Talking to God: Portrait of a World at Prayer (Review)

August 23, 2010

Book cover for "Talking to God" edited by John Gattuso, Huston Smith, and Phyllis TickleTitle: Talking to God: Portrait of a World at Prayer

Editors: John Gattuso, Huston Smith, Phyllis Tickle

Publication Year: 2006

Pages: 176

Genre: Non-Fiction

Source: Purchased in-store from Chapters

From the cover:

Essays by internationally renowned writers of faith explore the universal significance of prayer in this inspirational volume of lush images and meditative words. More than 100 photographs taken in 50 countries chronicle the diversity of the devotional experience in all of its intimacy, mystery, rapture, and stillness. The experience of prayer is shown to connect all parts of the human family in pursuit of a greater, transcending reality. With its breathtaking beauty and affirmation of life, this volume gives readers new insights into the practices of the world’s many faiths.

Includes essays by Karen Armstrong, The Dalai Lama, Mohandas K. Gandhi, Thich Nhat Hanh, Jack Kornfield, Harold Kushner, C.S. Lewis, Thomas Merton, Thomas Moore, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Kathleen Norris, Pope John Paul II, David Steindl-Rast, Desmond Tutu, Elie Wiesel, Michael Wolfe, and Carol Zaleski.

I originally bought this book because of the gorgeous pictures – a variety of photographs of people praying around the world. While I still enjoyed the photographs during my actual reading of the essays, I found myself drawn in even more by what the contributors had to say.

Talking to God is a collection of essays written on various aspects of prayer, which is defined in very broud terms. In the context of this book, “prayer” is considered to include rote prayers such as Hail Mary, ritual prayers like Muslim salat, meditation, and simple casual supplication or acknowledgement of the divine as people go about their day. I found this approach really interesting and approachable, since it meant that no one (even agnostics and atheists, according to a  few of the contributors) was left out of the picture. The authors wrote from the perspective that everyone has the ability to commune with the Ultimate in whatever way they desire and feel comfortable with.

This book is definitely an interesting read for anyone who is interested in religion in pretty much any form. It includes photos from a variety of religions and places – including, but not limited to, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam – and text that will resonate no matter your belief system.

Rating:


This book is a part of the Ramadan Reading event happening here this month.

You can find other posts in the series by clicking on the image to the right, or by taking a look at the schedule of posts and reviews.

3 Comments

  • Amy August 24, 2010 at 10:04 am

    Sounds like a great book, and the pictures sound incredible!

  • zibilee August 24, 2010 at 10:20 am

    I get a lot of comfort from prayer and have had more than a few of them answered for me as well. I think I would really like the book, both for the essays and for the pictures. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Barque August 25, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Thank you for the taking the time to share this book with readers and for your personal response, especially during this holy time. If readers are interested in Thomas Moore’s work, they may want to visit a blog dedicated to him, Barque, at http://barque.blogspot.com. Your thoughtful inclusion of this book will help more people become aware of its messages.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *