There are books on Wine for Dummies, Opera for Dummies, Shakespeare for Dummies. Why not a book on "prayer for dummies?" That's how Boston College philosophy professor Peter Kreeft describes his short prayer guide, specifically intended for "busy, distracted, not very holy people" who have "experienced difficulty and failure in praying."

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

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