There are books on Wine for Dummies, Opera for Dummies, Shakespearefor Dummies. Why not a book on "prayer for dummies?" That's howBoston College philosophy professor Peter Kreeft describes his shortprayer guide, specifically intended for "busy, distracted, not very holypeople" who have "experienced difficulty and failure inpraying."

The project is laudable. But Kreeft explains the simple yetinfinitely difficult steps to faith in language which, whilesometimes moving, is more often cloying and condescending. Heexhorts his readers to pray with annoying attempts at humor ("I guarantee you that after you die you will not say 'Ispent too much time praying; I wish I had watched more TVinstead.'") Prayer guides that don't try to chuck the reader underthe chin or cajole her into prayer will be far more likely toinspire devotion than Kreeft's irritating little book.

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