Mike Lorenzo, a Young Adult from Charleston, reviews the latest great work from the Diocese of Charleston’s very own, Fr. Jeffrey Kirby.
Title of the Book? Lord, Teach Us to Pray (A guide to the Spiritual Life and Christian Discipleship)
What was the author’s purpose in writing this book? I think Fr. Kirby wrote this book to really answer a basic need that all Catholics, and all people in general have, a need for relationship with their creator. Even if they don’t always know that He is what they’re seeking, the call on everyone’s heart is, at its core, a restless search for Christ. We call that walk with Christ discipleship, and it starts with a simple request: “Lord teach us to pray”.
Christ calls us His friends, and true friends talk to each other. With that being said, you’re not just going to talk to your friend when you need/want something, you’re going to talk to them a lot, and when your friend is the Creator of the Universe then you’re going to have a lot to talk about! When you pray you’re entering into a conversation with Christ.
Prayer and discipleship go hand in hand and this book helps the reader form a solid foundation in both. The work is full of helpful, relatable, and easy to read sections that help the reader realize the importance of Christ in their daily lives, and how to bring him into everything they do.
Did the author make a logical argument? The book is organized into three sections, with each one tackling a different part of the title. The first section looks at the word “Lord” and what the significance of that title really means for us. In “Teach Us” we learn the role that Christ has in guiding us through life, showing us how to live. And finally, “To Pray”, helps us to cultivate the essential daily habit of prayer. Our lifeline to Christ.
The sections build upon each other and expertly reveal Christ to us in a way that makes so much sense. Who He is, why He’s here, and how we get to know Him. With these three questions answered the reader is ready to take their faith to a completely new and exciting frontier.
What did you like most about the book? I think my favorite thing about the book was Father’s use of scripture to really reinforce his points. I feel like so many times, when reading books like this, author’s will oftentimes sacrifice solid theological grounds, to appear relatable or approachable, but this text gives us the full force of tradition and scripture, with the practical, everyday connections Father makes showing that the sacred can be found everywhere, not just in the rising incense of a High Mass.
What will be your lasting impression of the subject? The methods that Fr. Kirby outlines on prayer and discipleship have already challenged and motivated me to deepen and direct my daily prayers and routines. Almost immediately after implementing the strategies and insights I gained from this book I began to experience tremendous fruits in both my personal, intrapersonal, and spiritual life.
Did you learn something new from the book? By far the most beneficial part of the book for me were the practical steps outlined in the “Reform of Life” section. I, and others, have seen the good that applying this reform has done in my life. Anyone, regardless of level of formation, can benefit from practicing this reform. I’d had always heard about the benefits of good spiritual daily order, but I’d never heard of a method to really target specific areas that works like this practice.
Would you recommend this book? I would absolutely recommend the book! A lot of times when I meet new Catholics, or cradle Catholics coming back to the faith, I find them reading a book like Rediscovering Catholicism or Rome Sweet Home, great books that really get the reader excited and motivated to start living their faith. I feel like Father Kirby’s book is an excellent follow up to either of those, or a powerful retreat experience, as it provides a really solid framework for burgeoning Christian discipleship, something that’s absolutely essential for a continued journey with God past the initial emotional high.
Lord, Teach Us to Pray can be found at your local Catholic Bookstore or through SaintBenedictPress.com .
Fr. Jeffrey Kirby is a priest of the Diocese of Charleston. He holds a Licentiate in Moral Theology from the Holy Cross University in Rome. As the diocesan Vicar of Vocations for the past several years, Fr. Kirby has guided numerous young men and women in the spiritual life and in the process of discernment. In 2011, he founded the Drexel House, a Catholic Residence for Men.