded” prayer.
Instead of prayer that merely insulates one from the world, focusing on psychological states or absolving a person from taking action, Harkness advocates prayer that “makes a difference in the common life”—that is, prayer that transforms both the person praying and the world for which he or she prays. The problem, says Harkness, is that many people simply have never experienced this kind of transforming prayer and have become skeptical about the effectiveness of prayer in their lives. She therefore describes “vital” prayer from three directions. The “foundations” of prayer relate prayer to the basic structures of Christian faith and show how prayer includes elements of adoration, thanksgiving, confession, petition, intercession, commitment, assurance, and ascription to Christ. The “methods” of prayer include hindrances to prayer as well as suggestions of how it may be engaged in both private devotions and congregational worship. And the “fruits” of prayer center on the ways vital, transforming prayer can contribute to peace in one’s life and in the world.
Written in the same accessible style that characterizes her other works, Georgia Harkness’s Prayer and the Common Life addresses concerns that are still relevant to today’s readers.
“Scholarship and fine writing are united with a devotional approach to the supreme experience available to the human soul.”
-- Christian Herald
“One of the most simple, comprehensive, and helpful books on prayer that we have.”
-- Journal of Bible and Religion
“This marches straight toward its goal, which is to provide a manual … for people who want to pray but know not how.”-- Christian Century
“This book is a rare combination of information and inspiration. It answers the whats, whys, and hows of prayer. It will inspire the slothful to new zeal in prayer; it will help the dissatisfied to find satisfaction in prayer; it will give the zealous new joy in prayer. . . . Deserves a place in every preacher’s library.”
-- Review and Expositor