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© HOBER (Flickr / Creative Commons)

A book’s life

One reader to another

Thirty years ago I was browsing a secondhand book sale in the basement of the divinity school where I teach. There was a folding table covered with worn-out books, arranged in no order and at giveaway prices. I was drawn to a devotional book by the British author and preacher Leslie Weatherhead, whose books on faith and psychology had achieved enormous popularity in the decades after World War II. The book was called A Private House of Prayer, and it had a gold cross embossed on the cracked leather cover. The book is a liberal Protestant’s version of Teresa of Ávila’s Interior Castle. It is divided into seven rooms of devotion, each signifying a distinctive mode of prayer. It begins with affirming the presence of God in room 1 and ends with meditation in room 7 at the top of the house.


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