Prayer and Pastoral Care

Deborah Van Deusen Hunsinger's book, Pray Without Ceasing (Revitalizing Pastoral Care) makes a thorough and persuasive case for the inseparable, inter-relatedness of prayer and pastoral care.

Dr. Hunsinger is the Charlotte W. Newcombe Professor of Pastoral Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary, and it shows in this book, not only in her expertise, but in her tone. While the book's tone might scare off a more casual reader, the content and cohesiveness of the case she makes will make it a rewarding read for anyone, both pastor and academic. She challenges pastors to put prayer at the center of their vocation. and theological reflection.

Drawing on a wide variety of voices, from Bonhoeffer and Barth to von Balthasar and Wendell Berry, Hunsinger begins her book with the three foundational disciplines of spiritual reading, careful listening, and self-reflection. She then goes on to explore prayers of petition, intercession, lament, confession, and praise, thanksgiving, and blessing, before offering a short conclusion along with an addendum and three appendices.

Some of Hunsinger's concluding words in chapter five, "Prayers of Petition," give a taste of the wisdom and wealth available in this volume:
Those who offer pastoral care will soon burn out emotionally and spiritually if their own lives are not undergirded by prayer. The difficult work of being present to others is not possible apart from dependence upon God's own presence. Those who drink from the well of prayer will have a reliable spring of refreshment from which to draw.
While I would venture a guess that every pastor or spiritual director would agree that prayer is absolutely essential to pastoral care, this book should be more than sufficient to persuade any reader not only to believe it, but to do it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher, for review purposes. 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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