Book Review: The Path of Celtic Prayer

Book Review: The Path of Celtic Prayer – An Ancient Way to Everyday Joy

By: Calvin Miller

Publisher: InterVarsity Press ISBN: 9780830835041

I’ve spent several weeks reading and ruminating on this book, The Path of Celtic Prayer. Overall, I really enjoyed it, but there was something about the style of writing or flow of the book that seemed to “stutter” at times… more about that later.

Fundamentally, the book is about prayer as stated in the title; however, in the larger sense the book describes a people (the Celts) whose very existence was expressed in their love of God and reflected in a lifestyle of prayer. The imagery portrayed by Miller as he writes about these ancient worshipers is heavily romanticized, but I did not find that as something of a fault… in fact, I consider it fitting for anyone in deep relationship with the Creator God. Awe, wonder, praise, splendor, romance, and more are part of the intimacy of prayer and relationship with God, so Miller’s representation seemed apropos.

The author believes the path of (Celtic) prayer exists in six forms. He goes on to present the paths through examples, instruction, and exercises for the reader. The six paths of prayer, or forms of prayer, are as follows: Trinity Prayer—The Art of Loving God; Scripture Prayer—Praying the Bible Back to Its Author; Long, Wandering Prayer—Seeing Life as a Single, Unending Prayer; Nature Prayer—Poetry and Praise in Ordinary Life; Lorica Prayer—Asking God for Protection; Confessional Prayer—Living in Agreement with God.

I enjoyed the historical references and the education I received about the ancient Celtic world. The poetry and the prayers that Miller shares with his reader are beautiful, robust, and inspiring. Many times as I was reading, I was captured in the prayer…my imaginations swept up in the words, my heart and my mind transported to the altar and throne of Grace.

It is difficult for me to land on a particular form of prayer that I enjoyed or liked the most. I suppose I might have connected in a more personal way with the chapter on Wandering Prayer as it seemed to resonate with the overall landscape of my life, but there were aspects of each form that struck a chord deep within me as well.

I mentioned there was a “stutter” in the flow of the book in my opening comments. This is more likely something personal, but it seemed to me the context of a thought or teaching would be moving along and I would be deeply engrossed in what I was reading and learning, then seemingly all of the sudden that would stop; a prayer or excerpt of poetry or a sidebar bio about a particular hero of the Celts would be thrown in to interrupt the flow. Other readers may not experience this, but it seemed to happen on more than one occasion during my reading. Consequently, I thought the flow of the book was somewhat “stuttered.” Aside from this minor inconvenience, I enjoyed the book greatly and will probably refer to it again and again. As I mentioned, there were several pieces in it that really carried me away in thoughtful, and imaginative, worship. That’s a great place to be.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Intervarsity Press to read and post a review on my site. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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