Saturday, March 07, 2015

Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving

About the Book:
Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are often called “spiritual disciplines.” The term highlights their similarity to physical disciplines. But like a physical fitness program, we can go through the motions of these practices without deriving much benefit from them. Jesus wants the spiritual disciplines to work for us. Only the Holy Spirit can make us holy, but we can spur the Spirit to help us. That is what almsgiving, prayer, and fasting are: ways of seeking the Holy Spirit’s help, ways of beginning to cooperate with his work in us.

In this Bible study, popular Scripture commentator Kevin Perrotta selects six readings from Scripture—one Old Testament and one New Testament text for each spiritual discipline. Each passage confront us with some of the most important aspects of these practices, showing us why we undertake them and how they can transform us so that we become more like the persons that God has created us to be.
Perfect for Lent but can also be used at any time of year.
“In the Spotlight” sections highlight background information on passages, words used in Scripture, and biblical history.

My Comments:
While I haven't done more than flip through this book, it looks like a quick non-technical Bible study.  It is divided into six chapters with an introduction and a guide for using with a group.  Each section begins with a Scripture passage--Session 1 is Ruth 1:1-22 (wonder why I like that one?) Following the passage is some explanatory material that ties the reading into the theme.  This is followed by some questions marked "Understand!" and the questions themselves have some explanation in them.  There is space to answer them in the book.  These questions are basically text-based.  Then there are questions marked "Grow!" which relate the story to your life.  One example is "Serving others' needs can be burdensome.  When have you found joy in helping another person?" Again there is space for the reader to answer the question.  There is no room to answer the "Reflect!" questions and they are obviously there to be fodder for prayer over a period of time.  The "Act!" section challenges you to select one action to do as a result of this study.  The sections also include sections titled "In the Spotlight" that may tell about other people or other scripture passages that go along with the theme.  

More Comments:
Everything above this came from a previous post on on the loot I got as a result of winning the Advent Megagiveaway at the Catholic Book Blogger.  Now that I've had a chance to do more than just flip through the the book, I'd like to add a line or two highly recommending this as a personal or group Lenten study.  There is a lot of information tucked into this relatively short book and yet it manages to remain approachable and readable but not dumbed-down.  It goes into ideas and themes that repeat throughout scripture--like names having meaning -- and calls them to readers' attention but does so without getting bogged down in irrelevant minutiae.  Grade:  A.  

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