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Real prayer consists of three essential constituents - oral or bodily prayer, prayer of the mind and prayer of the heart or 'of the mind in the heart', and if one or other constituent is absent it is not prayer at all. This book is not just about theory it is also about the practicalities of prayer. The author's concern is to help people discover their rule of prayer in a way of living where contemplation and action can harmonize so that they can 'pray without ceasing' in a world where coal is mined and candy floss is made. To pray is to share in God's life, to participate in the life the Father lives with the Son in the Holy Spirit. That living experience and knowledge of God lies not in some far- off country, but in our own backyard, the real and living circumstances of life in the workaday world as we respond to the spiritual fullness of life as it is, and not as we imagine it to be or as we would like it to be. It is not a flight of the alone to the Alone. We journey with fellow members of the Body of Christ as we join 'in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, the breaking of bread and the prayers'(Acts 2:42).The weekly Liturgy is our School of Prayer where we are nourished in Word and Sacrament in the way of salvation so that the other six days are lived in the power of the Risen Christ and according to his will.
As an experienced retreat conductor and spiritual guide over many years, Arthur Middleton brings out of his treasury things old and new, and it is a welcome relief to read a book on Christian praying so rooted in the Christian tradition - the Fathers, the great spiritual writers of the Middle Ages, the Anglican seventeenth-century divines and the Tractarians and their successors - and which is yet so properly practical as to how to go about the business of praying, both personally and corporately. Arthur Middleton's gift of writing with exemplary lucidity and theological profundity has served him well in what he has offered to us in this book. BISHOP GEOFFREY ROWELL Arthur Middleton spent ten years in Sunderland and was Rector of Boldon from 1979-2003. Emeritus Canon of Durham Cathedral and Tutor at St Chad's College, he served on the College Council and was Acting Principal in 1997.He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a Patron of the Society of King Charles the Martyr. On the Editorial Board of New Directions, he is a member of the Church Union Council.
His books include Towards a Renewed Priesthood and Fathers and Anglicans: the Limits of Orthodoxy, both published by Gracewing. He has also lectured in Canada and Australia. Married to Jennifer, they have two sons.